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What You Need to Know about OK Personal Injury Law

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If you have been injured by another person, contact an Oklahoma personal injury attorney immediately to find out how much your case is worth. An experienced lawyer can help you maximize the compensation you receive for your injuries — and make sure that you don't exceed your state's statute of limitations for filing a claim.

This guide to Oklahoma personal injury laws will discuss important factors you need to consider if you or a loved one has been harmed. For more information, speak with an Oklahoma personal injury attorney from our network of experienced attorneys.*

After You Are Injured

  • Take care of your injuries immediately
  • Contact an attorney
  • Document all injuries and any damage to property (get copies of accident reports, take pictures, keep receipts and invoices, keep notes of new symptoms, document time off from work, etc.)
  • Get information from witnesses (phone numbers, addresses, statements, etc.)
  • Open a claim with the other person's insurance company
  • Do not give any statements to anyone other than the police before speaking with a lawyer
  • Do not sign any releases of liability or potential claims before speaking with a lawyer

Statute of Limitations

There are time limits for filing a personal injury claim in Oklahoma. The statute of limitations dictates how long you have to file a claim with the court after you are injured. In some cases, the statute of limitations starts when the injured party becomes aware of the injury or should have become aware of the injury (the Discovery Rule). Oklahoma statute of limitations laws may differ from those of other states.

Oklahoma Statute of Limitations Laws
Type of Claim: Statute of Limitation:
Negligence (car accidents, slip and fall, toxic torts, etc.) 2 years
Assault or Battery 1 year
Defamation 1 year
Strict Liability 2 years
Products Liability 2 years
Wrongful Death 2 years

Types of Claims: Who Is Liable?

Negligence

The person or company who was negligent is liable. However, Oklahoma uses a legal doctrine called modified comparative negligence to assign fault. This system of assigning fault has two important aspects to it. First, the injured party may recover only if he or she is less than 50 percent at fault. Second, if the injured party was also negligent, the original negligent party is only liable for the percentage of damages he or she caused.

For example, if you are in a car accident where the person who hit you ran a red light while you were speeding, the jury can find that running the red light was 80 percent negligent while your speeding was 20 percent negligent. You will only be rewarded 80 percent of your total damages. However, if the jury found that your speeding was 55 percent negligent, then you would not be able to recover at all.

Assault or Battery (Intentional Torts)

The person who deliberately caused the injury is liable.

Defamation

The speaker or writer of the negative statement and anyone who repeats that statement is liable.

Strict Liability

The person or company engaging in the dangerous activity — or who has, in some way, helped to put the product on the market (see below) — is liable. In strict liability cases involving damage caused by an animal, the person or company responsible for the animal is liable.

Products Liability

Anyone who has had a role in putting the product on the market could be liable. Frequently, though not always, this person or company must be involved in the sale of the product in the regular course of business.

Wrongful Death

Whoever would be liable for the activity that caused the death is liable.

Damages You May Receive

  • Reimbursement for medical treatment and lost wages
  • Reimbursement for damage to or loss of use of property that occurred as a result of the injury
  • Loss of consortium (loss of services of your spouse: income, companionship, child care, etc.)
  • Money for emotional distress and/or pain and suffering
  • Injury to reputation
  • Punitive damages (money given as punishment)

Limitations on Damages

Generally, there are no limitations on damages you receive that compensate you for your injuries (such as reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages), although some limitations do exist in certain situations. However, your estimation of damages must be reasonably certain, especially for those damages projected for the future, such as future medical expenses or future lost wages.

Your non-economic damages, or those damages that are not based on money you actually paid, are more subjective and may be limited by statute or by circumstances of your situation. These damages may include pain and suffering and the loss of the services and companionship of your spouse. In Oklahoma, the limit on non-economic damages is $350,000 although certain negligence situations are exempt.

In Oklahoma, punitive damages are divided into numerous categories, each with its own standards and limits, although there may be some exceptions to these limits.

Category I punitive damages may be awarded when the behavior of the person that injured the victim was with reckless disregard to the likelihood of harm. The limit on punitive damages in this situation is $100,000 or the amount of actual damages awarded.

Category II punitive damages may be awarded when the behavior of the person that injured the victim was intentional and malicious. The limit on punitive damages in this situation is $500,000 or two times the amount of actual damages awarded.

Category III punitive damages may be awarded when the behavior of the person that injured the victim was intentional, malicious, and threatening to human life. The amount of punitive damages awarded depends greatly on the factors of the case.

*State and federal laws in the United States are constantly changing. This guide is intended solely for informational purposes and should not take the place of the advice of a lawyer. Only a qualified attorney can assess the merits of your case completely and provide an effective plan for counsel.

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