In simple terms, a “personal injury” occurs when you get hurt because someone else made a mistake. For example, if you’re crossing the street and get hit by a car, if the neighbor’s dog bites you, or if you slip and fall on a convenience store’s unmarked wet floor, you may be able to get payment from the person or business that caused the accident.
Determining Fault in Oklahoma
Before you go filing a claim, let’s first clarify what does and doesn’t constitute a legitimate personal injury case. You see, every state has its own set of rules — rules designed to help real victims get the help they need while preventing unfair accusations from those who simply want to collect payment because they’re hurt.
In Oklahoma, it all comes down to one simple question: Whose fault was it, really?
Scenario 1: “Their” Fault
Sometimes, the answer to this question is obvious. If you’re using a crosswalk and a car comes screeching around the corner and hits you, everyone will probably agree that the resulting accident was the reckless driver’s fault. In this scenario, let’s say that you are granted a $100,000 settlement to pay for your medical bills and other accident-related expenses.
Scenario 2: Shared Fault
Now let’s change the circumstances. Let’s say that you were crossing the street about 10 feet away from the crosswalk because you were in a hurry, and despite the driver slamming on his brakes, he still hit you hard enough to break your leg. After reviewing the evidence, the court decides that you are 30% responsible for the accident. As a result, you are only entitled to 70% of that $100,000 settlement, or $70,000.
In Oklahoma, Scenario 2 is a prime example of what we call “modified comparative fault.” Now, if you hear this term being thrown around by the insurance company, you’ll know exactly what it means.