If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in Tulsa, finding an experienced car accident lawyer is crucial. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options, deal with insurance companies, prove liability, and fight for maximum compensation for your injuries, vehicle damage, lost income, and other losses.
This comprehensive guide explains what an attorney can do for you after a Tulsa car accident, what questions to ask when selecting a lawyer, and tips for choosing the best auto accident attorney to handle your specific case.
Why Hire a Car Accident Lawyer Tulsa?
Trying to handle a car accident insurance claim on your own can be extremely challenging, especially against experienced insurance company legal teams looking to minimize payouts. Skilled lawyers level the playing field and help accident victims in several key ways:
Prove Liability and Negligence
Injured victims typically must prove the other driver’s negligence directly led to the crash in order to claim damages. Experienced attorneys use evidence like police reports, skid mark analysis, crash reconstruction, and witness testimony to build a compelling negligence case on your behalf.
Handle Negotiations Expertly
Car accident lawyers are seasoned negotiators who know all the tactics insurers use to try to lowball injury settlement offers. They fight for fair compensation through proven negotiation strategies.
File Claims Properly
There are strict procedures and deadlines when filing insurance claims after an accident. Lawyers ensure paperwork is complete and deadlines are met, so your claim is not denied on a technicality.
Calculate Full Compensation Amounts
Your lawyer will thoroughly document every accident-related loss down to the penny, including medical bills, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and other costs. Maximum settlement amounts depend on presenting a complete and compelling damages case.
Take to Trial If Needed
While most accident cases settle out of court, an attorney experienced litigating personal injury cases before Tulsa judges and juries will not hesitate to take your case to trial if the insurer refuses a fair settlement.
Questions to Ask When Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer Tulsa
Not all lawyers possess the same litigation skills, credentials, and track record. Asking key questions during your initial consultation can help determine if a prospective attorney is the best fit:
How Many Years Have You Practiced Car Accident Law?
Look for extensive specific experience handling auto accident claims in Tulsa. Lawyers who dedicate their entire practice to car wreck cases will be most knowledgeable.
What Settlement Results Have You Secured for Past Clients?
Review their settlement records. High settlement amounts achieved for clients demonstrates their ability to maximize case value through competent negotiations.
What is Your Case Acceptance Rate?
Top attorneys are selective and do not accept every case. A high rejection rate indicates they cherry pick the strongest cases with the highest payout potential.
Are You Willing to Take My Case to Trial if Needed?
Ideally your lawyer should have substantial experience litigating and winning injury lawsuits in front of Tulsa judges and juries if settlements talks reach an impasse.
How Responsive is Your Communication Style?
The right attorney will be direct and prompt returning calls, emails, and texts to update clients regularly through each phase of the legal process.
What Lawyer Fees or Costs Should I Expect?
Most car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, collecting around 30% of your final settlement amount. Beware of any lawyers asking for retainers or upfront costs.
Who Handled My Case if You are Unavailable?
Understand who supports the lead attorney on your case in their office. Ensure other firm attorneys are highly qualified.
Asking the right questions helps vet attorney qualifications and experience levels to match your particular accident case needs.
Tips for Selecting the Best Auto Accident Attorney in Tulsa
Follow these tips when researching options and choosing a car accident lawyer in Tulsa:
- Gather recommendations from past clients and trusted local professionals like doctors. Online reviews can also offer insights.
- Look for lawyers who devote their full practice to car accident and personal injury law, rather than generalists. Niche focus improves expertise.
- Prioritize attorneys with a proven record of securing large settlements and verdicts for past auto accident clients.
- Select Tulsa-based lawyers intimately familiar with local claims practices, judges, and insurance company tactics.
- Opt for an attorney with substantial trial experience, should your claim need to go before a jury.
- Align required experience levels with your case complexity. Major crashes need seasoned litigators used to high value cases. Minor accidents require less.
- Meet with the attorney personally to evaluate their responsiveness and whether you can easily communicate. Ensure they priorities your case.
- Understand fee structures upfront. Most work on contingencies charging around 30% of final settlements, not hourly bills.
