Being involved in a car accident can result in property damage and serious injuries. Tulsa is the second largest city in Oklahoma with a population of over 400,000 people, and had the second-highest number of car accidents. Oklahoma Public Safety reported the following statistics about 2021 car accidents in Tulsa:
- In 2021, there were 1,506 car accidents in Tulsa.
- Of those car accidents, 1,193 were considered minor, 293 were considered serious, and 74 included fatalities.
- 84 people were killed in car accidents in Tulsa.
- Of the 84 people who lost their lives, 22 were not wearing seatbelts.
- 1,851 people suffered from minor or serious injuries.
- 136 unrestrained vehicle occupants were injured.
- 112 crashes were alcohol-related.
- 56 crashes were drug-related.
- 307 crashes were related to speeding.
- 182 crashes were caused by distracted driving.
- 181 crashes involved teenage drivers.
- 277 crashes involved older drivers.
- 147 crashes were hit-and-run.
- 71 crashes occurred in construction zones.
- The highest number of crashes occurred on Fridays (256).
- April was the month with the highest number of crashes (158).
In the aftermath of a car accident that was someone else’s fault, it can be very difficult to know the steps to take to claim damages from the other party’s insurance company. While recovering from injuries and dealing with vehicle repairs, an accident victim may benefit from hiring a lawyer. How can a lawyer help after a car accident in Tulsa?
Ensure the Car Accident Victim Claims all Eligible Damages
Hiring a lawyer means the client will have comprehensive guidance about what damages can be claimed as a result of the accident. A lawyer can advise their client about compensation for:
- Vehicle damage. A damaged vehicle means the accident victim may be facing very expensive repairs, and the inconvenience of being without their car while it is being fixed. A lawyer can navigate a settlement for damaged property from the at-fault parties and the victim’s own Underinsured Motorist insurance company.
- Medical bills. A car accident can result in serious, debilitating injuries; some of which can be permanent. Costs such as emergency services, hospital stays, surgeries, prescription drugs, follow-up doctor’s appointments, physical therapy and assistive devices can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. A lawyer can challenge the at-fault party’s insurance company to ensure that the maximum amount of compensation is awarded to their client.
- Lost income. While recovering from injuries, an accident victim can miss weeks or even months of work, and if able to return to work, they may be unable to perform the same tasks as they did before the injury. A lawyer will be able to negotiate a settlement that accurately reflects the amount of income lost through the injury, including work missed for doctor’s appointments and travel time.
- Pain and suffering. Not all damages from a car accident have strict economic value. Pain and suffering, or non-economic damages, compensate the car accident victim for physical pain, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of everyday activities. A lawyer can make a strong case for pain and suffering damages on behalf of their client.
When a car accident is someone else’s fault, the victim will not be able to negotiate a settlement if the fault can be established. If there are sufficient witnesses, or the accident was recorded on a traffic camera, establishing fault can be straightforward. However, in other cases, more evidence can be required to justify a settlement. A lawyer has the expertise to build the case against the at-fault party.
Gather Evidence on the Client’s Behalf
Making a case for a personal injury settlement after a car accident is time consuming and needs to be done meticulously. A lawyer will investigate the car accident to gather evidence to support their client’s claims, such as the accident report, interviewing witnesses and the police officers who were at the scene, requesting video footage from traffic cameras, and obtaining medical reports and records. Having the correct evidence can make the difference between a claim being accepted or denied, and a lawyer will make sure the evidence is comprehensive enough for the client to receive all of the compensation they are entitled to.
Negotiate With Insurance Companies
Dealing with insurance companies while recovering from injuries can be incredibly stressful. They are large corporations and can require extensive amounts of paperwork. An insurance company can deny a claim simply based on not having enough details about the accident or lacking the required records, or offer an initial settlement is too low in hopes the accident victim will simply accept it to get the process over with. A lawyer will correspond with the insurance company, make sure all the requirements to file a claim are met, and negotiate for a fair settlement for their client.
Claim Damages Within the Statute of Limitations
In Oklahoma, there is a time limit of two years for filing a suit for personal injury in civil court. If an accident victim does not file the lawsuit within the two year limit, the defendant can make a motion for the case to be dismissed.
Two years goes quickly when recovering from an injury. The extent of injuries is not always apparent immediately after an accident, and treatment and rehabilitation can go on for months. If their client’s case goes to court, a lawyer will make sure the case progresses without delay. By handling the settlement negotiations, the client can focus on their recovery without any worry about the statute of limitations.
Protect Clients from Debt Collectors
When bills pile up in the aftermath of a car accident, an accident victim may be unable to pay them while their settlement is being negotiated. In some cases, bills may go to collection, creating a stressful situation while the victim needs to focus on recovery from their injuries. A car accident lawyer will make sure their client is protected under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and keep collectors informed.
If you are injured in a car accident, our expert legal team will help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us or call us at 918-359-6600 for a free consultation.