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What is Personal Injury

Legal Authority:
12 O. S. § 95 Civil Procedure – Limitation of Other Actions
56 O. S. § 237B Lien for past-due child support on Proceeds of Certain Insurance Claims

Personal injury is a term that includes a wide range of legal cases to compensate victims that were “personally injured” due to the negligence, carelessness, or deliberate acts of another. Personal injury claims are based on tort law and have two basic issues:

  • Liability – meaning was the defendant liable or responsible for the injury, or was the defendant liable for the damages sustained by the plaintiff; and,
  • Damages – meaning what was the nature and extent of the damages.

Compensation for the loss (damages) could be awarded if those two elements can be proven.

Personal Injury Lawsuits in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma everyone is held to a reasonable person standard of care. You can be held liable for your actions if a reasonable person in similar circumstances would not have acted you did. A personal injury victim in Oklahoma may seek medical expenses or other damages, compensation, when someone departs from this standard of care and a person is injured.

What are the most common personal injury cases?  Personal injury claims come in many forms; however, the most common cause of personal injury cases is a result of a traffic collision, such as:

  • Car accidents,
  • Motorcycle accidents,
  • Semi-truck accidents, and
  • Drunk driving accidents.

In addition to personal injury traffic collision cases, the following are common causes of action for personal injury cases in Oklahoma:

  • Wrongful death,
  • Nursing home negligence or abuse,
  • Premise liability accidents or slip-and-fall accidents,
  • Defective medical equipment,
  • Defective consumer products or Products liability, and
  • Medical malpractice.

Claims of Personal Injury in Oklahoma.  Although some personal injury claims are a result of intentional acts of another; most personal injury claims are based on negligence. The following four elements are necessary to prove negligence:

  1. A party had a duty to act reasonably given the circumstances;
  2. The party breached the duty;
  3. The party’s breach of the duty caused harm; and,
  4. Monetary damages resulted from the harm caused by the party’s breach of the duty of care.

Under Oklahoma law a personal injury plaintiff must prove the following three elements to prove liability for negligence:

  1. He / She suffered an injury;
  2. The party from whom recovery is sought was negligent; and
  3. Such negligence was a direct cause of the injury sustained.

The amount of compensation for a personal injury claim depends on a number of factors, discussed below; however, the severity of injuries is a primary factor.

What does negligence mean?  Oklahoma uniform jury instruction 9.2 defines Negligence as follows:

The failure to exercise ordinary care to avoid injury to another’s person or property.  “Ordinary care” is the care which a reasonably careful person would use under the same or similar circumstances. The law does not say how a reasonably careful person would act under those circumstances. That is for the jury to decide. Thus, under that facts in evidence in this case, if a party failed to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or did something which a reasonable careful person would not do, such party would be negligent.

How is compensation determined in Oklahoma personal injury cases?  The type and amount of damages in Oklahoma personal injury claims include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages most often include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages, i.e., vehicle damage in a car accident. There is no limit to damages for economic losses in Oklahoma. Non-economic damages are less objective and involve calculating harm beyond economic losses. Non-economic damages include: emotional distress & pain and suffering.

See also CSQuest articles Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Intercepts and Accepting and Endorsing WC/PI Settlements.

The interception of Personal Injury claims has been centralized within the Center for Coordinated Programs. Contact the Lien Coordinator for more information.

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