If you’ve been in a car accident recently and are seeking compensation, you may have heard scary terms like “no fault” and “serious injury threshold.” These terms apply to certain states where when people are involved in an auto accident, they file claims against their own insurance company rather than against the insurance of the guilty party.
What is important to understand is what differentiates fault and no-fault states, and whether these scary-sounding terms affect you. Learn about the serious injury threshold, how it affects no-fault accidents, and how an Oklahoma car accident lawyer can make the difference in your case.
The Serious Injury Threshold
The “serious injury” threshold refers to the level at which someone in a no-fault state can step outside of the no-fault system and file a personal injury lawsuit. Essentially, this threshold, which varies by each individual state, allows you to sue for things like pain and suffering and emotional damages that you normally wouldn’t be able to get.
In Florida, for example, the threshold is $10,000, and the threshold requires you to have significant or permanent body function loss, permanent injury that results in disability, disfigurement and scarring, or death. In New York, the threshold is $50,000, and has similar requirements to Florida.
Why You Don’t Need to Worry
These terms, scary as they sound, aren’t a major issue for people in Oklahoma. Our state is not a no-fault state, so there’s no serious injury threshold. Rather, Oklahoma is what is known as a “shared fault” state. This means that fault does come into play in a car accident, and you’ll file a claim against the other person’s insurance company.
However, the degree of fault is important in determining how much compensation you can get. The courts recognize that in many cases, both drivers can share fault, and the amount you are determined to be at fault can reduce the compensation you’ll receive.
For example, let’s say you’re in an accident where the damages are deemed to be worth $75,000. If the court finds that you are 30% responsible for the accident, the amount that you can collect is reduced by that number. Thus, you’d only be eligible to gain $52,500. If the fault you share is at least 50% in Oklahoma, you won’t be able to collect any damages at all.
Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
When you’re hurt in an auto accident in Oklahoma, it can be tricky to collect the damages you deserve. Insurance companies will do all they can to avoid paying out, from trying to bully you into signing off on low-ball offers, to looking for reasons to shift blame onto you rather than onto their client. In these cases, your best bet to get maximum compensation is to hire a qualified car accident lawyer to cover your case.
The Oklahoma City auto accident attorneys at Parrish DeVaughn care deeply about our clients and believe that you deserve compensation for what’s happened to you. We also have the experience and knowledge to help pursue your case. For a free discussion and consultation, get in touch with us today!