11 Step Process of an Oklahoma Personal Injury Auto Accident Case
Car accidents are never something any plans on. In an instance, your life can be turned upside down after an auto accident. In some minor car accident or motorcycle accident cases only property damage is at issue and can often be solved by using your car insurance company’s assistance. However, in an injury car accident, motorcycle accident, or commercial truck accident, you will need to initiate a personal injury claim or even lawsuit is some instances and will need the assistance of an experienced Oklahoma auto accident attorney.
This page and other pages of our website provide guidance on the steps to take, if you want to handle your Oklahoma personal injury auto accident case on your own; however, it is in your best interest to retain an experienced Oklahoma car accident lawyer to help you navigate the complex process of seeking compensation for your injuries. The Fierce Advocates at Cannon & Associates are ready to answer your questions and help you prepare for the Oklahoma personal injury claim process, if you have been involved in a car accident.
Step One: Initial Auto Accident Investigation
Your first priority at the scene of your Oklahoma auto accident should be your safety and the safety of the other drivers. After being involved in an auto accident you should ensure you receive medical care. However, if it is safe for you to do so, you should take photograph of the auto accident or motorcycle accident scene, the damage to you vehicle, the other vehicle’s damage, the scene of your auto accident. Additionally, if it is safe you should move your vehicle or motorcycle out of traffic.
It is very important to contact police and have an accident report created after your auto accident or motorcycle accident. An automobile collision report drafted by police after your Oklahoma motor accident will document the parties to your auto accident, the insurance information for all vehicle involved in your accident, accident witness information, a fault determine, if made by the officer after your accident, and other important information for handling your car accident or motorcycle accident claim.
It is also a good idea to document the location of your auto accident and any surrounding businesses with surveillance cameras or traffic cameras that may have video of your car accident or motorcycle accident. A proper initial investigation after your auto accident will help you or your Oklahoma accident attorney move your insurance injury claim along smoothly.
Step Two: Treatment for Injuries
Even if you do not feel that you were injured immediately following your auto accident, it is important to seek medical treatment and be properly evaluated for injuries. When you see your doctor after your auto accident, make sure you tell your doctor about all your pain and soreness. It is important you give the doctor an honest opinion of your pain and soreness after an auto accident. Your doctor cannot diagnosis your injuries after an auto accident, unless they know all the pain you are experiencing. In many cases, you will need to see a specialist, such as an orthopedist, a chiropractor, or physical therapist. These specialists will use advanced techniques to identify and treat all of your injuries after an auto accident. Additionally, specialists that deal with auto accident victims on a regular basis will access to advanced imaging and/or scans to see your injuries beyond what an x-ray is capable of identifying.
Next, you must follow through with your treatment providers recommendations after an auto accident or motorcycle accident. Insurance companies try to deflect your pain and injuries away from your auto accident, if there are gaps in your treatment history. Additionally, insurance companies may claim your injuries have healed or are not that serious, if you have gaps in your treatment after being injured in an auto accident. This step of the process should continue until you are advised you no longer need treatment by all of your treatment providers, including your orthopedist, chiropractor, primary care physician, and/or physical therapist, depending upon what treatment you are receiving. The most important thing in any personal injury case is healing, which you won’t do unless you follow through with treatment after your auto accident.
Step Three: File Claim with Your Insurance Company
You are required to notify your insurance company after you are in an car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or any accident in a vehicle insured by the insurance company. Usually, your insurance company is best suited to get your vehicle fixed or help you receive total loss value after an auto accident. Even if the auto accident was not your fault and another driver was the at-fault driver, your insurance company can assist you in getting repairs made to your vehicle after a collision or wreck. Your insurance company is capable of and will seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company, if they were the at-fault driver.
Beware, after your auto accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will contact you. They will likely record the conversation, so they can use it against you later, if necessary and will request a written or recorded statement from you about the auto accident. You should not provide the at-fault driver’s insurance company a statement. The at-fault insurance company is running a for profit business and they benefit by getting your acceptance of a small offer as soon as possible to settle all claims following your auto accident.
Any experienced Oklahoma auto accident attorney will tell you do not accept a quick reward. In many cases, you do not even know the full extent of your damages at the time the at-fault insurance company contacts you after an auto accident. Your injuries and damages from your auto accident could last for months and you should not release the at-fault company too soon. Before speaking to the at-fault driver’s auto accident insurance company, you should consult with an experienced Oklahoma auto accident lawyer, which leads to the next step.
Step Four: Consult with Oklahoma Car Accident Attorney
The Fierce Advocates at Cannon & Associates are dedicated to fighting for victims of other driver’s negligence and want you to understand the process and know what you are facing whether we work together on your auto accident claim or not. We would be glad to meet with you for a confidential case evaluation to discuss your options and the steps you will likely face in your Oklahoma auto accident claim. Hiring a Fierce Advocate and Oklahoma car accident attorney that is familiar with personal injury case law, procedure, and strategy will greatly benefit your claim for damages and prepare you for litigation, if you must file a auto accident lawsuit.
