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How does driver negligence law work in Oklahoma?

You or your loved one were seriously injured in a car accident because of someone else's wrongdoing or negligence. They could've been speeding, not obeying traffic laws, driving while distracted or drunk - but the bottom line is you suffered the worst consequences due to their actions. It's frustrating and frightening, thinking about how you will recover from your injuries.

But does the court understand that the other driver was negligent, and you were not at fault? Oklahoma law uses a 50 percent modified comparative negligence standard. What does this mean? It means you have to prove that the other driver was 50 percent at fault or more in order to recover compensation for damages or injuries from the accident. If you were partially at fault, you need to be 50 percent at fault or less in order to recover compensation.

How does comparative negligence work?

If a judge or jury decides you were more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you cannot recover anything. Even if the other driver was 40 percent at fault, and you were 60 percent, you would not recover anything. Someone could be at fault for small things like forgetting to turn their headlights on, or driving through a yellow light too slow that it actually counts as running a red light.

Since Oklahoma law splits the blame for which drivers contributed more fault to the accident, and this determines how much you will be able to recover, it is important to take steps immediately following the accident to show that the other driver was at fault.

What to do after an accident

Take photos of the scene and damage to your vehicle: this can be used as proof of the other driver's negligence when it is presented as evidence to a judge or jury.

Find witnesses and take down their contact information: reliable witnesses can vouch for what they saw and show that the other driver was negligent.

Do not delay medical treatment: not seeking medical attention immediately after your accident can give the impression that you were not as badly injured as you are. Even if you don't notice symptoms of your injuries until later on, go to the doctor right away.

Do not let the insurance company convince you to take a settlement before you are sure what all of your injuries are and how severe they are: An insurance company may try to get you to settle for less than you deserve, before you know all of your legal options, and before you understand the severity of your injuries. Do not fall into this trap.

Do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company before speaking to an experienced attorney: Anything you say in the recorded statement to the insurance company can be used against you to minimize compensation for your claim, or show in court that you were partially negligent. Let your attorney speak to the insurance company to avoid the risk of having that happen.

An attorney experienced in laws around motor vehicle accidents, personal injury and insurance disputes can help you prove the other driver's negligence in your case. You don't have to try to prove it all on your own. Having an attorney by your side as you recover from injuries and are bombarded by calls from insurance companies can help you gain peace of mind, knowing someone is fighting for your best interests and working to maximize your compensation from the accident.

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Terrel B. DoRemus & Associates
10202 East 41st Street
Tulsa, OK 74146

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Phone: 918-477-7709
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