As the number one reason for personal injury cases in Oklahoma City, we handle a lot of car accident cases here at OKC Injury Lawyer. With the sheer amount of drivers on the road, car accident cases are common, and the fact that all drivers assume an automatic duty of care to the other users of the road means that usually, there is some form of negligence involved.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a truck, car, or motorcycle, and it happened through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to raise a claim against the at-fault party. This may allow you to recover all of your damages and may entitle you to pursue compensation for the pain and suffering, and trauma you have been through as a result of the other party’s negligence.
When drivers act carelessly or negligently, they often cause accidents that leave the victims with life-long injuries, and in many traffic cases, they may also lead to the wrongful death of a victim that steals a beloved family member from their loved ones forever.
Victims may also suffer a range of damages, from the medical expenses for their treatment to the wages they lose during their recovery and, of course, the repair bill for their vehicle if they were driving at the time.
If you or a loved one have suffered at the hands of a negligent driver, your first step should be to consult with a personal injury law firm like ours. Not only will we take over your case, removing you from the need to liaise with other parties and investigate while you recover, but your chances of success will also improve with our help.
At OKC Injury Lawyer, as a personal injury law firm, we handle car accident cases on a regular basis, meaning our attorneys are tuned into the car accident case sector. This means we can assign you an attorney with a track record for successfully winning cases that are similar to yours. Many of our attorneys have a fierce reputation, one that means the opposing insurance companies and the legal teams they hire may treat you more fairly as a result.
OKC Injury Lawyer, LLC, Fierce Advocacy in Auto Accident Cases
With the potential life-changing injuries that car accidents can cause, you should always consult with an attorney if you want the best chance of securing compensation that accurately covers your injuries and suffering.
One of our most important roles as personal injury attorneys is to ensure that all victims of personal injury have the chance to pursue compensation and the recovery of the damages they have suffered. This should never be an option that is only on offer to those that can afford it.
For this reason, we work on a contingency fee basis to allow us to represent victims without them fearing financial ruin if we lose the case. You only pay us in the event of a successful case, never if we lose, and it costs nothing upfront to obtain our help.
We offer a free initial consultation to all new and old clients alike, giving you the space to have your story heard, and have your questions answered. We will evaluate your case, and tell you if we think your case is a strong valid one. If not, we will tell you why.
If your case is one we will take on, and you agree to our fee structure, we can start right away, putting things into place as soon as possible. From this point on, we will handle liaising with the other companies, and we will make sure that your rights and mental well-being are protected while you focus on your recovery.
What To Do After A Car Accident In Texas
If you find yourself in the aftermath of a car accident, it is worth remembering that from the second the accident happened, you need to be aware of your actions as they may be used against you. Never apologize, accept fault or say that you feel fine, as these are all common ways that victims have lost cases or won less compensation in the past.
Instead, here are the steps we recommend that you follow if you want to protect your chances of a successful claim and ensure your own safety.
Check Injuries and Move To Safety if Possible
The very first thing you need to do following any car accident is to take stock of your own injuries. In a car crash, everything can happen so fast, and the impact can be so great you may have hit your head or damaged your neck, shoulders, or spine without recalling ever doing so.
If you feel any pain in those areas, you must not let anyone move you until the ambulance team has arrived with the correct equipment to do so.
Only if you are confident that you have not damaged crucial areas should you consider moving to safety. If your injuries allow you to move away, try to take stock of any other victims or the at-fault party and their injuries so you can inform the ambulance team when you call them.
Call An Ambulance
If you have suffered from any injuries whatsoever, or there are other injured parties, you must call an ambulance, no matter what anyone else says. Car accidents often lead to serious injuries like internal bleeding or head trauma that can lay dormant, especially when adrenaline is flowing. Once the adrenaline fades, it may be too late to treat the injuries, and it is not uncommon for people to lose their life this way.
Another important reason to call for an ambulance is the fact that they will file an accident report. This report may be used to prove causation later on down the line, making it a strong and important piece of evidence.
Call The Police
Accidents that happen on the road often result in further danger to other road users, and this means you should call the police to help. They will be able to cordon off the road and sort traffic so that further harm does not come to anyone.
If you suspect that there was a drunk driver involved in the accident, it becomes even more important for the police to be involved as this is a criminal act. As well as that, if they are tested, and their blood alcohol content is above the limit, your case is much stronger against them as it is easy to prove negligence when a driver was drunk at the wheel of their car.
