What damages can you seek after an Oklahoma auto accident?
Following auto accidents in Oklahoma, people may be awarded compensation for their monetary and non-monetary damages.
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety reports there were 72,503 auto accidents across the state in 2015 alone. Often, car crashes cause serious injuries or death for drivers, passengers and others. Due to motor vehicle collisions and the resulting injuries, people may suffer a number of losses. Therefore, it may be important for them to understand what damages they can seek following traffic accidents in Oklahoma.
Special compensatory damages
Motor vehicle accidents often lead to a range of monetary expenses, for which people may be entitled to compensation. In addition to the costs of repairing or replacing their vehicle, this also includes their hospital bills and other medical expenses, lost wages and lost future income, and certain household expenses. Those injured in auto collisions may also pursue recompense for the costs associated with altered plans or cancelled trips. The purpose of these types of damages is to make people whole for the money they lost and expenses they incurred as a result of their injuries.
General compensatory damages
Sometimes, car wrecks also cause damages that are not monetary. These may include mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. Since general compensatory damages do not have an actual monetary value, the court will determine an amount of compensation to award for these damages.
Although more blame may be placed on one person than the other, the fault for auto accidents does not always lie with just one of the people involved. When determining damages in personal injury cases, Oklahoma law dictates that the court must apply the rule of comparative negligence.
The comparative negligence rule specifies that people cannot receive damages if they share 50 percent, or more, of the fault for causing an auto accident. If they are less than 50 percent to blame for the wreck, however, people may recover a reduced amount of compensation. For example, the court saw fit to award $10,000 in damages, but the person was found to be 25 percent at fault for the collision. He or she would only actually be awarded $7,500.
Working with an attorney
For people in Oklahoma who are injured in motor vehicle collisions, the financial losses, expenses and non-monetary damages incurred may make an already difficult time even more challenging. However, there may be a number of legalities involved with recovering compensation. Thus, those who have experienced such situations may benefit from consulting with a legal representative. A lawyer may explain their rights and help them determine how to proceed, as well as guide them through the legal process.