Oklahoma has big skies and open roads that invite long country drives, but enough time on the road and you may find yourself involved in an accident. Following a car crash there are a number of important considerations including determining whether the accident needs to be reported and working out how to negotiate with insurers. The following article provides some guidance regarding the Oklahoma car accident settlement process and timeline.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Oklahoma?
Under Oklahoma Statute Title 47, Chapter 10, Section 10-107, a driver involved in an accident resulting in injury or death must, by the quickest means of communication, give notice of the accident to the local police department, county sheriff, or state highway patrol.
Additionally, under Title 47, Chapter 10, Section 10-108, accidents resulting in injury, death, or damage to property in excess of $300 must be reported, in writing, to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) if settlement hasn't occurred within 6 months of the incident.
Oklahoma Car Insurance Laws
Oklahoma has requirements relating to the minimum amount of insurance a motorist is meant to carry. These regulations are found in the Oklahoma Statutes, Title 47, Article 2, Section 7-204. The minimum insurance limits are:
- At least $25,000 for the injury or death of a single person in any one accident;
- At least $50,000 for the injury or death of two or more persons in any one accident; and
- At least $25,000 for injury or destruction of property in any one accident.
Oklahoma also requires that those involved in an accident involving bodily injury or death to any person, or damage to any person's property exceeding $300 provide proof of financial responsibility, which may include depositing a security. The amount of required security is determined by the DPS. This requirement is waived by Oklahoma Statutes, Title 47, Article 2, Section 7-203 if:
- The driver had a liability policy;
- A valid liability policy was in effect for a vehicle the driver did not own;
- The driver is qualified as a self-insurer;
- There was no injury or damage to anyone other than the driver or owner;
- The driver or owner was lawfully parked at the time of the accident; or
- The vehicle was being operated by or under the direction of a peace officer who, in the performance of their duties, assumed custody of the vehicle.
The owner is exempted if:
- The vehicle was operated without their permission; or
- The vehicle was owned or leased to the US, the state, or any subdivision of the state or municipality, if they were operating the vehicle with permission.
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Oklahoma?
The car accident settlement process can vary significantly depending on the situation, but in nearly all cases a claim must be filed with the appropriate insurance company. Following a period of investigation the insurer may make a settlement offer. This offer may be accepted, or you may make a counteroffer. This negotiation continues until a mutually acceptable figure is found, or you determine that an agreement can't be reached and file a claim in civil court instead.
What is The Average Car Accident Settlement in Oklahoma?
Average settlement figures are virtually impossible to generate and may be misleading. Settlements depend upon the extent of the damage and injuries in the particular case, the impact of the accident on the lives of those involved, and many other factors. An individual assessment by an experienced attorney may provide a useful estimate because they can take your individual case into consideration.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Oklahoma?
If you need to pursue your claim in court you need to get started before the "statute of limitations" has expired. Under Oklahoma Statutes, Title 12, Chapter 3, Section 95 a claim involving your injuries or the damage to your property must be commenced within two years of the accident. If you fail to start a case before this deadline you will be barred from a subsequent suit.
Get Legal Help with the Car Accident Settlement Process in Oklahoma
There are a lot of considerations after a car accident and whether you should get an attorney is a big one. The assistance of someone experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and complying with state law may make a difference in the outcome or amount of your claim. If you have questions about the car accident settlement process and timeline in Oklahoma, or would like legal help after a car accident, it's best to speak with an experienced car accident attorney near you.