When you’re injured due to the negligence or carelessness of another person, Oklahoma law allows you to recover compensation through a personal injury claim. Whether your injuries are the result of a car accident, slip-and-fall, dog bite, or other circumstances, you would typically pursue the responsible party or an insurance company. However, while you may be generally familiar with how lawsuits work, you may not fully understand how your claim turns into a dollar value intended to compensate you for your losses. The issue boils down to the legal concept of damages, which fall into two primary categories. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, you should discuss your damages with an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer.
Certain types of losses that you sustain after an accident are tangible and can be established by documentation. Economic damages may include:
- The costs of medical treatment to return you to health, including surgery, therapy, prescription medications, and long-term care; and,
- Income and work-related benefits that you would have earned had you not been injured in an accident.
To establish your right to economic damages, you may use such proof as healthcare provider bills and invoices, and medical records showing what you or your insurance company paid for treatment. Lost wages are provable by presenting pay stubs, direct deposit details, or tax records.
These losses cannot be assigned an ascertainable dollar value in the same way as economic damages, but injured victims may still be entitled to compensation. You may recover such noneconomic damages as:
- Damages for the pain and suffering you experience;
- Loss of consortium, due to the impact on your relationship with your spouse;
- Loss of care, assistance, and protection you would have provided to your family if it were not for your injuries; and,
- Loss of future income, if you’re not able to return to the job you held before the accident.
Limitation on Non-Economic Damages in Oklahoma
Like many states, Oklahoma has enacted legislation that places limits on the amount injured victims can receive in personal injury cases. The statutory cap only applies to non-economic damages; there is no limitation on economic losses caused when you’re injured in an accident. In a civil action, the plaintiff is limited to $350,000 for noneconomic losses in a case based upon negligence. If the accident was the result of recklessness or intentional conduct, the statutory cap doesn’t apply.
An Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney Can Assist with Damages
If you’re successful in proving the required elements of negligence in a personal injury case, you can recover compensation for your losses. Because calculating damages is complicated – especially when considering the intangible nature of noneconomic losses – it’s wise to retain an experienced Oklahoma personal injury lawyer to represent your interests. An attorney can assist with gathering evidence, consult with medical experts, and develop a strategy to ensure you obtain the highest possible compensation. For more information on damages in personal injury cases, please contact the Law Offices of Robert R. Robles at (405) 232-7980 to discuss your options.