If you have been hurt in a truck accident in Oklahoma contact John Mac Hayes at 405-235-5200.
Big rig truck accidents, typically involving 18-wheelers, are among the most common type of vehicle accidents on interstate highways, and they are among the most likely to result in serious injury or death to the other driver. Oklahoma City is no exception to this rule because of the interstate highways that pass through city limits. An 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer is a necessity if you were injured in a trucking accident.
Who Can You Sue?
Naturally, you may sue the driver who caused the accident. By operation of law, you are also effectively suing his insurance company if he is insured. If the driver was driving on a commercial license, you can also sue the driver’s employer. Many freight and oil companies operate 18-wheelers in the Oklahoma City area.
What Can You Recover For?
Generally, two main types of damages are recoverable – tangible and intangible damages. Tangible damages are concrete, easy to quantify damages such as medical bills or lost wages. Intangible damages are abstract, difficult to quantify damages such as pain and suffering. Punitive damages are available if the defendant’s conduct was sufficiently outrageous.
How Much Money Can You Obtain?
There is no predetermined recovery in an Oklahoma personal injury lawsuit. The final amount depends on the seriousness of the victim’s injury, the amount of the victim’s suffering, and the degree to which the victim was also at fault. In Oklahoma, an accident victim can recover damages as long as he was less than 50 percent at fault. Any fault at all will reduce the amount of damages he is entitled to recover by his percentage of fault — if he was 25% at fault, for example, his recovery will be reduced by 25%. Typically, damages for intangible losses are several times as high as damages for tangible losses, and six-figure recoveries are not uncommon.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Even if the victim died in the accident, a close relative can step in and file a wrongful death lawsuit. A plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit can claim damages for the victim’s medical bills and pain and suffering, the victim’s burial and funeral expenses, and for grief and loss of companionship suffered by the victim’s spouse and children.
Pitfalls for the Unwary
- Attempting to represent yourself. Even lawyers are commonly advised not to represent themselves, because of the loss of objectivity that results. Self-representation is likely to be even more disastrous for a non-lawyer, whether in court or in settlement negotiations.
- Missing the statute of limitations deadline. The Oklahoma statute of limitations for both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits is two years, although certain exceptions exist. This means that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
- Failing to claim future damages. Once a courtroom judgment is issued or you sign a settlement agreement, you will most likely be forever barred from reopening the case. If your injuries are long-term, you need to consider your future damages, such as long-term care medical bills.
Seize the Opportunity
Your opponent in a lawsuit or in settlement negotiations is unlikely to be the driver himself – rather, the driver’s insurance company will send its lawyers to negotiate with or litigate against you. These lawyers have years of experience saving insurance companies money by short-changing people like you. It cannot be overemphasized that you need the services of a savvy, aggressive Oklahoma personal injury attorney to represent you. If seek compensation, don’t hesitate to call John Mac Hayes at 405-235-5200 for a free initial consultation.