Wallet Hub recently published a list of the safest states in America. Oklahoma is nowhere near the top of the list.
As the article stated in measuring 48 key metrics, "Each state is safe from some dangers but falls prey to others." Oklahoma rated 48th safest out of all 50 states. Categories included personal and residential safety (34th), financial safety (42nd), road safety (44th) and workplace safety (47th). When it comes to road safety, only Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona ranked worse.
Mitigating Oklahoma Car Accident Risks
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports 683 motorists were killed on Oklahoma roads in 2016. Our car accident lawyers in Oklahoma City and Tulsa know most of these traffic "accidents" share common avoidable causes:
- Drunk Driving: Accounts for one-third of all road deaths nationwide.
- Speeding: Also involved in about one-third of fatal traffic collisions.
- Distracted driving: Distracted drivers caused more than 4,000 Oklahoma traffic collisions in 2016, according to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. At least 23 motorists were killed and nearly 2,500 injured.
- Aggressive driving: Driving too fast for conditions, aggressive acceleration and braking and failure to use turn signals are all aggressive behaviors that reduce reaction time and increase your risk of a collision.
These behaviors are not accidental and the collisions they lead to are not accidents. These are the big four intentionally negligent driving behaviors that result in motor vehicle collisions. Innocent victims are entitled to collect damages from an at-fault driver for a variety of losses, including lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Oklahoma Personal Injury Claims After Car Accidents
Oklahoma negligence law requires victim prove four elements: That defendant owed a duty of care, that defendant breached that duty, that breach caused injury, and that victim suffered loss. Of equal importance (though often overlooked by victims) is the experience required to quantify all losses, including likely future medical complications and compensation for damages like pain and suffering.
Likewise, identifying all defendants (and the associated insurance coverage) can be critical to success. Oklahoma auto insurance law requires motorists to carry minimum coverage of just $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident. These limits may be nowhere near sufficient to cover losses in the event of a serious or fatal collision. Other possible means of recovery include actions against negligent third parties (like an employer), or pursuing uninsured motorist (UM)/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage through your own insurance carrier. Even though a UM/UIM claim will be against your own insurance company, your insurer will treat you not as a customer but like any other claimant, which means it will be looking out for its own bottom line.
In the event of a crash, contact Lawter & Associates, PLLC and find out how we can help you.