Car crashes are all too common, and they create plenty of fallout for victims: emergency treatment, follow-up appointments, calls from insurance companies, getting the car repaired or finding a new one. If you’ve been injured, some time may have passed before you even started thinking about filing a lawsuit and trying to get compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
That’s understandable, but it’s also important for you to know that the clock is ticking on your case. Every day you wait to contact an attorney counts against you. In this article, we’ll explain Oklahoma’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases and discuss why it’s important to get help from a lawyer as soon as possible after a crash.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Case in Oklahoma?
The statute of limitations is the law that says how long you have to file a lawsuit related to a particular incident. The term “statute of limitations” can be confusing, since people use it to refer to both the law itself and the time period that the law establishes for legal cases.
Each state sets its own statutes of limitations for different types of cases. When it comes to car crashes and other personal injury claims, Oklahoma has a two-year statute of limitations. This means that if you suffer injuries in a car wreck, you have exactly two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit against the driver who injured you and their insurance company. After those two years pass, you’ll have no legal options to get compensation for your injuries.
It’s important to note that when someone dies as a result of a car accident, either immediately or later from their injuries, the case becomes a wrongful death case. Many states have different statutes of limitation for personal injury and wrongful death claims, but in Oklahoma, they’re the same — two years. However, for a wrongful death case, the statute of limitations starts counting down on the day the person dies instead of the day they were injured.
Why It’s Important to File Your Injury Claims Promptly
Two years may sound like a lot of time, but filing a lawsuit takes time and preparation. Your attorney will need to talk with you at length about what happened and conduct a detailed investigation of your insurance coverage, the circumstances surrounding the wreck, and more. They’ll need to review police reports, insurance claims, medical records, and other paperwork related to the crash. They will also need time to track down any witnesses who can verify your story and establish the other driver’s negligence.
This process requires hours upon hours of work, and all of it has to happen before the lawsuit even gets filed. You should never expect that you’ll be able to walk into an attorney’s office the day or even the week before the statute of limitations expires and convince them to file a hasty lawsuit.
Even if the statute of limitations weren’t a factor, it would still be important to get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible after a car wreck. The other driver’s insurance company will start investigating the crash and preparing their defense against any liability claims right away, and you need to let your attorney do the same so they can level the playing field.
Often, important evidence that can prove your case — the vehicles involved, photos of the scene, statements from witnesses, detailed records of medical treatment — becomes harder to gather as time goes on. By getting in touch with a lawyer right away, you can make sure that your attorney has a chance to build the strongest possible case on your behalf.
Contact Atkins & Markoff for Help if You’ve Been Injured by a Negligent Driver in Oklahoma
If you have been seriously injured or even lost a loved one in a car crash or other motor vehicle accident, contact Atkins & Markoff today by calling 405-607-8757 or filling out our quick and simple online contact form. We’ll get back to you right away. Your initial consultation is free, and we handle all personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis, which means you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we get you a settlement or win your case in court. Don’t wait — contact us today.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.