- Select a law firm with ample staffing resources so your case gets full attention. Avoid solo lawyers who may be overburdened.
Conducting due diligence allows you to make an informed hiring decision after a Tulsa car accident. Finding the right legal partner can make a major difference in ultimately recovering fair compensation.
Act Quickly to Document the Accident Scene and Contact Witnesses
To build the strongest injury claim or lawsuit after a Tulsa car crash, it is critical to gather accident documentation and contact witnesses right away before evidence disappears. Steps to take include:
- If possible, safely photograph damage to all vehicles, debris, skid marks, and the overall accident scene from multiple angles. These images can prove vital later establishing how the crash occurred.
- Obtain names, phone numbers, and addresses of any witnesses while memories are fresh. Recording eyewitness accounts will strengthen your case.
- Write down or voice record your own clear recollection of how the accident happened step-by-step while fresh in your mind. Memories fade fast.
- Ask police to create a detailed official accident report citing factors like weather, road conditions, speed, traffic controls, and which party was cited.
- Move vehicles only once photos are taken. Contact your insurance company immediately to start the claim process. Report the accident to the DMV.
Your lawyer can use early documentary evidence to piece together how the crash happened and build a compelling negligence argument demonstrating the other driver’s fault. Do not wait weeks to gather info and contact witnesses after the fact when evidence will be lost.
Why Hiring a Tulsa Attorney is Important After a Car Accident
Some accident victims think they can handle an injury claim on their own and avoid legal fees by not hiring an attorney. But skilled car accident lawyers are essential to protect your rights in several key ways:
Assess Accident Fault – Lawyers undertake detailed independent crash investigations beyond police reports to pinpoint causes and conclusively prove fault. Making an air tight negligence case requires legal expertise accident victims lack.
Handle Negotiations – Adjusters exploit victims’ lack of legal knowledge to lowball settlement offers. Lawyers are experienced negotiators who level the playing field.
Navigate Legal Complexity – Local lawyers know how to abide all legal processes, rules and court deadlines when filing insurance claims or lawsuits after crashes. Mistakes by non-lawyers can invalidate otherwise strong cases.
Properly Document Losses– Attorneys meticulously account for and place dollar figures on every accident related medical expense, property damage, lost income, and other costs down to the penny. Maximal documentation equals bigger settlements.
Obtain Experts– Lawyers utilize networks of respected expert witnesses like accident reconstructionists and physicians to bolster cases. Medical experts prove injuries resulted specifically from the crash.
Take to Trial– While most claims settle out of court, lawyers are fully prepared to take cases to jury trials. Many insurers pay up when they know seasoned trial lawyers are involved.
Do not take chances trying to self-negotiate an accident settlement without skilled legal counsel at your side. Far too much is at stake.
Does Contributory Negligence Apply to Tulsa Car Accident Claims?
Oklahoma follows “modified comparative negligence” laws regarding financial responsibility when both drivers’ actions contribute to causing an auto accident. Here is how it works:
If you were partially at-fault through actions like speeding or distraction, you can still recover damages – but any monetary award will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, if you are found 25% responsible for the crash and sustain $100,000 total damages, your compensation would be reduced by 25% to $75,000.
However, if your actions were the primary cause of the accident and your percentage of fault exceeds 50%, you may be barred completely from recovering anything in some cases.
Given this, it is critical your lawyer fights to minimize your assigned percentage of fault and pin blame primarily on the other driver by proving their negligence caused the collision. Admitting partial fault does not necessarily totally invalidate your claim if the other motorist was still mostly responsible.
What Types of Damages Can I Claim After a Tulsa Car Crash?
If injured in an auto accident caused by another motorist, Oklahoma law allows victims to claim two broad categories of compensatory damages:
This covers quantifiable monetary losses like:
- Medical bills from injury treatments, prescriptions, hospitalization
- Lost income and reduced future earnings
- Repairs or replacement costs for damaged vehicle and property
- Cost of hiring home health aides, child care, etc during recovery
Non-quantifiable damages include:
- Pain and suffering experienced during medical treatments
- Emotional distress like anxiety, depression, PTSD
- Loss of enjoyment of life if injuries inhibit activities
- Permanent impairments resulting from the accident
- Wrongful death damages like funeral costs if crash was fatal
Your attorney will fight to account for every possible economic and non-economic loss and put a dollar amount on the damages inflicted. Full documentation and evidence is key to maximizing claim value.
