According to the Insurance Information Institute, Oklahoma ranks 18th in the USA for uninsured motorists – comprising 13.4% of drivers in the state. This statistic is a concern for others on the road in the Sooner State. In Oklahoma, it’s required by law for drivers to have liability insurance, but when drivers ignore this requirement, it can cause major difficulties if a collision occurs. When an uninsured driver is involved in an accident, victims may face obstacles in getting compensation for injuries or damages to their vehicles. Oklahoma law considers driving without insurance a misdemeanor offense, which can result in fines, suspension of a driver’s license, or even jail time. Despite these penalties, uninsured driving continues to be an issue, underscoring a need for increased awareness and compliance with the state’s insurance laws.

Insurance Requirements in Oklahoma 

Oklahoma mandates that automobile insurance coverage include minimums of $25,000 for individual bodily harm, $50,000 for total bodily harm per occurrence, and $25,000 for damage to another’s property.

Liability Insurance: Two main components of liability insurance must be included in Oklahoma insurance policies: property damage and bodily injury. Property damage protection comes into play if legal responsibility is determined for an accident, covering specific damage to another’s vehicle or property. Bodily injury protection is similar but pertains to certain costs associated with physical injuries to others if legally responsible for an accident.

Several optional coverages can enhance security on the road in Oklahoma:

  • Comprehensive: Coverage for non-collision related damage to your vehicle, such as theft, fire, vandalism, or animal collisions.
  • Collision: Coverage for damage to your vehicle resulting from a collision with another object or vehicle.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: Offers protection if involved in an accident with an at-fault driver who lacks sufficient insurance or is uninsured altogether.
  • Bodily Injury: Helps cover costs associated with physical injury from an uninsured or underinsured driver.
  • Medical Benefits: May include coverage for medical expenses or funeral costs for those covered by your policy, regardless of fault.

Additional Options

  • Towing and Labor: Reimburses for towing and on-site repair costs after a breakdown.
  • Loss of Use/Rental Car Expense: Assists with rental car or other transport expenses if your vehicle becomes undrivable due to a covered incident.

How to Determine if a Motorist is Uninsured

At the scene of an accident, both parties typically exchange insurance information. If a driver is unable or unwilling to provide proof of insurance, it may be a sign of lacking coverage. Oklahoma law enforcement officers can also verify insurance using the Oklahoma Compulsory Insurance Verification System (OCIVS). Additionally, individuals can report suspected uninsured drivers to the local authorities. Driving without insurance is a misdemeanor in Oklahoma and can lead to penalties such as fines or suspension of driving privileges. 

Potential Damages: What Victims Can Seek

In Oklahoma, victims of accidents can potentially claim damages, including medical expenses for injuries, repair costs for property damage, or even lost wages due to the inability to work. Oklahoma law permits victims to file a claim against an uninsured driver, though recovery might be more challenging. Some individuals may have uninsured motorist coverage as part of their own insurance policy, which can provide assistance in such scenarios. 

Claiming Damages From an Accident With an Uninsured Driver 

While dealing with uninsured drivers presents unique challenges, awareness of potential damages and appropriate avenues for seeking compensation helps individuals affected by these accidents in Oklahoma: 

  • Medical Expenses: Costs related to medical care, treatment, and rehabilitation after an accident. Includes hospital stays, surgeries, therapy, medication, and ongoing medical needs.
  • Property Damage: Compensation for damage to the vehicle or other personal property. Includes repair costs or the value of the property if it is a total loss.
  • Lost Wages: Covers income lost due to time off work for recovery, medical appointments, or disability resulting from the accident.
  • Pain and Suffering: Monetary compensation for physical pain and emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, and trauma related to the accident.
  • Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the loss of companionship, affection, or sexual relations with a spouse due to injuries sustained in the accident.
  • Wrongful Death: In the tragic event of a fatality, family members may claim compensation for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and emotional suffering.
  • Future Earnings: If the injury results in a long-term disability affecting the ability to work in the future, compensation for expected future earnings may be claimed.
  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Reimbursement for miscellaneous expenses directly related to the accident, such as transportation to medical appointments or hiring help for household chores.
  • Punitive Damages: In some cases where the responsible party’s conduct was particularly egregious or malicious, additional damages meant to punish the at-fault party might be awarded.

Filing a Claim Against an Uninsured Driver

Filing a claim against an uninsured driver in Oklahoma is a process with several key steps. First, it is important to gather all relevant information from the accident, including photographs, police reports, and witness statements. Next, the victim might contact their own insurance company to report the accident and discuss uninsured motorist coverage, if available. If pursuing a claim directly against the uninsured driver, one would typically send a demand letter outlining the damages and requesting compensation. Negotiations might follow, with both parties attempting to reach an agreement. If an agreement is not reached, legal proceedings could be an option. Oklahoma law permits victims to pursue legal actions against uninsured drivers, but collecting compensation might present challenges. 

Uninsured Motorist Coverage: How Insurance Can Help

Uninsured Motorist Law

In Oklahoma, uninsured motorist coverage is an option within many auto insurance policies, offering protection when an accident involves an uninsured driver. If the other driver lacks insurance, this specific coverage can help cover costs such as medical expenses and property damage. Unlike regular liability insurance, uninsured motorist coverage is designed to protect the policyholder directly, rather than the other party in an accident. Oklahoma law does not mandate having uninsured motorist coverage, but many choose to include it in their policies for added security. Uninsured motorist coverage provides an additional layer of protection against the unexpected on the road.

Uninsured motorist accidents present unique challenges in Oklahoma, requiring specific understanding and preparation. By following the state’s laws and having a solid comprehension of insurance options, individuals can safeguard themselves against potential risks associated with uninsured drivers. Awareness of uninsured motorist coverage, understanding how to identify uninsured drivers, and knowing the potential damages that may be sought are all part of being well-prepared. 

If you have been involved in a car accident, contact us or call us at 918-359-6600 today 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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