Bringing a personal injury lawsuit can offer many benefits, especially if an insurance company is being uncooperative or declining to pay you fair compensation.
However, filing a lawsuit can be a complicated and time-consuming process. Before you decide to file a lawsuit, it is important for you to decide if pursuing a case is in your best interest.
The Edwards Law Firm’s Tulsa personal injury attorneys have compiled these frequently asked questions to help you better understand the basics of a personal injury lawsuit and how we may be able to help you during this time. If you have questions that are not answered below, do not hesitate to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation.
Do I Have a Case?
To have a valid personal injury claim, you must be able to prove that your injury was caused by the other party’s negligence. This is the most important aspect of a personal injury claim and will determine whether you receive compensation for your pain and suffering.
For this reason, one of the first things our attorneys look for during our initial claim evaluation is whether the four elements of negligence were present during the accident. These include:
1. Duty of Care
The other party was obligated to ensure your safety and prevent you from suffering any harm.
2. Breach of Duty
The other party breached his or her duty by failing to act as a “reasonably prudent person” would under similar circumstances. A reasonably prudent person is a legal term that refers to how an average person who exercises reasonable care and makes rational decisions would have acted in the same situation.
Your injury was directly caused by the other party’s breach of duty. Our attorneys will work to prove the other party’s action or inaction was the sole cause of your injury and that it would not have occurred had he or she acted differently.
The other party caused you to suffer actual damages as a direct result of his or her breach of duty. Actual damages are monetary losses you incurred after the accident that can be measured by a court, such as medical expenses or lost wages.
How Much is My Claim Worth?
Once our attorneys have concluded that your injury was caused by the other party’s negligence, we will evaluate your claim to determine an accurate amount of compensation that reflects your suffering and loss.
However, it is impossible to determine the value of your claim without reviewing the details of your accident and injury. Instead, there are several factors that can be used to determine how much your claim may be worth, such as:
- Lost wages (past and present)
- Cost of medical treatment after the accident
- Cost of future medical care
- Loss of ability to earn an income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Our attorneys will examine how your injury has affected you since the accident and whether it will inhibit your ability to live a normal and productive life. We will reach a figure that accurately and fairly represents the amount of compensation you deserve.
Do I Still Have a Case if I Partially Caused My Injury?
It is not uncommon for both parties involved in an accident to share some level of fault for causing the accident.
However, sharing partial fault does not mean you cannot recover compensation. Oklahoma uses the law of comparative negligence in personal injury cases to evaluate the level of fault each party played in causing the accident.
Under comparative negligence, a court will assign you a percentage based on your level fault. The amount of compensation listed in your claim will then be reduced by this percentage.
For example, a court may find that you share 30 percent of the fault for causing an auto accident. If you filed a claim for $100,000, it will be reduced by 30 percent and leave you with $70,000 in compensation.
Is There a Time Limit On My Claim?
In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident that caused your injury, according to Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 12 § 95(A)(3)(2017).
If you do not file a case within this deadline, you will lose the right to recover compensation from the at-fault party. Our personal injury attorneys are well aware of Oklahoma’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases and will work to help ensure your claim is properly filed to meet this two-year deadline.
Will My Case Go to Trial?
Personal injury cases rarely go to trial and are often settled between the parties involved early in the claims process. This is because a trial can be a long and stressful process that many plaintiffs (victims) and defendants (at-fault party) are eager to avoid.
However, if we are unable to negotiate a fair settlement for your case, we may have to take your case to trial in order to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Although going to trial is rare, our attorneys are ready to defend your case and will work to hold the at-fault party liable for the damages you suffered because of his or her negligence.
Do I Need an Attorney?
It is always in your best interest to consult with a qualified attorney if you are seeking to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Our skilled personal injury attorneys will work to help you recover maximum compensation for your case by:
- Evaluating your claim to reach an accurate estimate that reflects the damages you suffered after the accident.
- Investigating the circumstances surrounding your accident and the other party’s actions in causing your injury to help ensure you are not unfairly blamed by an insurance company.
- Acquiring medical documents that detail the cost of the medical tests and treatment you received after the accident.
- Collecting evidence, such as police reports, video footage or images of the accident scene, which may prove the other party is at fault for the accident.
- Negotiating with insurance companies to ensure you are not subjected to unfair tactics in an attempt to discredit your claim.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Tulsa
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident caused by another’s negligence, do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa personal injury attorneys.
As a prospective client, you will be provided a free, no-obligation legal review of your claim. Any legal service we provided is offered on a contingency fee basis, which means we will not charge you any fees unless we recover damages for your claim.
At the Edwards Law Firm, we are committed to working for our clients’ best interests. Whether this means negotiating a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurer or taking your case to trial, we will fight to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Schedule a consultation today.