Despite efforts to increase awareness and implement measures to discourage risky driving behaviors, fatal car crashes are on the rise in Oklahoma. According to News on 6, Tulsa police reported the city set a record in 2021 with 69 traffic fatalities –up from 50 in 2020. Tulsa’s Traffic Safety Coordinator identified speeding, distraction, and intoxication as the three primary contributing factors responsible for the deadly crashes
For drivers on the roads in and around Tulsa, the risk of being involved in a car accident always exists. When crashes occur, injuries and property damage are often the results leaving those who were not at fault for the accident with the responsibility of trying to get compensated for their losses in addition to recovering from their injuries.
A car accident can disrupt every aspect of a person’s life. The personal injury attorneys at Graves McLain are committed to helping clients get their lives back on track. From negotiating with insurance companies to persuading a jury, Graves McLain will use their skills and experience to obtain clients the maximum recovery.
The truth is that most people are unfamiliar with getting into a car accident. They are unfamiliar with the process of making a claim against an insurance company for injuries and property damage. They do not know the particulars of the law, and they do not know how to protect or enforce their rights. Why would they? It is not something that happens just every day.
Handling legal matters is what lawyers are trained to do. Experienced attorneys have a working knowledge of the areas of law they practice in. They are familiar with local legal practices and they have likely dealt many times with the various insurance companies, courts, and other lawyers that might be involved in a car accident claim
There is absolutely no good reason not to consult with an attorney after a car accident. Many, if not most, personal injury law firms offer a free consultation without obligation. This is a valuable opportunity for people to get some clarity about their situation and learn information that can help them move forward
The most recent data published by the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office show that overall motor vehicle crashes decreased by close to 16% in 2020 as compared to 2019 numbers. Crashes that involved injuries also decreased by a similar percentage. However, those fewer crashes actually resulted in an increase in the number of fatalities.
Speed and/or alcohol were involved in many of the fatal crashes. Alcohol-related fatalities increased by over 20% in 2020. Fatal crashes involving speed also increased significantly.
Non-fatal accidents happened more often on Fridays between 5 and 6 p.m., with the greatest number of crashes occurring in October. Fatal accidents occurred more often on Mondays between 3 and 4 p.m. as well as between 5 and 6 p.m.
The most common location for the occurrence of both fatal and non-fatal crashes is city streets, followed by rural state highways and county roads. The majority of accidents occur during daylight hours when weather conditions are clear.
Drivers between ages 15 and 34 are the most likely to get in crashes, with the 20-24 age group being at the greatest risk. Male drivers are not only more likely to get into accidents than female drivers, but those accidents are also more likely to involve fatalities.
Most traffic crashes are caused by something that a driver is doing that is either risky or inattentive. Many accidents result from aggressive driving behavior that typically involves speed and the failure to obey other rules of the road.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the most common driver behaviors that resulted in fatal crashes in 2019 are:
Distracted driving is responsible for about 12% of Oklahoma’s car accidents. Drivers ages 20-24 get in the most accidents due to distraction. Men in every age group are more likely than women to become inattentive. And distractions inside the vehicle are credited as the most common reason for inattention. Distracted driving accidents are attributed to the following sources of distraction:
Though Tulsa is the second-most populous city in Oklahoma, it ranks number one when it comes to speed-related car accidents. Almost 24% of the speed-related crashes occurring in 2020 happened in Tulsa – compared to about 19% in Oklahoma City.
Speed combined with other road or traffic conditions accounts for the majority of speed-related accidents. Unsafe speed on wet roads or driving too fast for traffic conditions was the cause of almost 48% of the speed-related accidents.
There were almost 3,000 motor vehicle accidents in 2020 that were reported as alcohol-related. Although alcohol-related accidents make up less than 5% of all crashes in Oklahoma, alcohol-related accidents account for almost 27% of the fatalities. Tulsa recorded 16 fatal car accidents that involved drunk driving.
Consistent with the overall decrease in traffic accidents in Oklahoma in 2020, crashes involving teen drivers also decreased significantly from those reported in 2019. Teen drivers (ages 16-19) accounted for close to 11% of the motor vehicle crashes in 2020 and for almost 7% of the state’s fatal accidents.
