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5 Important Things You Need to Know About Personal Injury Laws in Oklahoma

By Michael Brooks-Jimenez

If you have been injured in Oklahoma due to another person’s neglect, then there are 5 things you need to know about personal injury laws. Understanding the laws will help you make the right decisions going forward. 

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1. Time Limits

Just like with any law, there are restrictions on when you can file a lawsuit. This is referred to as “statutes of limitations.” In Oklahoma, the time frame allowed by the courts for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years.

In the case of a personal injury, it is wise to begin proceedings as soon as possible so the facts are fresh in your mind. If you discover an injury after the fact, do not hesitate to seek legal help to see if you are eligible to file a claim.

2. Shared Fault Laws

Sometimes a personal injury is a result of both parties being negligent. In Oklahoma when this happens, the “modified comparative fault law” is applied. This law allows the injured person to receive a portion of the compensation if he or she is less than 50% responsible.

For example, if you are 40% responsible and your injury and damages total $20,000, you would receive $12,000. This amount reflects the total amount ($20,000) minus your percentage of responsibility (40%). However, if it has been determined that you are 50% liable (or more), then you receive nothing. In some states, if you are even 1% to blame, you can not be compensated.

3. Damage Caps

In Oklahoma, there are limits to how much money you can be compensated for what is termed as “non-economic” damages. In 2011, laws were put in place to cap the amount at $350,000. Just what are non-economic damages? First, let’s look at the two main type of damages people usually have:

  • Economic damage: This refers to money lost from missing work due to the injury and the cost of medical services or products.
  • Non-economic damage: This damage refers to the pain and suffering a person endures during a personal injury.

Oklahoma laws allow up to $350,000 for pain and suffering. This includes physical, mental, and emotional suffering.

4. “Strict” Liability for Dog Bites or Attacks

When a dog bites or attacks an individual in Oklahoma, the person has full compensation rights. In some states, there is the “one bite rule.” This rule overlooks the first time a dog bites if the dog had not shown any past aggressive behavior in the past.

However, in Oklahoma, the law is stricter. Even if a dog has never shown aggressiveness in the past, the owner is liable for all damages. The law does state that the person will be compensated if the dog injures a person “without provocation.”

5. Injuries Involving the Government

If you suffer an injury while on government property or it is due to the negligence of a government employee, then different laws apply. According to the Oklahoma Tort Claims Act, the laws may or may not hold the government institution responsible. The law as quoted states:

  • The state or a political subdivision shall be liable for loss resulting from its torts or the torts of its employees acting within the scope of their employment subject to this act and only where the state or political subdivision would be liable for money damages under the laws of this state.
  • The state or a political subdivision shall not be liable under the provisions of this act for any act or omission under the provisions of this act for any act or omission of an employee acting outside the scope of employment.  
  • The liability of the state or political subdivision under this act shall be exclusive and in place of all other liability of the state.

If you have been injured due to someone’s negligence, it is best to seek legal counsel as soon as the injury occurs. You will have a better recollection of the incident. For more information about a personal injury case, please contact us today!

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