How To Determine Fault In An Oklahoma Car Accident?

If you’ve been the victim of a car accident in Oklahoma, you may be asking many questions about the logistics of legal action. One prominent line of questioning is how individuals involved in the situation are found to be at fault or not at fault for the accident.

When a third party is found at fault, they’ve been determined to be negligent and/or failed to act according to the law. When determined to be the neglectful third party in either a settlement or court proceeding, the at-fault individual or organization may have to pay damages to the victim.

In this guide, we’ll examine how fault is determined in Oklahoma and what you need to know about liability. If you still have questions about fault after reading the guide, give us a call at (405) 397-1717 or book your free case review online.

Understanding Fault And Liability In Oklahoma

First, it’s important to understand Oklahoma as a “fault” state when determining car insurance. That means that when an accident occurs, the plaintiff and even the defendant can file a claim on the opposing person’s car insurance. This contrasts the twelve “no-fault” states, where individuals file damage claims on their personal insurance policy.

The Process Of Determining Fault In Car Accidents

Determining fault often starts at the accident scene, where involved drivers provide statements to law enforcement. Some at-fault individuals may admit that they were responsible for the accident; such admissions usually become the narrative for insurance purposes. However, it is common for both sides to claim that the other individual was responsible for the accident. In this case, the role of the police becomes more important.

The officers at the scene will take statements from those involved in the accident and even photographic evidence of the scene to help construct a timeline of events. After everyone departs from the scene, the officers will attempt to construct what happened. This information is sent to insurance companies, who also play a role in assessing fault by conducting their investigations and reviewing all available information.

In cases where there is a dispute over liability or when multiple parties are involved, arbitration may be used to resolve conflicts and determine fault more objectively.

Modified Comparative Negligence In Oklahoma

According to 23 OK Stat § 13 (2023), “In all actions hereafter brought, whether arising before or after the effective date of this act, for negligence resulting in personal injuries or wrongful death, or injury to property, contributory negligence shall not bar a recovery, unless any negligence of the person so injured, damaged or killed, is of greater degree than any negligence of the person, firm or corporation causing such damage, or unless any negligence of the person so injured, damaged or killed, is of greater degree than the combined negligence of any persons, firms or corporations causing such damage.” 

That means that in Oklahoma, an individual is only eligible to collect damages if they are less than 50% at fault for the car accident. If someone is 51% or more responsible, they forfeit their right to collect damages. 

Need A Hand In Understanding Fault? 

Contact our Oklahoma City injury lawyers by calling (405) 397-1717 or book a free case review for us to answer your questions.