Teen male drivers are more than twice as likely to get into fatal car accidents than females, but teen female drivers are more likely to get into injury accidents. The top 5 factors that contribute to teen auto accidents are:
Getting in a car accident is not something most people are familiar with, and it can be shocking and upsetting. Property has been damaged, and people may be injured. But this is not a time to freak out. This is a time to remain as calm as possible so as to assess the situation and take any necessary action to minimize the damage. Emergency circumstances need to be addressed first, and then steps can be taken to record and preserve evidence of the crash for later use.
The following steps should be taken at the accident scene and shortly thereafter.
When someone gets into an accident with another motorist, it usually is not too long before they are contacted by an insurance claims adjuster representing the other driver. The adjuster may be very friendly, but you want to be careful if you decide to speak with them about the accident.
Insurance claims adjusters – even the one working for your own insurance company – are on a mission to close claims quickly and with as little money paid out as possible. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to provide information to the adjuster.
Persons who are injured in car accidents caused by other drivers are entitled to recover for their losses from those at fault. The party seeking compensation must be able to prove the fault of the other driver or drivers before damages can be awarded.
Determining fault for the crash is crucial to the ability of the injured party to get compensation. Oklahoma follows the rule of comparative negligence. An injured party that has some fault for causing the accident resulting in their injuries may still be able to recover from other at-fault parties.
An injured party is allowed to be compensated for injuries and property damage so long as the fault of the injured party is not greater than the combined fault of all other parties. Fault is assigned as a percentage, and an injured party’s recovery will be reduced by a percentage equal to the amount of fault they are found to have.
When fault is an issue in a personal injury claim, it is important to understand how to minimize the fault of the injured party in order to maximize the amount of compensation they can recover.
Oklahoma is an at-fault insurance state which means that an at-fault driver is responsible for the injuries and property damage caused to another. But what happens when the at-fault driver does not have auto insurance?
Drivers in Oklahoma are required to carry minimum limits of liability coverage to protect those they might injure on the roads. Drivers who don’t comply with the insurance requirements can face fines, jail time, possible license suspension, and impound or suspension of the registration of their vehicle. The minimum liability limits are:
When car accidents are caused by motorists who are uninsured or underinsured, injured parties have a couple of options:
Companies that provide auto insurance in Oklahoma are required to offer uninsured motorist coverage, which is optional and must be rejected in writing. Uninsured motorist coverage allows a policyholder who was injured by an uninsured motorist to make a claim for injuries under their own policy. However, this places an insured in an adversarial relationship with their own company as they must prove both fault and damages as though the claim were being made against the at-fault party.
If an injured party does not have uninsured motorist coverage or if the coverage is not adequate to cover all of their damages, a lawsuit may be brought against the at-fault party. The problem with this option is that there may be very little available to recover. An uninsured motorist is very often uninsured because they cannot afford the cost of insurance which makes it unlikely there are assets available to pay a judgment.
Up until about 2018, Oklahoma had one of the highest rates of uninsured motorists in the nation. The Oklahoma Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Diversion Program was created as an alternative to criminal prosecution for uninsured motorists. Cameras are placed at busy intersections around the state to take pictures of the license plates of vehicles. Notices are sent to persons without insurance who are given an opportunity to opt into the program and avoid criminal penalties. Since the program began, the number of uninsured motorists has dropped from an estimated 350,000 to around 200,000.
Injuries from car accidents range from bumps and bruises all the way up to brain injuries and spinal cord damage. Neck and back injuries are common. The impact can cause bone fractures in any part of the body. Wounds may be open or only detected by medical imaging. Symptoms may include pain and stiffness, swelling or bruising, numbness, or tingling.
Psychological injuries may also occur as a result of a car accident. It is not uncommon for people to experience emotional distress after being involved in a crash. Mental injuries such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, anguish, and sleep disturbances can further damage a person after an accident.
Persons who are injured in traffic accidents may recover both economic damages – such as medical expenses and lost earnings – and non-economic damages – for pain & suffering, mental distress, and diminished quality of life. There is no longer any limit on the amount of damages that can be awarded.
