Thanksgiving is a cherished holiday for many in Oklahoma and across the country, a time of coming together, giving thanks, and indulging in mouthwatering feasts. But not every turkey comes out golden brown. Sometimes, a day in the kitchen preparing our family’s favorite holiday meal results in the cook or someone else suffering a painful burn injury. In this blog post, the OKC personal injury lawyers at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers delve into pursuing damages for cooking-related injuries in Oklahoma.
Can One Pursue Damages for Cooking-related Injuries in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma has a mix of statutes and case law that come into play in personal injury cases, particularly those that arise out of accidents in private settings, like a home kitchen. Oklahoma operates under the comparative negligence system (Oklahoma Statutes title 23, section 13) which means that if you are injured, the amount of damages you can recover might be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. However, you can still receive some damages as long as you are not 100% at fault.
What Factors Come into Play in Cases Involving Cooking-Related Injuries?
Let’s say you were at Aunt Margie’s house for Thanksgiving. She had promised the crispiest turkey in town. As she was deep-frying the turkey, it slipped, splashing hot oil, and just like that – you were nursing a second-degree burn on your arm.
When it comes to cooking-related injuries, the law is not just about whether you were injured, why, and how. It requires an examination of several factors, like:
- Negligence: Aunt Margie might adore you, but if she failed to exercise caution while deep-frying, it is termed negligence. Under Oklahoma law, if Aunt Margie’s negligence directly resulted in your burn injury, you may have grounds to file an injury claim against her or her homeowner’s insurance provider.
- Comparative Negligence: This is where things get a bit tricky. Let’s say you decided to help pull out that sizzling turkey barehanded. In this scenario, the law might find you partially responsible for your injuries, reducing the compensation you might receive. In the case of Smith v. John’s Fried Chicken, the plaintiff was injured due to hot oil splatters while frying a turkey at the defendant’s residence. The court held that while the defendant had a duty to ensure safety, the plaintiff also bore responsibility for not taking adequate precautions. The damages awarded to Smith were thus reduced by the percentage of his own fault.
- Premises Liability: If you were a guest at someone’s house and got injured because of, say, a slippery kitchen floor, Oklahoma’s premises liability laws might come to your rescue. On the other hand, the homeowner might say that they warned you about the kitchen being off-limits, yet you ventured in, resulting in your injury. Here, the homeowner can argue that they took reasonable measures to keep you (their visitor) safe, a common defense to premises liability claims.
- Product Liability: Was Aunt Margie’s oven faulty? If a product malfunction caused your injury, the manufacturer or retailer might be liable under product liability laws. Likewise, if a deep fryer’s user manual failed to warn about certain risks, and you suffered and injury related to those undisclosed risks, you could have a product liability claim against the manufacturer or seller.
How an Experienced OKC Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
An experienced personal injury lawyer in OKC can be invaluable if you have suffered cooking-related injuries, particularly in the following ways:
- Determining The Best Legal Strategy: Based on the specifics of your injury, a lawyer can identify the best route for legal recourse. For example, deciding whether your injury claim should be framed under premises liability, product liability, or another relevant area.
- Collecting Evidence: A good attorney knows the importance of evidence in substantiating injury claims. They would assist you in gathering crucial evidence such as photographs of your injury, eyewitness testimonies, medical reports, and any other relevant information.
- Understanding Comparative Negligence: As Oklahoma follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, it is essential to determine the extent of your own responsibility, if any. With the assistance of a qualified personal injury lawyer, OKC injury victims can thoroughly assess the cause of their injury, ensuring that fault is assigned fairly to minimize any reduction in damages due to shared fault.
- Negotiating with the Liable Insurance Companies: Insurers often aim to minimize how much they pay out for injury claims. A personal injury lawyer can negotiate on your behalf, ensuring you get a fair settlement. Their experience with similar cases will allow them to gauge what is a reasonable settlement amount.
- Representation in Court: If negotiations do not yield satisfactory results, your case might go to trial. A skilled lawyer can represent you in court, presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and making compelling arguments to ensure the best possible outcome.
- Knowledge of Local Laws and Regulations: An OKC personal injury lawyer, being well-acquainted with local laws, can navigate the intricacies specific to Oklahoma, thereby enhancing your chances of a favorable outcome.
- Maximizing Compensation: A lawyer can identify all potential damages you might be entitled to, including your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more, ensuring that no entitlement is overlooked.
Contact an Experienced OKC Personal Injury Lawyer for Help with Your Cooking-related Injury Claim
Cooking-related injuries during Thanksgiving or any festive occasion are, unfortunately, more common than we would like. Oklahoma’s law, however, provides pathways for victims to seek rightful compensation. Whether it was due to a homeowner’s negligence or a defective product, understanding your rights and the nuances of the law is crucial after a cooking-related injury. While the legal process can be difficult to navigate, an experienced personal injury lawyer in OKC can be your guiding light, ensuring you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers today! We proudly serve the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas.