Most people rely on insurance to help pay for the costs of a car accident. …
Being negligent means failing to exercise due care in order to avoid causing a preventable accident. When an Oklahoma driver causes a crash by being negligent — for example, sending text messages instead of paying attention to traffic — his or her insurance company may be liable for compensating the people who were injured in the collision. With help from an aggressive Oklahoma City car crash lawyer, the accident victim may be able to recover compensation by negotiating with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. But how long after the accident should the injury victim wait to file an insurance claim? And how long does the Oklahoma settlement process take?
How Soon After a Car Accident Should You File an Insurance Claim in Oklahoma City?
Oklahoma is a fault state for auto insurance. If the other driver was at fault for the crash which caused your injuries, his or her insurance carrier should pay for your medical expenses and property damage. Under Oklahoma’s minimum auto insurance requirements, all drivers must carry liability insurance for property damage and bodily injury in the following amounts: $25,000 for injury (per person), $50,000 for injury (per accident), and $25,000 for property damage (“25/50/25”).
A claim you file with the at-fault driver’s insurance company is known as a “third-party” claim. By comparison, a “first-party” claim is a claim you file with your own insurer, such as an uninsured motorist claim in a situation where the other driver does not have liability insurance.
You do not have to wait to until you have recovered from your injuries (or the resulting medical procedures) to make a claim. On the contrary, it’s wise to start the process of filing your third-party car accident claim as soon as possible after you are hurt in a crash. Needless to say, the sooner you initiate the process, the sooner you may be able to get compensated. However, there’s also another important reason to file a claim right away: the statute of limitations.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Oklahoma?
There are two routes toward getting compensated after you are injured in a car accident: making an insurance claim or filing a lawsuit. While many car accident claims are resolved successfully with an out-of-court settlement reached through negotiation, there are also some situations where insurance companies ultimately refuse to settle. If this occurs, the injury victim may decide to sue the negligent driver. Litigation is complex, but can be an effective method of obtaining compensation when settlement negotiations fail.
If the accident victim decides to file a car accident lawsuit in Oklahoma, he or she will have to abide by an extremely important legal deadline called the statute of limitations. In short, the statute of limitations is the plaintiff’s (injury victim’s) deadline for filing a lawsuit.
The statute of limitations is different in every state, and even in a single state, there are different statutes of limitations depending on the reason for the lawsuit, called the “cause of action.” For example, Oklahoma has a two-year statute of limitations for lawsuits involving personal injury and wrongful death in Oklahoma. However, the statutes of limitations on slander and libel are only one year, while the statute of limitations on breach of contract is up to five years.
While numerous auto accident claims are eventually settled, there is also a chance that negotiating might not result in a settlement. The sooner you make an insurance claim with help from an experienced Edmond car accident lawyer, the more time will remain to build a strong case on your behalf in the event the insurer will not settle your claim.
How Long Does it Take to Settle an Auto Accident Claim in Norman?
Unfortunately, it will be difficult to answer this question with precision until you review your claim with a car crash lawyer in Norman, Oklahoma City, or the location where your accident occurred. There are many factors that can lengthen or shorten the amount of time it takes for a car accident claim or lawsuit to resolve, such as:
- The complexity of the accident.
- The number of vehicles involved in the crash.
- The severity of the victim’s injuries.
- The severity of the victim’s property damage.
- The type of medical treatment the victim has required, and is expected to require in the future.
- The number of injured parties.
- The type and amount of insurance coverage the at-fault driver carries.
- The volume of evidence available to determine fault.
- Whether the accident victim did anything to contribute to accident. (As we’ve discussed in the past, it is possible to get compensated for a partial-fault car accident in Oklahoma.)
- Whether external factors, such as defects in the road or either vehicle, played any role in contributing to the accident.
- Whether the victim had pre-existing injuries before the car accident.
- Whether the accident resulted in wrongful death.
That being said, as a general rule personal injury settlements tend to resolve more quickly than court cases. A settlement may take several months, while a lawsuit may take several years. Ultimately, the timeline of your claim or lawsuit will be shaped by the factors listed above, in addition to other variables. Talking to an auto accident attorney in Oklahoma will give you a clearer idea of what to expect going forward.
Let Our Skilled Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyers Fight for You
Call the law offices of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 to set up a free legal consultation regarding your car accident with one of our personal injury attorneys. We’re here to help assess your legal options and fight for the compensation you deserve.