Once the ambulance has been called, if your injuries allow it, you may want to consider collecting evidence. This can be as simple as a few photos, but we recommend recording a video of the scene and recording a voice or written statement of what happened in your own words. Often, a victim’s memory will become hazy over the following weeks, and this ensures you have a clear account of what happened for you and your attorney to use.
Remember that evidence is crucial in a personal injury case and the more you can collect, the better.
Exchange Information and Witness Statements
For those that are lucky enough that there were eye-witnesses that saw the accident and are willing to help, collect their statements and details if possible. If they don’t mind, you should record their statement on your phone. When your attorneys contact them at a later point, it is then easy for them to confirm their statement as opposed to recalling it at that point with a lawyer on the phone.
Collect their contact details, such as name, address, email, and number.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if your injuries were minor and the ambulance team did not give you any medical care at the scene, you should still get checked out by a medical provider as soon as possible. Firstly, this ensures that you do not have any hidden injuries, and secondly, it proves as a recorded instance of medical treatment to help when it comes to proving your injuries were, in fact, caused by the accident.
Call Your Insurance Company
Often, there is a clause written into a victims insurance policy that states they have a certain period of time to tell them you were in a crash. You must do this, because it may affect your ability to use your insurance company for medical expenses in the interim while you fight your case.
Remember, all insurance companies are designed for profit, and none of them are truly fair to all their clients. Keep it brief, and inform them you have been in an accident and your attorney will be in touch. Don’t tell them you are fine, apologize, or say anything that may be used against you.
The Different Types of Compensatory Damages
Following a car accident, a victim may suffer from a range of different damages, and these damages will need to be calculated in order for your attorney to negotiate a settlement. Recovering these damages will form one part of your compensation, and the other will be the pain and suffering you have been through as a result.
Car accident victims might need time off work to recover and receive treatment, and will likely have medical expenses to pay for that treatment. They will often need to repair or replace their car or vehicle if they were driving at the time as well.
A successful claim will allow you to recover all of these costs and will also allow you to pursue compensation for your suffering.
Car accident claims often result in a large number of damages being suffered by the victim, and calculating them in a fair and reasonable manner is important. The more skill your attorney has in winning car accident cases, the better equipped they will be to handle this task.
The first step in doing so is to calculate what your economic damages are worth. These are the damages that have caused economic losses to the victim.
The next stage is for your attorney to consider how serious your pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life stand to be as a result of the accident. Commonly, they will then apply a multiplier between 1-5x, dependent on how serious they think it was, to your economic damage total.
By adding up these two figures, your attorney will have a figure that they will use to negotiate a settlement.
Economic damages are quantifiable and can usually be evidenced as there has been a cost paid or a potential cost lost in the future. Common examples of economic damages are property damage, lost income, and medical expenses.
These should be relatively straightforward to evidence. Your attorney will use your receipts, bills, bank statements, and invoices to back up their calculations.
Your non-economic damages are much more difficult as there are no clear guidelines on placing a value on them. Your attorney will use their experience and own methods to calculate how severe they rate your pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment to be.
The more cases they have won favorable outcomes in, the better they will be at this, which is one of the reasons you should always look for an attorney with a track record for success in cases similar to yours.
The most common non-economic damages, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment relate to the pain you have been through, the trauma you have suffered, and the effect on your life that the accident has had. For example, loss of enjoyment may include a back injury that prevents a father from playing catch with his son.
Claiming for Medical Expenses and Medical Bills in Oklahoma City, OK
Healthcare is expensive, and many clients simply do not have it. With the extortionate cost of medical care in Oklahoma city ok, this can leave victims in a terrible situation if they cannot claim through their own car insurance company in the interim
Thankfully, if your case is successful, you will be able to reclaim all of the medical expenses you have suffered as a result of the accident. This means all of the medical expenses you have already had to pay and all future potential medical expenses that relate to the injuries you have suffered.
In order for you to successfully do this, you should keep a record of all your treatment and the costs. You should also keep a journal each day of the pain you are in, the treatment you have received, and your overall mood so your attorney can see how the treatment affected you.
Claiming for The Income You Have Lost or Stand to Lose
One of the most worrying parts of any accident, is that the victim may have to take time off work to recover and receive treatment. If the victim does not have savings to support them and any potential family, this is a daunting thought.
A successful claim will allow you to claim all of your lost income back, and if you stand to lose income in the future, your attorney will seek this in your settlement too. If your injuries prevent you from ever returning to work, this will need to be considered and your attorney may speak to financial experts so they can accurately judge what this should look like.
Claiming for Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering should be based on how serious the pain a victim has been put through has been, still is, and stands to be. It should also take into account the emotional trauma the accident has caused, such as causing:
- Anxiety around cars/roads.
