If you were recently involved in an auto accident or other injury and are planning on filing a claim against the at-fault party, there’s a good chance that they think YOU’RE the at-fault party. That can happen regardless of what the accident report and other evidence says. But because Oklahoma is a modified comparative negligence state, injured victims can only file compensation claims if they’re less than 51% at fault for an accident.
However, that opens the door for parties who are being sued to file counterclaims when fault is split 50/50, or if they and their lawyers believe that they have evidence that can tip the scales in their favor. Although counterclaims are rare after accidents and injuries, they can and do happen, especially when liability is split or weakly established due to lack of evidence.
Taking the Right Steps After an Accident Protects You from a Countersuit
First, it’s important to do everything in your power to protect yourself from the possibility of a countersuit. Thankfully, those steps are straightforward and are the same steps ALL accident victims should follow, and they include:
- Calling 911 or reporting your injury—Whether you were injured in a car accident or on public or private property, it’s important to report the injury right away. This helps establish when and where your injury occurred and who might be responsible.
- Getting medical treatment—When you get treated by a doctor right away after an injury, it helps further establish that your injuries were caused by the other party’s negligence, or that they’re at least connected to the accident itself.
- Preserving evidence—If you’re able to do so, getting evidence after your injury can bolster your claim and make it less likely that the other party can successfully countersue. That means taking pictures after a crash and getting contact information from any witnesses who saw your accident.
- Contacting a lawyer—When our lawyers take on personal injury claims, we make sure that potential claimants are less than 51% at fault so that they’re eligible for compensation to begin with. That means reviewing all evidence, including accident reports. Once we’ve established that you’re eligible to pursue compensation, you’ll know that there’s plenty of evidence on your side and not the other party’s side.
If You Have a Valid Claim, a Countersuit Is Unlikely to Succeed
Many law firms won’t even accept claims that are doomed to fail, and that includes frivolous countersuits. If a driver is assigned 90% fault for a crash and there’s plenty of evidence to back that up, his chances of succeeding when filing a countersuit, especially in Oklahoma, are virtually nil. Even if he finds a law firm willing to help, he won’t get very far!
In addition, just having a lawyer on your side can be sufficient to dissuade an at-fault party from trying to countersue you, because they and any lawyers they contact will be much less likely to move forward knowing that you have legal representation.
Don’t Let the Possibility of a Countersuit Dissuade You from Getting Compensation
Even when at-fault parties are adamant that they didn’t cause victims’ injuries, they still have to face facts and reality, especially when official accident reports have been filed and plenty of evidence has stacked up against them. Because of that, you should never let the possibility of a countersuit dissuade you from pursuing the money you’re owed.
At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, it’s our job to protect the rights of injured victims like you. Whether we’re pushing back against the insurance company or at-fault parties who refuse to admit liability, we’ll do everything we can to help you get full compensation. Contact our Oklahoma personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation.