Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyer
Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys in Oklahoma
At Fulmer Sill, our legal team offers a different approach, one that is collaborative, client-focused, and results-oriented. Our vehicle accident attorneys in Oklahoma City work to level the playing field and put the power back in the hands of everyday people, rather than already powerful insurance companies.
Our Oklahoma City car accident lawyers' aggressive approach to litigation has helped us recover millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, and we are prepared to fight tirelessly for the full, fair recovery you are owed.
What Is Considered a Car Accident?
A car accident, also known as a traffic accident or motor vehicle accident, occurs when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, animal, or stationary object. Car accidents can result in varying degrees of damage to property, injuries, and sometimes even fatalities. They can happen for various reasons, including human error, environmental conditions, and mechanical failures.
Common types of car accidents include:
- Rear-End Collision: This occurs when one vehicle crashes into the back of another. It often happens when the following vehicle is unable to stop in time, such as during sudden braking.
- Head-On Collision: This type of accident involves the front ends of two vehicles colliding. Head-on collisions often result in severe injuries and fatalities due to the force involved.
- Side-Impact Collision (T-Bone Collision): This occurs when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle, forming a "T" shape. Intersections are common locations for side-impact collisions.
- Single Vehicle Accident: In this case, a vehicle is involved in an accident without colliding with another vehicle. This can include running off the road, hitting a stationary object, or flipping over.
- Multi-Vehicle Pileup: This type of accident involves three or more vehicles colliding with each other. Pileups often occur on highways and can be particularly dangerous due to the chain reaction of collisions.
- Side-Swipe Collision: This happens when the sides of two parallel vehicles make contact. Side-swipe collisions often occur when one driver drifts into another lane.
- Roll-Over Accident: A roll-over occurs when a vehicle flips onto its side or roof. This can happen during sharp turns or due to certain collision forces.
- Hit and Run: In this situation, a driver involved in an accident leaves the scene without stopping to exchange information or report the incident.
- Pedestrian Accidents: These accidents involve a vehicle colliding with a pedestrian. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable, and such accidents can result in serious injuries or fatalities.
- Cyclist Accidents: Similar to pedestrian accidents, these involve a collision between a vehicle and a cyclist. Cyclists are also vulnerable road users.
If you are injured in any of these situations, you may be able to file an injury claim against the driver who hit you. Our Oklahoma City car accident attorneys can help you determine whether your case is viable and can help you pursue compensation.
Oklahoma Car Accident Laws
In Oklahoma, drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $300 must report the accident to law enforcement.
You should also know that Oklahoma follows a traditional fault-based, or “tort,” system when it comes to car insurance and accident claims. Under this system, you must typically bring a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company to receive compensation for your losses. This involves proving the other party’s fault, proving your injuries, and proving the nature and extent of your damages.
The state requires drivers to carry liability insurance to cover bodily injury and property damage. Currently, the minimum insurance requirements include $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage.
If the at-fault driver accuses you of being partially to blame for the crash, Oklahoma follows a “modified comparative negligence” rule. Under this rule, you are unable to recover compensation if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the accident. If the insurance adjuster and/or court finds you 50 percent or more to blame, you may not file a claim nor recover any compensation for your accident-related losses.
Even if you are found to be less than 50 percent at fault, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are seeking $100,000 in damages after a severe car accident, but the court finds you 30 percent at fault for the crash, you may only recover up to 70 percent of that amount, or $70,000.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Car Accident Claim in Oklahoma?
It’s important that you know that you only have two years from the date of the accident to file a car accident lawsuit. The clock starts ticking on the date of the accident, not the date of the injury. For example, if you are in a car accident and you go to the hospital the next day with an injury, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. If you go to the hospital two weeks after the accident with an injury, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim.
If this statute of limitations expires before you file your suit, you will almost certainly lose your right to sue the liable party for damages.
The same is true if your loved one tragically passed away due to a fatal vehicle accident; you generally have just two years to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Reach out to our car accident lawyers in Oklahoma City to learn more.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Oklahoma
Despite significant improvements in automobiles and the design of roads, motor vehicle accidents remain one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2020 saw the highest number of traffic-related deaths in the U.S. since 2007, with more than 38,000 lives lost.
Although there were fewer crashes in 2020 than the previous year, the fatal crash rate rose by nearly 7 percent. Simply put, driving is becoming more dangerous, and more people are dying on our nation’s highways and roads now than in the past decade and a half.
