October 9, 2017 Getting hurt in an auto accident in Oklahoma can be physically and emotionally devastating. Car crashes often result in extensive medical bills, frequent follow-up visits to your physician’s office, rehabilitation, and sometimes multiple surgeries. Many motor vehicle accident cases leave injury victims with temporary disabilities, making it impossible to work. In some cases, accident victims might suffer severe injuries that result in a permanent disability that prevents the individual from working altogether. When an auto accident destroys your life and your livelihood, you deserve to seek compensation. But what happens if you file a lawsuit and the defendant argues that you were partial to blame for the crash? What is Comparative Negligence in Oklahoma? You might have heard that you should never admit fault after a car accident in Oklahoma. This is certainly true—you do not want to give the other driver any information that the other driver can try to use against you. Whether you made a reference to your own negligence just after the accident, or if the other driver is simply arguing that you were liable in order to shift some of the blame from himself, does this mean that you cannot recover by filing an Oklahoma auto accident claim? In brief, plaintiffs should know that they can still be eligible to recover damages in Oklahoma even if a jury determines that the plaintiff bears some responsibility for the accident. Under Oklahoma law (Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 23 Section 23-13), this is known as comparative negligence or contributory negligence. Different states handle contributory negligence differently than others. In some states, contributory negligence can mean that the plaintiff is barred from recovery if she was responsible for even 1 percent of the accident. However, this is not the case in Oklahoma. Under Oklahoma law, a plaintiff can recover as long as she was not 51 percent or more at fault for the accident. Then, her damages award will be reduced by her degree of fault. Oklahoma Contributory Fault in Practice How does this work? Imagine that John is involved in a motor vehicle crash caused by a distracted driver. The accident likely would not have happened at all but for the other driver deciding to send a text message while driving. However, John was traveling at 5 miles per hour over the speed limit. A jury determines that John was 10 percent at fault for the crash and awards a total damages amount of $50,000. That amount is reduced by John’s share of the fault—10 percent, or $5,000—and John recover $45,000. We Are Here To Help If you have questions, an Oklahoma auto accident lawyer can assist with your case. Contact Lobaugh Law for more information.