If you are suffering the consequences of an injury that resulted from another person's negligence, you might have questions about your rights to seek financial relief for the losses you sustained. You may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit in an Oklahoma civil court. Regardless of whether it was a car crash, slip-and-fall or another type of accident, if you can establish negligence, you have a good chance of recovering compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages aim to make you whole again. After receiving compensation, your situation should be similar to before the incident. When documenting your damages for adjudication by the court, you can include more than economic losses.
Do you understand the terms?
Before proceeding with a lawsuit, you may benefit from learning a bit more about what defines negligence and damages. Legal counsel can explain the following in more detail:
- Negligence: For example, an operator of another vehicle has a duty to you, such as remaining in his or her traffic lane. If the driver crosses over the center line, he or she breaches that duty and the resulting collision causes you injury. The term for that is causation, and you now have damages to recover.
- Damages: This comprises two categories — economic and non-economic damages. Economic losses typically include your out-of-pocket financial expenses, and non-economic damages include those that are less quantifiable, like pain and suffering.
Examples of damages that you might claim
Every case is unique, but certain damages are par for the course. Using an example of a broken leg suffered in an accident, you could seek reimbursement for any or all of the following compensatory damages — with bills or other documented proof:
- Medical expenses: Bills from doctors, hospitals, physical therapists and others who treated you. Along with current expenses, you may claim past and future losses — as long as they relate to your injury.
- Lost income: With your leg in a cast, you may not be able to work, and you can claim lost earnings.
- Home care: You may also include the costs of home care if you needed a nurse during your recuperation.
- Other expenses: If you had to pay for a housekeeper or a dog walker while you were incapacitated, those costs might be recoverable.
- Non-economic damages: These typically include past and future emotional damages, such as pain and suffering, embarrassment, humiliation, disfigurement, inconvenience, anxiety and loss of life enjoyment. If you were to pursue a claim for a case in which a loved one died or suffered severe injuries, you could add the loss of consortium, love, affection and companionship to your documented claims. The court will determine the appropriateness of non-economic damages — typically based on the nature and type of your injuries.
Resources available to you
Navigating a personal injury claim can be challenging. An experienced Oklahoma attorney can assist with establishing negligence and putting monetary values to your claims. Furthermore, he or she can explain any caps that the state may place on non-economic damages while making sure you do not exceed the statute of limitations.