Breaking Down the Cost of a Car Accident in Oklahoma
Car accidents are costly, especially when they result in serious damages. In car accident claims, the word “damages” refers to more than just property damage to a vehicle, it includes all of the consequences of an accident to the victim. Each accident and injury is unique, and so is every accident victim’s claim for damages; however, there are some common damages claimed in personal injury cases in Oklahoma car accidents.
Damages in car accident claims fall into two categories, economic and non-economic damages.
Common Costs in Economic Damages to Car Accident Victims
Economic damages after a car accident are the tangible costs of the accident. These are usually easy to calculate. A car accident victim typically experiences economic damages from an accident that include some or all of the following:
- Property damage to their vehicle
- Property damage to personal items inside the vehicle
- Medical expenses for emergency care
- Future medical expenses to treat injuries and for ongoing care or rehabilitation
- Lost wages from time off for medical treatment and recovery
- Future income loss if the injuries require ongoing medical care
- Lowered earning capacity for injury-related disability
These economic costs can cause significant financial hardship for injury victims and their families after an Oklahoma car accident. Often, financial worries impact the victim’s ability to focus on their health. Some car accident victims struggle with decisions to postpone or refuse medical treatments if they have high deductibles or limited healthcare coverage. Even worse, the household expenses and medical bills pile up just when the car accident victim may be unable to return to work due to their injuries.
When an accident was caused by another driver’s negligence or reckless behavior behind the wheel, they must be accountable for the financial damages to the victim so they can recover compensation for the economic costs of the accident. This is typically paid through their car insurance.
If the accident causes a loved one’s death, the family members can seek economic damages in a wrongful death claim, in which case, the compensation includes an amount for funeral and burial expenses, as well as for lost income for the remaining working years the victim would have had left to them had they survived.
While financial damages like medical care and lost wages have negative impacts on a car accident victim’s life, often the non-economic damages have a greater cost on the victim.
Non-Economic Damages and Their Costs to Car Accident Victims in Oklahoma
Car accidents impose additional damages on victims that are intangible and not always easy to assign a monetary amount; however, Oklahoma civil courts can only award car accident victims monetary compensation for their damages, including non-economic damages. This is the court’s way of offering legal recourse for justice when an accident caused by another driver’s negligence seriously harms someone else. Common non-economic damages awarded in Oklahoma car accident claims include compensation for some or all of the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Traumatic limb loss
- Emotional damages like PTSD, anxiety, or depression
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium (the ability to enjoy a full emotional and physical relationship with a loved one)
When an accident causes a death, the family members can gain compensation in an Oklahoma wrongful death claim, in which case, non-economic damages include grief and anguish, loss of companionship, and loss of a parent’s nurturing and support.
While car accidents are expensive and traumatic, the courts offer injury victims justice in a car accident claim for their damages.
In Oklahoma, even those partly at fault in a car accident may claim damages. The amount of compensation they recover is then minus their percentage of fault. For instance, if they are 25% at fault for an accident with damages amounting to $100,000 they can still recover $75,000. Many accident victims turn to the experienced legal counsel of an Oklahoma City car accident attorney to maximize the compensation in their claim for damages.