Our Oklahoma car accident attorneys and motorcycle accident attorneys will help protect you from being taken advantage of by insurance companies and insurance adjusters. Our auto accident lawyers will protect you from insurance adjuster phone calls, conduct an investigation into your auto accident, and be your Fierce Advocate against low ball settlement offers from the insurance company.
Our injury lawyers will not take any upfront fee from you for our Fierce Advocacy. We are only paid, if we help you recover damages in a settlement or verdict in your Oklahoma auto injury claim. We are dedicated to helping clients and keeping you informed every step of the process.
Step Five: Liability and Medical Investigation
Once you have retained Cannon & Associates, our Fierce Advocates and Oklahoma car accident lawyers will investigate your auto accident and stay in contact with you concerning any development and the progress of your medical treatment. As your medical treatment continues our team will order your medical bills and medical records for your car accident or motorcycle accident case. Once all of your treatment needs have been identified and in some cases before your injury treatment is completed, our injury lawyers will submit the information to your insurance company.
In many cases following a serious injury auto accident, the injuries our clients suffer do not go away in time to submit final records to the insurance company. Whenever a doctor or treatment provider identified long term pain, we will contact your treatment provider or doctor and get a report to submit with your treatment records to the instance company. The treatment process in typically the longest step in personal injury auto accident claim process. It is important to not settle your personal injury claims against the insurance company without identifying all of your injuries and pain.
Step Six: Settlement Demand
Our Oklahoma personal injury auto accident attorneys will compile all the information to support your demand for settlement against the insurance company. Our Oklahoma auto accident lawyers will build your story and demand for damages to compensate for your economic damages and noneconomic damages, i.e. pain and suffering and emotional distress.
In even the most contentious personal injury accident cases, a well-supported and well drafted demand letter will force the insurance company to settle your injury and property claims for fair compensation or they will be subject to defend your personal injury auto accident lawsuit.
Step Seven: Accident Case Settles or Personal Injury Lawsuit
Once a final offer is made by the insurance adjuster for your auto accident claim, it is your decision to accept the offer and settle your auto accident claim or file a personal injury auto accident lawsuit. Most people do not want to file lawsuits; however, if the insurance company refused to provide you fair and reasonable compensation for your economic and noneconomic damages, then a personal injury auto accident lawsuit may be your only option.
Auto insurance adjusters and insurance companies sometimes take advantage of the fact that most people do not want to file a lawsuit and they know you may be willing to settle your injury claims for less than fair compensation to avoid litigation. Our Fierce Advocates and experienced Oklahoma personal injury lawyers will provide you guidance on whether the offer from the insurance company is reasonable and worth considering. Your decision to continue with your personal injury auto accident claim does not mean you cannot reach a fair settlement at a later date with the insurance company’s defense lawyers.
However, our Oklahoma auto accident lawyers will be with you every step of the way. Remember, whether you work with our auto accident lawyers or another Oklahoma personal injury lawyer, you decide whether or not you accept any offer. It is your decision alone whether or not you want to accept a personal injury settlement offer from the insurance adjuster, not your auto accident attorney.
Step Eight: Personal Injury Lawsuit Discovery
If your auto accident injury claim is not settled out of court, then your Oklahoma auto accident attorney will prepare and file an injury lawsuit on your behalf. Once your personal injury lawsuit is filed, the case will move to the discovery phase. During discovery in your Oklahoma auto accident lawsuit, our Oklahoma auto accident lawyers will obtain information from the insurance defense lawyers. The Oklahoma personal injury lawsuit discovery process allows for the following:
- Interrogatories: interrogatories are written questions your auto accident attorney will prepare and show you for your approval and send to the insurance defense attorneys for the defendant. The defense in your auto accident lawsuit is required to answer the interrogatories under oath and send your auto accident attorney responses within 30 days.
- Requests for Production: requests for production are the tool to gather discovery, photographs, insurance policies, and other information from the defense to prosecute your Oklahoma personal injury auto accident lawsuit. Again, the defense must produce or provide you the requested evidence within 30 days and state under oath that it is complete.
- Requests for Admissions: requests for admissions are the tool to seek specific fact admissions from the defense in your auto accident personal injury lawsuit.
In addition to these discovery tools, your Oklahoma auto accident attorney can and should conduct depositions of the defendant and other key witnesses in your case. Additionally, the insurance defense attorneys in your personal injury case will likely want to depose you during the discovery phase of your case. In a deposition the attorney calling the deposition gets to ask questions of the party being deposed and every answer is recorded and under oath. The deposition can expose and protect information to build your personal injury case that can protect your case from summary judgement, build your case for trial, or support a settlement in your favor.
