In Oklahoma, if a person is determined to be liable for an accident in which you are injured, the responsible party has an obligation to compensate you for damages you suffer. The more evident liability is in a personal injury case, the less time it will take to settle your case and the more likely your case will be settled without having to go to court. Furthermore, if a defendant is clearly liable for your injuries, the larger your settlement amount will be. Understanding how liability is determined in an Oklahoma personal injury case could help you determine who is responsible to compensate you for your injuries.
The concept of liability in a personal injury case is based on the principle of causation – did the defendant’s negligence cause the plaintiff’s injuries? If so, then the defendant will be obliged to compensate the plaintiff. Causation, however, can be difficult to determine. Your injuries may have been caused by a chain of events, each contributing to your injuries in some way. So, there may be different degrees of liability in your personal injury case, and two or more individual defendants may share responsibility. In fact, the extent of your own liability is an important factor in Oklahoma personal injury law as well. Under the theory of Comparative Fault – 50% Bar, you will be barred from receiving any compensation from others if your own negligence contributed to your injuries by 50% or more.
How liability is determined
In some instances, liability is fairly easy to determine in a personal injury case; but in others, it can be extremely complicated. To assist personal injury lawyers and the courts in determining liability, the Oklahoma legal system has developed a number of different ways to test for liability in a personal injury case. Here are some examples:
- Auto Accident: A negligent driver can be held liable for injuries and losses incurred by other drivers, pedestrians and by the driver’s own passengers, if liability is proven by the issuance of a traffic ticket, eyewitnesses, and photo evidence.
- Medical Malpractice: A doctor can be held liable for a patient’s injuries if found to be negligent in providing care to the patient by evidence which proves that the level of care received was substandard.
- Premises Liability: If you slip and fall on someone else’s property because he or she failed to make safe any hazardous condition or to warn you of the danger that existed, the property owner can be held liable for any injuries you sustain. However, you also have an obligation to behave in a responsible manner while visiting another person’s property. If it is determined that your own negligence is at least 50% responsible for the injuries you suffered, you will be barred from receiving any compensation for your injuries.
- Product Liability: If you are injured due to a product’s manufacturing defect, a flaw in its design or because you were not properly warned of the dangers of its use, the manufacturer can be held liable to compensate you for your injuries. In addition, anyone else in the product’s line of distribution may be held liable, even if they did not behave negligently.
In conclusion, a sound understanding of what liability is in Oklahoma personal injury law will help you recognize it in your own personal injury case. This is the first and most important step in receiving the compensation you deserve. For help in pursuing compensation from those responsible for the injuries you have suffered, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.
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