Gather Recommendations to Find the Best Tulsa Car Accident Lawyer
Finding the right attorney to handle your specific car accident claim requires vetting qualifications, experience, and proven case results. Some tips for identifying top lawyers include:
- Ask friends, colleagues, and professionals whose judgment you trust if they can recommend an attorney. First-hand experience carries significant weight.
- Search online reviews and testimonials from past clients describing their experiences working with particular lawyers. This provides unfiltered insights into work quality.
- Search respected lawyer rating platforms like Avvo that score attorneys based on experience, ethics records, and client reviews. High ratings signal positive reputations.
- Contact your state Bar Association which may certify lawyers practicing in certain specialty areas. Board certified personal injury attorneys have demonstrated car accident claim expertise.
- Ask prosecutors and court clerks for recommendations. Their inside familiarity with local law practitioners can prove invaluable.
Do not just randomly select a lawyer from online ads or billboards. Taking time to carefully research referrals, reviews and recommendations better ensures finding competent legal help after an accident.
Beware of Insurance Company Tactics After a Tulsa Car Crash
Insurers use clever tactics to minimize claim payouts and boost profits. Common approaches include:
Rushing Settlement Offers – They push victims to settle immediately before full damages are known, locking in low payouts. Savvy lawyers advise clients to wait until the dust settles.
Disputing Injury Severity – Adjusters often claim “pre-existing conditions” caused symptoms vs. the crash absent supporting medical evidence, hoping victims will doubt themselves and accept smaller offers.
Placing Fault on the Victim – Insurers scour for any potential driver errors to hold against victims, like split-second distractions or confusion over right of way, to assign partial or full blame.
Claiming Excessive Treatment – Adjusters often assert medical bills are inflated or treatments unnecessary based on brief claim file reviews, hoping to trim medical damages awarded.
Unresponsive to Communications – Ignoring calls and delaying claim processing puts pressure on victims financially and emotionally in hopes they give in.
Threatening Litigation – Insurers sometimes threaten countersuits and drawn out legal fights, even if victims’ claims are legitimate, to discourage pursuit of rightful compensation.
Having an experienced Tulsa car wreck attorney levels the playing field against devious insurer tactics and bad faith negotiations. Never accept an offer without trusted legal advice.
After a car accident, victims face an uphill battle getting fair compensation from insurance companies all too eager to protect their bottom lines. Finding the right lawyer levels the playing field.
Vet several attorneys’ qualifications, case results, and client reviews first. Look for extensive accident law expertise and a record of delivering positive outcomes. Meet to ensure your communication styles align.
Move quickly to document evidence, contact witnesses, seek medical attention, and call an attorney for guidance. Early legal involvement helps build maximum claim strength.
With diligent attorney representation fighting for your best interests, you stand the best chance of receiving a fair settlement or court award providing the financial means to move on positively. Focus on healing, not paperwork.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does hiring a car accident lawyer cost upfront?
Most accident attorneys work on contingency, collecting around 30% of your final settlement. No retainers or upfront fees are required in most cases.
When should I call a lawyer after an accident?
Contact a lawyer immediately so they can advise on documenting evidence, handling insurance contacts, seeking initial medical treatment and steps to take. Critical evidence and information disappears quickly.
Can I still get a settlement without hiring a lawyer?
You can negotiate directly with the insurer, but settlements will likely be significantly less without legal representation. Lawyers are skilled negotiators that maximize value.
How long do car accident lawsuits take in Oklahoma?
Most straightforward injury claims settle within several months. Complex cases involving major injuries, extensive treatments, multiple parties or litigation can extend to a year or longer in some cases.
What does a car accident lawyer do?
Lawyers investigate crashes, prove negligence, negotiate optimal settlements, file paperwork, handle litigation, work with medical providers, maximize case value and fight for your full legal rights after an accident.