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What It Means For Oklahoma Drivers To Get In An Accident In An At-Fault State

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When you are involved in a car crash or collision, the financial impacts can be severe. Even a minor accident can leave you with extensive property damage, medical bills, and injuries that could affect your ability to work and provide for loved ones. Who pays for these damages? In some states, a driver’s own car insurance policy will pay for losses in the aftermath of an accident, regardless of who is to blame. In other states, drivers responsible for causing car accidents and injuries are also the ones responsible for the damages. It is important for drivers to be aware that Oklahoma is an at fault state, as this fact influences the steps you need to protect yourself after an accident, as well as the steps you need to take when filing an accident claim.

The Difference Between “At-Fault” And “No Fault”

Each state operates under different insurance guidelines. In states with “no-fault’ insurance laws, your own insurance company pays compensation for damages after an accident, regardless of who is at fault. In states with ‘at-fault’ insurance laws, the car insurance company for the driver responsible for the accident is required to pay. According to the website DMV.org, there are pros and cons to both systems.

At-Fault Insurance

Pros:

  • Holds reckless and at fault drivers accountable for their actions; and
  • May prevent insurance premiums from increasing for drivers involved in accidents in which they are not to blame.
Cons:

  • Time spent determining liability after an accident often results in delays in settlements; and
  • Compensation for damages and injuries may be limited if other driver is underinsured or lacks coverage.

No Fault Insurance

Pros:

  • You choose the amount of coverage to carry to protect you in the event of an accident; and
  • Filing a claim easier and settlements tend to be quicker;
Cons:

  • Fails to hold reckless drivers financially responsible for damages; and
  • Can mean higher overall premiums, despite your own safe driving record.

Is Oklahoma A No Fault State?

Oklahoma is an at-fault state, meaning drivers face financial liability after an accident if it is determined they are to blame. According to the Oklahoma Insurance Commission, all drivers are state mandated to carry a certain amount of car insurance in the event of an accident. If you are involved in an accident where the at fault driver is uninsured or does not have enough insurance to cover the cost of your injuries, your own car insurance may be able to help. Damages to your vehicle may be covered under your collision policy, while injuries costs may be available through any uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage you carry.

How This Affects You After A Car Accident

The fact that Oklahoma is an at fault state affects what you should and should not do in the event of an accident. In the event an accident occurs, the Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Code requires all drivers to exchange information, including insurance documents, as well as to notify the local authorities. To protect yourself against liability, it is important to do the following:

  • Make a note of the conditions leading up to your accident;
  • Get contact information for any witnesses at the scene;
  • Report the accident to your insurer as soon as possible; and
  • Avoid making any statements admitting fault or liability, either at the scene or when filing a claim.

Let Us Help You with Your Case

If you or someone you care about is involved in a car accident, contact Burch, George & Germany, P.C. today. Our experienced Oklahoma car accident attorneys provide aggressive legal representation to assist you in filing a claim, and can assist you in getting the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries. With offices in Oklahoma City, we can help; call or contact us online today for a free consultation.

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