If a car accident occurs in a state that has comparative negligence laws in place, the responsibility of each party is evaluated, and fault is determined based on each person’s role in the collision.
Oklahoma is a comparative negligence state. So, damages for accidents that occur in the state are decided on a case-by-case basis. The specific actions of each party will directly affect the compensation they receive for their injuries, and it is entirely possible that no single person will be deemed responsible for the accident.
For example, if one person is speeding, but the other driver did not use their turn signal when merging into their lane, resulting in a collision, there is some level of fault for both parties. Damages would be reduced for each driver, generally based on a calculation of their “percentage” of fault in the case. An injured person can possibly, under comparative negligence laws, even have their compensation reduced if they have been found responsible for their own injuries, regardless of the other party’s role in the accident. Most states determine fault and the resulting damages in an accident based on comparative negligence principles.
Oklahoma specifically has modified comparative fault laws, which follow a “50 percent rule.” The law states, “negligence resulting in personal injuries or wrongful death, or injury to property, contributory negligence shall not bar a recovery, unless any negligence of the person so injured, damaged or killed, is of greater degree than any negligence of the person, firm or corporation causing such damage,” and vice versa. Any one party that is deemed to be over halfway responsible for the accident in question, and their own injuries, may not receive any damages.
What is Contributory Negligence?
The alternative to comparative negligence is contributory negligence. Only Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Maryland use the contributory negligence system of determining damages following an accident. In these states, any level of fault can be considered a reason to deny damages.
If you have any questions about comparative negligence and how these laws relate to your specific car accident case, contact Aizenman Law Group online or call (918) 215-8856. We offer free consultations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!