When an at-fault party’s conduct has been exceptionally egregious, an award of punitive damages may be added to the compensatory damages award. The additional compensation is intended to punish a person or entity when the conduct was excessive or unusually severe. Punitive damages are generally not insurable in Oklahoma.
After being injured in a motor vehicle accident one of the first calls that should be made is to a personal injury attorney. But how does a person choose the right law firm to work with? Start searching with the type of accident and the general geographic area. Look at attorney credentials and experience. Read information about accidents and injuries on a website. See what past clients have to say. Then take a breath and make the call.
At Graves McLain, we want our clients to have full confidence in our abilities to get them the best possible results for their car accident claims. We encourage prospective clients to call our Tulsa office at 918-359-6600 for a free consultation or contact us here and give us the opportunity to earn your trust.
My orthopedic doctor recommended Graves McLain, PLLC, to me following the need for revision hip surgery due to a hip from Stryker that was putting poison into my system. The doctor took care of the hip, and Graves McLain, PLLC, took care of the legal case. They were very thorough, professional, courteous, and always ready to answer the questions I had throughout the length of the case. In a word, the entire office is fantastic. I’m sure they were tired of my inquiries on the case’s progress, but they did not show it. They were always willing to respond and were very positive. If I ever have a claim in the future, they will be the first group to whom I reach out.
I have been working with chad McLain for two years. He has helped me get my case resolved in a professional, compassionate, and very smooth way. I wasn’t just a number in this lawsuit which included many others. This firm has made me feel like I was the only one. Amy Cox has also been amazing. She was always so very kind each time I contacted her with questions. Her character shines through, and I’m so thankful she was there for me. I would definitely suggest that anyone who might need a lawyer for a medical lawsuit to choose Graves McLain law firm.
I was referred to Graves McLain through an Uber passenger. I reached out and was connected with Miss Angela, who made me feel so comfortable. She was very upfront with everything and kept a very open line of communication. I got to work with Amy W. & Amy M., who were two fabulous ladies who helped wrap up my case. When I thought I would be screwed with trying to get somewhere with the insurance company, these ladies came to the rescue. Without a doubt, I would contact them again, and I will recommend them to others. Thanks again!
Graves McLain was there for us when we didn’t really know how to move forward with our Round Up claim. They worked very hard for us and kept us informed. Couldn’t of done this without them. Thank you Graves Mclain
I had 10/10 experience with Rachel and the team from Grave’s McLain. I had been feeling overwhelmed with medical bills from a car accident that wasn’t my fault, and the long list of things that had to be done that I had to figure out how to do myself. They put my mind at ease and handled everything perfectly. I’ll definitely use them again if the time comes!
Graves McLain Law Firm recently handled a difficult legal situation for our family. From the beginning, we were treated with respect and concern. The entire staff is top-knotch in the realm of customer care. Mr. McLain’s knowledge, experience, and counselling was reassuring as our case progressed to the best conclusion achievable. Anyone needing assistance with serious issue should contact Graves McLain….”Serious DOES matter to them!”
I am extremely pleased with how my case was handled at Graves McLain. I hired Chad after fighting with the insurance company for over a year. Feeling defeated and overwhelmed with medical bills, once my case was handled by my attorney, I felt at ease. Chad and his team were very responsive and kind. They answered all my questions and even helped me figure out lost wages based on a commission rate of pay. He was able to get maximum compensation and now I can get back to my life! I would 100% recommend Graves McLain time and time again.
My case just settled and I want to thank Rachel Gussman, Janet, Sonia, Emily, Amy, and Margo. This process was definitely a team effort. When I was involved in a car accident last year, I turned to my friend Rachel for guidance. I was thoroughly impressed with their skills, office staff professionalism and friendliness, communication, and of course, the end results. I highly recommend Graves McLain.
My experience with Graves McLain was first and foremost a top notch experience from beginning to end. Their expertise and professionalism was impressive and thorough. I was completely satisfied with their efforts. In two years I had not one but two accidents . They handled both so that I didn’t become a victim again by the insurance company. I’m satisfied and happy with their handling of both suits. I would highly recommend them if you find yourself a victim of an accident.
Thank You Graves McLain!
Graves McLain was so helpful, they communicated with me and gave me frequent updates. I highly recommend them.