One car spins out of control and then a truck strikes that car and crashes onto its side. In the aftermath of this accident, another 13 vehicles were involved in the accident. This is precisely what occurred recently in Thackerville, Oklahoma according to KOCO News.

One question that many victims of this accident may ask is can someone be sued for negligence in car accidents like this. While the initial crash may have been caused by road conditions, the other 13 cars may have been able to avoid being involved in the crash.

Understanding Negligent Behavior

Negligence is best understood as the failure to act in a manner which is consistent with what a reasonable person would do under the same or similar circumstances. In effect, when someone gets behind the wheel of a car, they owe a duty to others on the roadway. Failure to act in a manner consistent with this duty could be considered negligent.

What is required of an accident victim, is proving someone failed to exercise reasonable care.

This may be more challenging than it sounds.

Proving Negligence in Car Accident Cases

Proving negligent behavior means that a victim must show that a driver willfully acted in a manner which would not be normal given the circumstances. On a slippery road one would expect a driver to be exercising caution, traveling at speeds in line with road conditions, and focusing on the road. Examples of negligent behavior could include:

  • Driver was texting while operating a vehicle
  • Driver was traveling too fast for road conditions
  • Driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs (prescription or other)
  • Driver failed to obey traffic signals
  • Driver was distracted and not paying attention to the road

These are a few examples of negligent operation which could contribute to a roadway accident. When someone is injured because a driver behaved in a manner that was not consistent with their responsibility to other drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists, they may be considered negligent.

Proving Negligence Strengthens a Victim’s Case

Negligence must be proven in order for a victim to successfully pursue a settlement for the harm they suffered as a result of a car accident. Without proving negligence, a plaintiff may not be able to successfully win their case. Here are some of the ways negligence can be established:

  • Accident reports — when an accident results in a personal injury, the involved parties must file an accident report with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. These reports may offer contradictory information but may also prove invaluable in establishing negligence.
  • Video evidence — there are countless traffic cameras across Oklahoma. One way to help establish negligence is to obtain this footage in the immediate aftermath of an accident.
  • Witness statements — there are often people at the scene of a wreck who saw what led up to the collision and the cause. These sworn statements can provide proof of someone’s negligent conduct.

An attorney who has experience handling car accident claims in Oklahoma can be invaluable to a car accident victim. They have the knowledge and experience needed to assist in obtaining evidence to display negligence.

The elements which must be established include:

  1. Plaintiff (the victim) was owed a duty of care by defendant
  2. The defendant breached that duty of care
  3. The breach of the duty of care caused the plaintiff to suffer an injury
  4. The injury resulted in the plaintiff suffering a financial loss

Establishing proof is a requirement when filing an accident injury claim. Assembling the evidence and presenting it in a clear and concise manner can help ensure there are no questions about the validity of the claim.

Damages Which Can Be Recovered With A Successful Claim

When filing an accident injury claim for negligence, there are certain items which may be included. There are both financial, and non-financial aspects to most claims and each one will vary depending on the nature of the accident, the victim’s injuries, and the victim’s recovery time. Some of the damages which may be recovered include:

  • Medical bills related to accidents — when a victim must pay out of pocket for treatment for the injury suffered in a car accident, they may include these expenses in a claim. These expenses may include prescription medication, medical equipment, tests, hospitalization, and rehabilitation costs.
  • Benefits and wages lost due to injury — in many cases, a victim of a car accident could face weeks of recovery time. During that time, they could be forced to use vacation time, personal time, and lose access to production bonuses, pension plan deposits, and more.

    An accident injury attorney can help determine how much of these losses can be included in a claim.
  • Pain and suffering as a result of the injury — in some cases, it may be possible to seek compensation for pain and suffering. The more serious the injury, the more likely this portion of the claim is likely to hold up.

It is important for an accident victim to understand that once a demand for settlement is filed, it may be difficult to modify. When an accident injury attorney prepares a claim, they will make sure the claim is inclusive of all potential damages which a victim might be entitled to collect.

How An Attorney Deals With Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit 

Car Accident Law

Once it has been established by the victim’s legal team that there was a negligent driver responsible for their injuries, negotiations with insurers will likely take place. When these negotiations are unsuccessful in obtaining a fair settlement for a victim, the next step is filing a car accident lawsuit. The steps for filing a lawsuit include:

  • Filing a Claim with the Circuit Court — this would be done in the County where the accident occurred.
  • Request for Summons Issuance — this would notify the negligent driver that a lawsuit was being filed. Evidence is included with the summons, so the negligent party understands the issue.
  • Response to Summons Issuance — the defendant will then have an opportunity to respond to the charges in the complaint and the discovery process will commence.
  • Discovery Process — the discovery process can be complicated and typically includes:
    • Interrogatories – questions may be asked by either party about issues pertaining to the accident. Basic facts, witness information, victim’s injuries, and medical treatment are often included in this section.
    • Producing documents – police reports, medical records, photographs, surveillance footage and other evidence is shared between both sides.
    • Admission of facts – both sides of the case agree on specific sets of facts which cannot be disputed.
    • Depositions – questioning about the facts of the case under oath which may be used during trial.
  • Mediation and Further Negotiations — since most cases never go to trial, it is common for mediators to get involved in a civil case and attempt to negotiate a settlement between the two parties. Should negotiations fail, the case will go to trial.

It is also important for a victim to remember that if a case goes to trial, and has a verdict in their favor, that the final verdict is not applicable until the negligent party has exhausted their opportunity to appeal the verdict.

Victims Have a Right to a Fair Settlement

When someone has suffered an injury in a car accident due to negligence, filing a lawsuit may be the best option they have to secure a reasonable settlement for their injuries. The best option in these cases is to seek advice from a skilled auto accident attorney.

Contact us or call us at 918-359-6600 for a free consultation.

When injury victims need a law firm with a reputation for excellence, turn to Graves McLain Injury Lawyers. We are a top-rated personal injury firm determined to be the best. With decades of award-winning representation, our clients recover the compensation they need to put their lives back together.

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