- Post-traumatic stress.
- Emotional distress.
- Sleep issues.
Claiming for Property Damage/Repair
If you were driving at the time of the accident, there is likely damage to your car, truck, or motorcycle, and you should not have to pay for the repair or replacement of your vehicle.
Claiming for Wrongful Death
In the most tragic car accident cases, a victim will lose their life and their family will lose a loved one forever. When this tragedy has happened because of the negligence of another party, the family and loved ones have every right to be angry and should consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
While financial gain will not bring the deceased back or ease the grief, it can provide financial security to the family and loved ones while they deal with their grief, it may also compensate you for your grief and the loss of service and help with funeral costs.
Speak to A Team of Personal Injury Lawyers As Soon as Possible
For the best possible chances of pursuing a successful lawsuit for your car accident-related injuries and damages, you should get your car accident attorneys involved as soon as possible. An Oklahoma City car accident lawyer will be able to take over your case immediately, ensuring the right investigation is carried out.
Evidence always becomes harder to pinpoint the longer after the accident you wait, and evidence such as CCTV footage may be overwritten or deleted.
The 4 Elements to Prove in a Car Accident Case
Personal injury cases, such as car accident lawsuits, are based on the premise of negligence. This means that in order for your case to be a valid one, there will need to be four elements that are addressed and proven, they are:
- Duty Of Care — In order for negligence to have happened, the other party must have owed the injured party a duty of care at the time of the accident. A duty of care is a legal obligation to act in a manner that protects the health and well-being of other parties. This is relatively simple in car accident cases, as every road user automatically assumes a duty of care to other road users when they get behind the wheel of any vehicle.
- Breach — The at-fault party must have breached their duty of care to the victim by acting in a negligent manner. This means they acted in a way that no reasonable person with the same duty of care would have acted. Negligent behavior behind the wheel can include, drunk driving, reckless driving, ignoring red lights, tailgating and speeding.
- Causation — You sustained car accident injuries as a result of the other party breaching their duty of care.
- Damages — You suffered economic and/or non-economic damages as a result.
Oklahoma City, OK, Car Accident Injury Lawyer FAQs
Unfortunately, the only way to truly know if your claim is valid and stands a strong chance of success is to consult with a skilled car accident attorney that can evaluate your case. This is why we offer a free initial consultation to all new and existing clients who need their cases evaluated.
Often, insurance companies that know that they are likely going to have to settle will run the number on what that settlement may cost them. They will then offer the victim a sum that may seem attractive but is less than they would have to pay out in a proper settlement.
They do this in the hopes that the victim accepts the settlement, forgoing the right to pursue any further compensation later on down the line via a car accident lawsuit.
Always discuss any settlement offer with your attorney before you accept. Remember, if your injuries get worse, you may not have enough money in that early settlement to cover your costs in the future, and you will not be able to pursue any more compensation.
Punitive damages can only be awarded by a Judge, so your case must go to court. They are awarded by the Judge to punish the at-fault party for acting in a way that is grossly negligent or with malicious intent as a way to make an example of them.
The period of time that your case is going to take to settle is another question that cannot be answered due to the varying complexities of cases. The simpler your case, the less serious your injuries, and the better your attorney, the shorter your case will take.
The more complex, the better their attorneys, and the more serious the injuries that are involved, the longer it will take.
You should always be prepared for your case to take 1-2 years to complete, potentially longer.
This is a tricky situation to be in and the first thing you should do is check if your own insurance policy carries uninsured driver coverage; if it does not, you will need to speak to your attorney about your options. Unfortunately, unless they have the money to cover your compensation, it may be difficult to pursue a claim against them.
Around 70% of personal injury cases settle outside of court. This means that there is a good chance you will never have to file a true lawsuit. However, 30% of cases will require litigation, and this is why you should always ensure your attorney is a skilled trial lawyer.
Often, the reputation of your attorney will be enough to cause the other party to settle, especially if you have chosen an attorney with a fierce reputation for winning court battles in cases like this.
Always remember that the insurance companies are not on your side. Inform them that you have an attorney and you wish them to speak to your attorneys and not you. This will protect you from accidentally jeopardizing your case.
Contact One of Our Car Accident Lawyers Today
When it comes to handling car accident cases, you will always be up against an insurance company unless the driver is uninsured. Insurance companies know that payouts for serious injuries can be large, and this means they employ the strongest representation they can to defend their clients.
This means you will always be at a massive disadvantage if you do not have your own skilled representation behind you.
Contact us today to discuss your case at 405-276-4803.