Every year, thousands of Oklahomans are injured in accidents. Even people who are exceedingly careful can be victims of automobile crashes, slip and falls, industrial accidents and the like. Someone harmed because of another person’s negligence or misconduct can make a claim for monetary damages. These damages may include medical bills, lost wages, property losses, impaired income potential, etc. However, Oklahoma law imposes restrictions on a victim’s ability to collect compensation.
Some accidents are entirely attributable to one party’s negligence. For example, if one driver is sitting at a red traffic signal in the proper lane with all the vehicle’s equipment in good order and being used properly, but a driver coming up behind them at the light is not paying attention and crashes into the first driver from behind, the driver that hit the stopped car would be fully responsible. The victim could claim damages from the other driver for negligence.
That being said, not all liability cases are so simple, and attributing fault can be difficult.
Some accidents are the result of more than one party’s negligence. The ability for an accident victim to collect compensation depends on a concept known as “comparative negligence” or “comparative fault.”
The available claims are based on each driver’s percentage of fault for causing the accident. If the court finds one driver to be 80 percent at fault for the accident, perhaps for speeding, and the other driver 20 percent at fault for not using their blinker, then the second driver can still make a claim for compensation. However, the amount of their claim would be reduced by 20 percent to account for his or her own contribution to the crash.
Oklahoma is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that if an injured party is ruled to be 50 percent or more responsible for an accident, they are barred from bringing a lawsuit against the other party, rendering them unable to collect any damages for the harm they suffered.
The Lindsey Law Firm, P.C. in Tulsa, Oklahoma represents personal injury clients throughout the greater Tulsa region. If you have been injured in an accident, feel free to contact us online or call 918-587-0097 for an initial consultation.