Many factors contribute to vehicle accidents, but the most common one is negligence. Often, it is another motorist who acts negligently, leading to a crash. However, in some cases, the negligence of a manufacturer, construction company, or another third party can result in a devastating or deadly motor vehicle accident.
Statistically, some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
- Speeding: Driving at speeds higher than the posted limits or too fast for road conditions reduces the time available to react to obstacles, increasing the likelihood of accidents and the severity of resulting injuries.
- Distracted Driving: Activities like texting, talking on the phone, eating, or using in-car entertainment systems can divert a driver's attention from the road, leading to accidents.
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of Alcohol or Drugs: Impaired driving due to alcohol or drug use significantly increases the risk of accidents. Reaction times and decision-making abilities are impaired, making it dangerous for the driver, passengers, and others on the road.
- Reckless or Aggressive Driving: Aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and excessive speeding, can lead to accidents. Road rage incidents, where aggressive driving escalates into confrontations, can also result in collisions.
- Tailgating: Following too closely behind another vehicle reduces reaction time and increases the likelihood of rear-end collisions, especially in emergency braking situations.
- Disobeying Traffic Signals and Signs: Ignoring red lights, stop signs, and other traffic control devices can lead to intersection collisions and other accidents.
- Dangerous and Illegal Maneuvers: Making unsafe turns, sudden lane changes without signaling, and merging without proper caution can result in collisions.
- Failure to Yield the Right of Way: Drivers who fail to yield when required, such as at intersections or crosswalks, can cause accidents involving other vehicles or pedestrians.
- Unsafe or Unlawful Passing: Passing in no-passing zones, on curves, or without proper visibility can lead to head-on collisions or accidents with oncoming traffic.
- Poor Visibility: Limited visibility due to fog, rain, snow, or darkness can contribute to accidents if drivers fail to adjust their speed and driving behavior accordingly.
- Inclement Weather: Adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, ice, or fog, can make roads slippery and reduce visibility, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Unsafe or Defective Road Conditions: Potholes, uneven road surfaces, and lack of proper signage can contribute to accidents.
- Poor or Inadequate Roadway Maintenance: Neglected maintenance, such as poor road surface conditions or lack of proper signage, can contribute to accidents.
- Insufficient Vehicle Maintenance: Neglecting to properly maintain a vehicle, including brakes, tires, and lights, can lead to mechanical failures and accidents.
- Auto Defects: Defective design, manufacturing, or components in vehicles, including defective tires or engine problems, can contribute to accidents.
Our Oklahoma City car accident attorneys carefully review the facts of each case to determine how an accident occurred. We often work with accident reconstructionists and other experts who help us identify third-party negligence and other contributing factors.
In many cases, these specialists provide crucial expert testimony on behalf of our clients. In every instance, our Oklahoma accident attorneys use all available resources to build powerful, innovative cases aimed at securing the maximum compensation you are owed.
Auto defects often contribute to—or even directly cause—serious and deadly accidents.
Some of the most common auto defects associated with traffic accidents include:
- Unsafe vehicle design, such as top-heavy SUVs that roll over easily
- Seatbelt, airbag, and other safety equipment defects
- Tire defects, leading to tire blowouts
- Faulty accelerators, braking systems, and engine components
Even at relatively low speeds, an auto defect can have catastrophic consequences. Motorists may lose control of their vehicles or become involved in rollovers, rear-end collisions, head-on crashes, and other severe accidents.
By conducting exhaustive accident investigations and meticulously reviewing all available evidence, our team is able to determine whether an auto defect contributed to or caused an accident.
If necessary, we are fully prepared to bring product liability claims against automotive companies, manufacturers, and other liable parties. We have a long history of success handling complex claims against all types of powerful entities, and we are known for our willingness to go to trial.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Being in a car accident can lead to you suffering a wide range of injuries. The injuries vary in severity from minor cuts and bruises to life-threatening conditions. Some common injuries that someone may suffer in a car accident include:
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Internal Injuries
- Cuts and Lacerations
- Psychological Trauma
- Broken Bones
- Head Injuries
- Chest Injuries
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
How severe the injuries are can vary due to factors like how fast the vehicles involved were going, where any impacts to the car happened, if the occupants were wearing seatbelts, and the presence of safety features like airbags.
However, to ensure you receive everything you are entitled to recover, you should try to take the following steps as well:
- File a Police Report and Exchange Information with Others Involved: Immediately after being involved in a car accident, it is important to initiate a police report and exchange valuable information with the other people involved in the accident, such as names, phone numbers, and license and insurance information. Many people even go take their own photos of the damaged vehicles, traffic signals, skid marks, and debris. However, a common mistake you want to avoid is accepting liability for the accident by apologizing or admitting fault. Often, insurance companies will attempt to use your statements—even something like, “I’m so sorry!”—to attribute fault to you. The best course of action is to simply provide an accurate, honest, and detailed statement of exactly what happened and let the police officers and insurance companies determine fault based on their investigations.
