Personal Injury Attorneys in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Accidents and injuries happen all the time. By their very nature, they usually come out of the blue, and you can suddenly end up with injuries that can impact you physically, emotionally, and financially for the rest of your life. Oklahoma, like every other state, has laws to recover compensation for personal injuries that result from the negligence or even intentional action of another person or entity.
Injuries such as car accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, and other incidents are typically covered by insurance. However, even if there is insurance at play, sometimes the only way to recover what’s fully due for your injuries—including for noneconomic damages like pain and suffering—is to file a personal injury lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the actions or negligence of someone else in or around Tulsa, Oklahoma, contact an attorney at Law Offices of Jeff Martin. Our “Heavy Hitter” legal team has more than four decades of experience in pursuing personal injury claims and lawsuits and will work hard to provide you with personalized service. We even stand ready to come to you if you’re too injured or incapacitated to come to us, even if it’s just to help you with paperwork.
In addition to Tulsa, we proudly serve clients throughout all of Eastern Oklahoma, including Muskogee, Bartlesville, and McAlester. Set up a consultation with us today.
Personal Injury Claims in Oklahoma
If you suffer an injury because of someone else’s actions, inactions, or negligence, that person (or entity) can be held liable under Oklahoma’s laws. Even in an auto accident, Oklahoma is an “at-fault” state, meaning the driver responsible for the collision and injuries is generally liable for the injuries, losses, and damages caused.
Oklahoma is also a “strict liability” state when it comes to injuries from dog bites or other dog attacks. Some states adhere to a “one bite” rule, meaning the first dog incident is forgiven, but Oklahoma holds that all incidents involving dogs make the owner liable.
Retailers and homeowners are likewise responsible under their insurance policies—or through lawsuits—if their lack of reasonable concern in failing to warn of potential dangers and/or in neglecting to correct any dangerous conditions result in someone’s injury.
For a personal injury lawsuit, the State of Oklahoma places a two-year statute of limitations. This means you cannot take legal action against a liable party once two years have passed since the date you incurred your injuries. Insurance claims, of course, must be lodged much more quickly than that, usually within days of your injuries, or a week or two at most. Insurance policies typically have clauses requiring prompt reporting.
Who’s to Blame? The Modified Comparative Negligence Standard
Not all accidents are solely attributable to someone else’s negligence. For instance, if you’re rear-ended but your brake lights failed to function, you could be partially at fault. For a slip and fall in a retail establishment, if you’re too busy reading text messages on your phone and fail to see something on the floor that causes you to slip and fall, you could be partially responsible in that situation as well.
Suppose that in the rear-end situation you are found to be 30 percent at fault for having nonfunctioning brake lights. Your settlement or jury award would be reduced by 30 percent. If you were originally going to receive $100,000, you’d end up with only $70,000. The same calculus would apply in the slip and fall situation.
The modified comparative negligence rule is also known as the “51 percent rule.” This is because you can only recover if you’re personal fault doesn’t exceed 50 percent. If the jury or claim adjuster finds you to be 51 percent or more at fault, you cannot recover anything. You can imagine how an insurance company claim adjuster will try to pin as much fault on you as possible so they can minimize your settlement or deny it altogether using the standard of negligence assignment.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Remember that you generally have a two-year window to file a personal injury lawsuit in Oklahoma. It’s important to enlist the help of a personal injury attorney to guide you through this process. For example, dealing with an insurance company claim adjuster can be a trying experience. Claim adjusters are trained to pin as much blame on the claimant as possible to lower or evade their company’s liability. They have an arsenal of questions and statements that they hope you’ll fall prey to and then say or agree to something that they can use against you later.
Generally speaking, you can recover both economic and non-economic damages for your injuries and losses. Economic damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for property damage. Non-economic damages may include physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of affection or companionship.
Keep in mind, however, that insurance policies have caps on them. The basic auto liability policy in Oklahoma provides for only $25,000 in personal injury compensation, for example. Homeowners and commercial liability policies have caps as well. Additionally, if you go to court and win, Oklahoma law limits non-economic damages to $350,000, but there is no cap on economic damages.
Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Tulsa, Oklahoma
If you or a loved one has been injured in or around Tulsa because of someone else’s negligence, contact us immediately. Our team at Law Offices of Jeff Martin will handle negotiations with the insurance company for you, and if warranted, we can bring a personal injury lawsuit forward to help you pursue fair compensation.