Step Nine: Auto Accident Defense Medical Exam
In Oklahoma, the defendant in a personal injury case is entitled to a Defense Medical Exam or Independent Medical Exam (“IME”). The defendant in a personal injury case may require the plaintiff to be examined by their own doctor. The Independent Medical Exam may not subject you to painful, prolonged, or intrusive procedures or medical test; however, they are entitled to conduct a thorough examination.
Defendants or the insurance defense attorneys in a personal injury case will often requests an IME that is intended to independently determine, if an injury exists that is related to the auto accident or the cause of action in your personal injury lawsuit. However, these examinations are sometimes not “independent” and are merely a tool for the defense to try and identify alternate causes of your injury or deny that you are in fact injured.
It is important to speak to your Oklahoma personal injury attorney in depth before participating in an Independent Medical Exam. In some cases, including cases with multiple types of injuries or multiple claims the defendant may be able to obtain the requirement that a personal injury auto accident victim participate in more than one examination by different specialists. These doctors will often provide statements or testify against you in your personal injury case. It is important to know what you are up against before participating in a defense medical exam.
Step Ten: Auto Accident Mediation
Once the discovery process is completed in your personal injury lawsuit, the Court will likely require you and the defense to go to mediation in your Oklahoma auto accident lawsuit prior to trial. In mediation, your Oklahoma accident attorney will present your story, your injuries, and your best case for judgment at trial, if your auto accident lawsuit proceeds. Alternatively, the insurance defense attorneys will present the evidence that reduces your claim for damages, muddies the water on the fault determination, and other defense tactics to attack your personal injury auto accident claim.
Typically, during a personal injury car accident mediation, any mediation in a lawsuit for that matter, consists of the parties meeting with the mediator separately. The mediator will meet with you and your Oklahoma auto accident lawyer then separately the mediator will meet with the insurance defense attorneys and the defendant. The mediator’s goal is to meet with both parties until an agreement is reached; however, the mediator cannot force you to enter into an agreement. However, many personal injury auto accident cases are settled at mediation.
In some instances, binding or non-binding arbitration is ordered by the Court to try and resolve your Oklahoma auto accident injury lawsuit. In arbitration, both parties present their case in a mini-trial. The arbitrator will present a decision and in binding arbitration the parties are bound to the decision of the arbitrator.
Step Eleven: Auto Accident Jury Trial
Your Oklahoma personal injury lawsuit will proceed toward trial, if you are unsatisfied with the settlement offer at the conclusion of mediation. At trial, you and your Oklahoma personal injury lawyer will have the burden of proving to the jury that the other party was negligent and their negligence caused your accident and your resulting injuries. In order for you and your Oklahoma auto accident attorney to prove negligence you must show the following:
- The defendant, other driver, failure to use ordinary care; and
- The failure to use ordinary care caused your injuries.
If the jury in your Oklahoma personal injury auto accident trial determines that the defendant was at fault for your accident and caused your injuries, then your Oklahoma auto accident lawyer must show the jury how much money you should receive in damages for economic and noneconomic damages.
After all the evidence is presented and your personal injury lawyer and the defense make argument to the jury, in your personal injury auto accident jury trial, the jury will deliberate and complete a verdict form.
In Oklahoma, as long as you are not more at fault for the accident than the defendant, you will win the lawsuit and recover damages. If the jury believes you contributed to causing the accident or were contributorily negligent, your damage award would be reduced. You can recover after the jury decides the verdict in your personal injury lawsuit.
Conclusion: Personal Injury Auto Accident Process
Your actions immediately after an auto accident or commercial truck accident will greatly impact your chances of receiving maximum compensation for your injuries, economic damages, and noneconomic damages. Additionally, being proactive in getting medical care, following through on your treatment, and retaining an experienced personal injury auto accident attorney will help you protect your claim and compensation for damages that will likely change your life.
How to help your Auto Accident Injury Claim?
This brief synopsis is only a snapshot of the process for handling a personal injury auto accident claim and / or lawsuit. We hope this introduction is a useful guide in your process of seeking fair compensation for your injuries and the other damage caused in your auto accident. It is important to seek the assistance of an experienced Oklahoma car accident attorney or motorcycle accident attorney, if you or a loved one were involved in a automobile accident.
Contact – Cannon & Associates: Oklahoma Auto Accident Lawyers
Experience matters when you or a loved one has been injured or died as a result of the negligence of someone in an auto accident in Oklahoma. It is important to know the Oklahoma auto accident attorney you hire is dedicated to your cause and versed in all aspects of auto accident law, personal injury procedure, and personal injury law in Oklahoma. Cannon & Associates is dedicated to Fierce Advocacy for personal injury auto accident victims and will fight for you. Founder John Cannon has been recognized as a Super Lawyer and National Trial Lawyer Top 40 under 40 attorney. Contact Cannon & Associates to protect your rights and fight to receive the compensation you need and deserve in your personal injury auto accident case in Oklahoma. Complete the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-657-2323 for a free confidential case evaluation.