Most car accidents result in personal injury and property damage. Getting medical treatment or repairing your vehicle costs money. And neither is cheap. But who is required to pay for these and other out-of-pocket expenses arising from the crash?
As you try to determine where financial responsibility lies, you might come across terms like “at-fault” and “no-fault” car accident state. You recognize that who must cover the costs for the collision depends on the doctrine Oklahoma follows.
So, is Oklahoma a no-fault or at-fault state? In short, it’s an at-fault state. In this blog, we’ll discuss how the at-fault doctrine affects your auto accident case and what you can do to protect yourself from legal action.
The Difference Between an At-Fault and a No-Fault State
The primary distinction between the at-fault and no-fault doctrines is who can be held responsible for paying for accident-related damages.
In a no-fault state, each person involved in an accident must go through their own insurance to recover compensation for things such as medical bills. In these states, policyholders must carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to cover the costs of their injuries.
In a no-fault state, injured parties do not need to prove that another person was responsible for the crash to recover damages. Also, they are typically barred from taking legal action against the other driver unless certain thresholds are met, such as sustaining serious injuries causing disfigurement or permanent disability.
Only 12 states are no-fault accidents states, including Florida, Kentucky, and New York.
Oklahoma is not one of those 12 states. It is an at-fault state. Under this doctrine, the person who caused the crash may be held financially responsible for damages.
That means, as the victim, you can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance. You do not have to go through your own carrier to be compensated for accident-related expenses and losses.
At-fault states like Oklahoma allow you to hold the negligent or reckless person responsible for their actions or inactions.
Oklahoma Is Also a Comparative Negligence State
Oklahoma also follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. This means that multiple parties may be considered at fault for an auto accident. The amount of compensation they are awarded is decreased by the percentage of their responsibility.
Thus, if you are found to be 20% at fault for an accident, you can recover only 80% of your damages. If you are more than 50% responsible, you can’t get any compensation from the other driver.
How the Insurance Claims Process Works in Oklahoma
In a car accident where someone else is to blame, you can pursue recovery first by filing a claim with the other person’s insurance company.
Oklahoma drivers are required to carry, at minimum, the following coverage amounts:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 property damage per accident
Some accidents result in medical expenses or repair costs that exceed the limits above. When that happens, the insurance carrier will only compensate for damages up to the policy limits. The driver may then be personally responsible for anything exceeding the coverage amounts. In that situation, it may be necessary to file a claim with your own insurance or initiate a personal injury lawsuit.
Protecting Your Case
In an at-fault accident state, either party involved in the collision may file a claim with the other individual’s insurance. Because of this, it’s critical to determine who was at fault and whether shared responsibility exists. Thus, it’s imperative to gather and preserve evidence to support your assertions that the other party is liable and mitigate any claims that you played a role in causing the collision.
Following your accident, be sure to:
- Contact authorities right away
- Seek medical attention
- Get contact and insurance information from the other driver
- Get contact details from witnesses
- Take notes, photos, and videos of the accident scene
- Refrain taking responsibility
Call the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C.
Our Norman team is ready to help pursue just compensation following your auto accident. We meticulously review the details and enlist the assistance of experts as necessary to build your case.
To schedule a consultation, please call (866) 590-8173 or submit an online contact form today.