Oklahoma Auto Accident Laws & Resources
Whether you are in Tulsa, Boise City or Oklahoma City, this state has many miles of roadways to explore. You can drive in the urban parts of the state’s largest cities, or in the peaceful and rural Ouachita Mountains. These roads are driven by 2.4 million licensed drivers in Oklahoma who drive more than 12,000 miles annually. If you are planning to live in or visit Oklahoma, be sure to refer to the following auto accident laws and regulations for the Sooner State.
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Statistics and Notable Oklahoma Car Accidents
In 2009, state data shows that 100 people were hurt in Oklahoma crashes every day. One accident happened every seven minutes. Also, of the 695 people who died in auto accidents that year, 45% of them were in light trucks. This is surprising because many people drive heavier and bigger vehicles because they think they are safer. However, in many of those accidents, many drivers and passengers failed to wear seatbelts. No matter how large the vehicle, your chances of death or serious injury are much higher when no seatbelt is used.
Below is more information about Oklahoma car accident statistics in 2014:
- 670 people were killed in fatal crashes that year.
- 3042 people were seriously injured in car accidents in 2014.
- 11,690 people suffered minor injuries.
- There were a total of 34,074 serious injuries and fatalities in car accidents in Oklahoma in 2014.
Also, 42,225 people were in car accidents in Oklahoma City in 2014, with 72 people killed. In 2015, there were 85 deaths in Oklahoma City car accidents. This was 13 more than the year before. However, the number of serious injuries in the city did drop from 617 to 573 between 2014 and 2015.
In terms of tractor trailer accidents, below are current statistics from 2014:
- 11,639 people were in tractor trailer crashes
- 116 people were killed in big rig crashes in the state
- 239 people suffered serious injuries in tractor trailer accidents
A serious problem in Oklahoma in recent years has been the number of drug-related crashes. According to a study from AAA Oklahoma, crashes related to drugs increased 120% in the last two years. In 2016, 134 people died in drug related car accidents.
One of the worst car accidents in Oklahoma in recent years was a 2017 accident where two girls were killed and three teens injured in a police chase in Woodward, Oklahoma. The driver of the vehicle was a 14-year-old boy and he is currently being held in a juvenile detention center. The state police reported the two girls who were killed were 12 and 13 years old. The accident happened when the underage driver ran a stop sign and police tried to pull the car over. The driver took off but hit a curb and rolled the vehicle. That is when the fatalities and injuries occurred.
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Oklahoma Accident Settlement Taxes
Most people wonder if their personal injury settlement is taxable as income at the state and federal levels. Generally, the money you get is not taxable as income; the IRS states that if you receive a settlement that is based upon a physical injury or illness, this is not taxable as income, as long as you did not take a medical expenses deduction related to your injuries.
Money that you get for pain and suffering is not taxable at the Oklahoma state or federal levels, as long as it is related to a physical injury. However, if you receive compensation for mental anguish only, this will be taxable as income. Any compensation for pain and suffering must always be tied to a physical injury for it to not be taxed as income.
If you receive money for punitive damages, this will be taxed as income as it is only intended to punish the defendant and is not for any injury that you suffered.
Did you receive compensation for property damages? This is not taxable as income as it is only to replace or repair property that was damaged in the accident.
If you have questions about your settlement, talk to your attorney. Also, talk to a tax professional if you have questions about taxation.
Comparative Negligence Rule in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, the amount of damages you can collect in a car accident can be reduced according to your degree of fault in the accident. For instance, if you are in a crash with $10,000 of damages and are found to be 50% at fault for the accident, your potential damages could be reduced by 50% or $5000. If you were more than 50% at fault, you cannot collect damages in a claim or lawsuit in this state.
Auto Insurance Requirements in Oklahoma
Driving in Oklahoma requires you to have a certain level of auto insurance. Each driver is required to have $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person; $50,000 bodily injury for everyone in an accident; $25,000 property damage coverage; and $25,000/$50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury. However, you may have the uninsured coverage waived in writing in if you like.
Experts recommend carrying additional coverage because of the risk of being injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
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At-Fault Law in Oklahoma
This is a fault state. This means the driver responsible for a car accident and injuries faces financial liability if it is found they are to blame. Therefore, it is important after an accident in Oklahoma to collect evidence in your favor. This includes taking careful notes or recordings of the conditions that caused the accident; collecting contact information for the witnesses of the accident; reporting the accident to your insurance company as soon as you can; and not making any statements about fault or liability.
Other Oklahoma Driving Laws
If you are driving in this state, it is important to be aware of these changes to the law in recent years:
- Oklahoma drivers with a learner’s permit or intermediate license are prohibited from texting and using handheld devices while driving.
- The state recently began a new DUI law that states any driver with any amount of a Schedule I drug or chemical in their system is under the influence. A conviction for this crime has a $1000 fine and a year in jail penalty.
- Police officers may seize your license plates if they find you driving without insurance. They will issue you temporary plates and liability insurance at your cost.
Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Oklahoma
You have two years from the date of a car accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. Also, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim for property damage.
Distracted Driving Laws in Oklahoma
Only novice drivers and bus drivers may not use their cell phones while they are driving. There have been attempts to strengthen the distracted driving laws in Oklahoma, but they have not yet passed. This is a major concern because the number of distracted driving accidents in the state and across the country continue to climb.
Oklahoma Car Accident Resources
If you have been in a car accident in Oklahoma, it is certain that you are feeling plenty of anxiety and stress. People who have suffered serious injuries in car accidents often wonder what they could be entitled to in a personal injury claim. You can learn more about a possible personal injury settlement in your case at Lawsuit Info Center.
Also, be sure to review these other resources that could help you in the event of a car accident injury case in Oklahoma:
- If you have been in a car accident in Oklahoma City, go to this page to learn about how to file a police report.
- For car accidents in Tulsa, this page has information about filing a collision report.
If you have been in an accident elsewhere in Oklahoma, you should submit a Collision Report. You can submit one at the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, and look up collision reports.
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