Life happens, and sooner or later you might find yourself needing an Oklahoma car accident lawyer to help you recover costs for damages or injuries sustained in a collision. Suffering injuries in a car accident is bad enough — but to compound the trauma by having to fight for compensation for your injuries, lost work time and future medical and living expenses is something no one should have to endure. That’s why your first call after a collision should be to an experienced car accident attorney. We’ll work with you and with the insurance companies to make sure that your expenses are covered and that you can live to the fullest extent possible following the accident.
A good car accident lawyer will be both experienced and ethical. That means that your lawyer will be able to navigate both the insurance system and the court system, so that she or he can advance your best interests as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
Following a collision, the first priority should be to see if anyone has been injured. If so, call 9-1-1 immediately for medical assistance, regardless of how minor. Even if no one is believed to be injured, it’s a good idea to call 9-1-1 to get police on the scene. This is important for two reasons: First, if the accident is in traffic or could potentially cause an alteration in the traffic pattern, you need officers on hand to direct. Second, it’s important to have a police report filed for any accident, no matter how small. Even if you think that there is no damage to your vehicle, there could be damage on the interior that you can’t find on visual inspection, alone. You don’t want to find out when something isn’t working that it was the result of a collision and you have no records.
Once you’ve made sure that the injured individuals are receiving the medical help they require, you then want to make sure that you are getting the proper accident information that you will need in order to file a claim. Never leave the scene of an accident (unless you’re taken to a hospital) without getting the following information:
If you suspect that any driver involved in the crash was distracted by using a mobile phone (or any other distraction) or was under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, inform the police immediately.
It might be completely clear to you who is at fault for an accident. But, that doesn’t mean that the other driver will admit fault. The best things you can do to protect your interests are to gather as much information as possible, get a police report and call your car accident attorney immediately.
The claims process for a car accident is not always easy or fair. Even if you’re not at fault, the other driver’s insurance company will always try to compensate you as little as possible for your claim. Trying to go head-to-head with an insurance adjuster who has likely processed hundreds of cases exactly like yours is an uphill battle. That’s why a car accident lawyer is your best ally.
More often than you might realize, the negligent driver doesn’t even have insurance. Hopefully, you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, it means that your own insurance will cover your damages that were the fault of an uninsured motorist. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, it gives you additional coverage when you have a significant amount of damages or injuries and the negligent driver doesn’t have enough liability insurance to cover all of it.
But, the laws surrounding these kinds of coverages can have a lot of nuances that can be overwhelming, and if you find yourself in the situation in which you need to interpret them, your car accident attorney would be the best person to walk you through what you need to do in order to get the most from your insurance coverage.
And, while a car accident lawsuit is the legal worst-case scenario—because, of course you would rather just have the insurance company send you a check for your losses—it is sometimes the only option for getting your damages and medical expenses covered.
It all depends on your percent of liability. In Oklahoma, a plaintiff cannot recover damages if that person is 51% or more at fault. In other words, the plaintiff can recover if s/he is 50% or less at fault. However, even in that scenario, the plaintiff’s entitlement to damages is reduced by the degree of fault. In many accidents, both drivers can be found to be responsible for some allocation of fault, even if it’s as little as failing to react quickly enough. States’ laws differ, and an Oklahoma car accident lawyer will give you even more specifics on that state’s rules. Generally, though, if the plaintiff is 10% at fault, he will get 90% recovery (rather than 100%).
They don’t have to. A car accident lawyer usually has a contingency fee arrangement, which means that you don’t pay until you’ve recovered damages. At that point, your attorney will take an agreed-upon percentage of what you’ve received. Most attorneys will earn approximately one third, or 33% of the damages awarded in a car accident lawsuit. Fees will also depend on the length of time that the case is litigated, whether it can be settled out of court and other factors specific to your action. The McIntyre Law team offers a free consultation where you can discuss the merits of your case and what the chances of recovering damages could be.