Business and Civil Litigation

Personal Injury LAW

Facts & Questions

Oklahoma, like all other states, has a time limit (“statute of limitations”) that dictates when a personal injury action must be brought. In Oklahoma you have two (2) years from the date of the collision to file a lawsuit. If you miss the statutory deadline, the court will not hear your case and you will be barred from recovering from the liability insurance carrier.

Med Pay or Medical Payments coverage is available for purchase through your car insurance carrier. Medical payment coverage covers reasonable and necessary medical expenses up to the limits of the coverage regardless of who was at fault in the accident. Med Pay is typically inexpensive to purchase and can be utilized to pay your medical providers directly for services or reimburse you for co-pays or payments for doctor visits, diagnostic tests, hospital visits and other medical care related to your injuries sustained in a collision.

Once we evaluate your case we will let you know if it is not suitable for hiring an attorney. However, if your case is suitable, we believe that prompt and aggressive actions are the key factors in achieving the best results for our clients. We let the insurance company know that we are prepared for your case to go to trial.

If you have received any documents that might be relevant to your case, they should be reviewed by your attorney. Collision reports, for example, contain eyewitness information and details about the conditions surrounding auto accidents, such as speed at the time of the collision and insurance contact information for the at-fault party. Copies of your medical reports and bills from doctors and hospitals will help demonstrate the extent and nature of your injuries. Bring any photographs you have of the accident scene, your property damage, and your injury. The more information you are able to give your lawyer, the easier it will be for him or her to determine if your claim will be successful. However, if you have not collected any documents at the time of your visit with your attorney, your attorney can obtain that information on your behalf.

/ Tort Reform-at a glance

Oklahoma Tort Reform legislation became effective November 1, 2011. It is still in its infancy stage and we are not yet clear on the true impact it will have on Oklahomans. If you have heard of tort reform, then you have likely heard about the limitation on non-economic (pain and suffering) damages. As a result of tort reform, specifically HB 2128, an injured party may not recover more than $350,000.00 in non-economic damages, regardless of the number of people/entities at fault. There is an exception to this rule, if both the judge and jury find, by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s acts were: in reckless disregard of the rights of others, grossly negligent, fraudulent, intentional or with malice.

/ Why it is so important that you maintain, at minimum, liability insurance?

Under the new tort reform legislation, if you (the injured party) do not carry the state’s minimum liability insurance ($25,000.00) and you are involved in a collision that was not your fault, the maximum amount you may recover is limited to the amount of your medical costs, property damage and lost income. This is significant because if you are not in compliance with the state’s minimum liability insurance law, you are forfeiting any award of pain and suffering. Of course there are exceptions to this rule and the limitations on non-economic damages will not apply if: 1) you are injured by a motorist who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol in violation of the law, if the motorist was convicted of, pleaded guilty or no contest to the offense; 2) you were a passenger involved in a motor vehicle collision, unless you own the vehicle you were riding in; 3) you were not in a motor vehicle (i.e. pedestrian); 4) wrongful death actions; 5) if the motorist who caused the collision intentionally caused the collision, left the scene of the collision, or at the time of the collision was acting in furtherance of the commission of a felony; 6) if you are a minor, claimed as a dependent on the federal income return of one or both parents or the minor and parents were not in compliance with the state’s minimum liability insurance law; or 7) at the time of the collision you had been covered by an insurance policy meeting the state’s minimum liability requirements but it was terminated or non-renewed for failure to pay the premium, unless at least 30 days prior to the collision notice of termination or non-renewal was sent to you by the insurance company.

/ Joint and Several Liability:

Before November 1, 2011, if you were hurt/injured and it was the fault of more than one person, all of your damages could be recovered from either person that injured you, regardless of their percentage of fault. Tort reform has eliminated joint and several liability. Now, you collect from the party that injured you based on their amount of fault.