- Write Down Everything You Can Remember About the Crash: After any traffic accident, you should immediately seek medical attention to determine what injuries the accident may have caused. You should also notify your insurance company and the other party’s insurance company as soon as possible to open a claim. Keeping an organized paper trail of medical records, bills, and all communication with both your insurer and the third-party insurer is essential, as is keeping a journal documenting all the issues that may not be apparent in your medical records. A consistent written history of everything describing your pain, symptoms, treatments, and the daily impact your injuries have on you and your family is critical. Your journal, along with the written details of all conversations with adjusters, is extremely important in proving pain and suffering and other losses related to the accident.
- Use Caution When Signing Authorization Forms: As part of an insurance company’s investigation, you will likely be overwhelmed with letters and requests regarding your claim. Insurance adjusters will ask you to sign authorization forms in order to obtain medical records and bills from health providers, as well as wage information from your employer. Although your insurance policy may require that you sign one of these authorizations, you are not required to give your insurance company full access to all of your personal medical and employment information. Be sure to carefully read the authorization requested of you and limit the personal information the insurance company can access by restricting the language of the form to the treatment received from the accident or the days missed/wages lost for missed work due to the accident. You may explain to the other party’s insurance company that you will supply all significant and material documents, records, and bills once obtained or when treatment is completed in an effort to avoid signing an authorization.
- Ask About Your Coverage: Ask your insurance company to describe in detail the types of coverages associated with your policy, as well the potential coverages that may apply to your claim. This is particularly important if your policy includes medical payment (MedPay) coverage and/or uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. Request a copy of your policy and declaration page and carefully read the policy to make sure the insurance adjuster does not overlook or withhold any information or obligations.
- Avoid Discussing the Accident or Posting About It on Social Media: Limiting your conversations to those directly involved with the investigation of your claim or the medical treatment of your injuries from the accident is an additional protective measure to ensure your claim is handled properly. This might also include restricting communication between you and the insurance provider for the person that injured you. It is important to remember the insurance company of the person who injured you does not have the same obligations to you as your own insurer. Their job is to protect the person that injured you. It is also important to limit or even avoid online posts or discussions about your auto accident, injuries, or medical treatments on social media accounts or blogs to prevent anyone from misconstruing or misunderstanding your comments or photos while your claim is being handled.
- Talk to an Oklahoma Accident Lawyer Before Signing a Release Form or Accepting a Settlement: Almost all insurance companies intend to settle and close claims at the earliest possible opportunity. An insurance company will do this by making a settlement offer and asking for you to sign a release of liability form. By signing the release form, you are agreeing to accept their settlement offer for damages and bring your claim to a close. More importantly, by doing so, you are relinquishing your rights to take any further legal action or bring any additional damages for your claim. Due to the nature of injuries and loss associated with automotive accidents, it is always safe to wait until you are no longer in need of medical treatment or suffering any other type of physical, emotional, or financial loss.
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself after an accident is to contact an experienced and aggressive attorney, like those at Fulmer Sill.
With decades of collective experience, our Oklahoma City car accident attorneys have the resources, skills, and in-depth legal knowledge to effectively and aggressively advocate for you.
We invite you to contact our legal team today to learn more during a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
Q:Should I report the accident to the police?
A:Yes, it is crucial to report the accident to the police, even if it seems minor. A police report can provide valuable documentation for insurance purposes and future legal actions.
Q:How soon should I contact an attorney after a car accident?
A:It's advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident. Prompt legal advice can help protect your rights and ensure that you take the appropriate steps to pursue compensation.
Q:What if the insurance company offers me a settlement?
A:Before accepting any settlement offer from an insurance company, it is wise to consult with an experienced car accident attorney. Insurance companies often try to minimize payouts, and an attorney can evaluate the offer to determine if it is fair and covers your full damages.
Q:What types of compensation can I seek after a car accident?
A:After a car accident, you may be entitled to various types of compensation, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and in some cases, punitive damages. An attorney can assess your situation and help you understand what compensation you may be eligible for.
Q:How can an attorney help me with my car accident case?
A:An experienced Oklahoma City car accident attorney can provide several valuable services, including gathering evidence, dealing with insurance companies, negotiating settlements, representing you in court if necessary, and ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.