One of the most important aspects of a personal injury claim stemming from an accident is the statute of limitations. However, many injured people may be unaware of this statute, which winds up hurting their chances at recovering compensation for their injuries.
There are two statutes often confused with each other in Tulsa: the statute of limitations and the statute of repose. The Tulsa personal injury attorneys at Biby Law Firm discuss both of these and their differences in today’s blog.
What is a statute of limitations?
A statute of limitations is a period in which you are eligible to file a civil claim against someone who injured you, damaged your property, defrauded you, or otherwise caused you harm. Should you miss the deadline to file in Oklahoma, which is two years from the date of the incident that caused your Tulsa injury, you will likely lose the opportunity to recover compensation regardless of how strong your case may otherwise have been.
Biby Law Firm handles all of the following claims, ensuring you don’t miss the statute of limitations:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Injuries to a child
- Nursing home abuse and neglect cases
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Oil field accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Burn injuries
- Public transportation accidents
- Rideshare accidents
Generally speaking, you have two (2) years from the date of the wrongful conduct to file a negligence case in Oklahoma. There are exceptions to this general rule for certain classes of plaintiffs and some types of claims, including some wrongful death claims. Navigating the law on various exceptions to the statute of limitations can be very complex and cumbersome – having a seasoned Tulsa attorney in your corner gives you the best chance for a successful outcome.
What is a statute of repose?
A statute of repose in Oklahoma is a period in which someone can file a lawsuit for negligence. In Oklahoma, this is a period of 10 years from the date that the damage was discovered. A statute of repose is much different than the statute of limitations, and most often covers real estate, construction, and insurance issues.
Under the statute, this allows an individual to take legal action:
- (i) for any deficiency in the design, planning, supervision or observation of construction or construction of an improvement to real property,
- (ii) for injury to property, real or personal, arising out of any such deficiency, or
- (iii) for injury to the person or for wrongful death arising out of any such deficiency
If you are injured because of defective construction material, negligence on the part of a home builder, or any other defective product, you may be eligible to file a claim using the statute of repose. This means that you will be able to file a civil claim well past the two-year statute of limitations imposed by Oklahoma. It is still important you consult with an attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
What does “tolled” mean?
To toll a statute of limitations, it means that it has been suspended or extended. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, for example, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the at-fault driver. However, the deadline can be tolled. In order to toll a statute of limitations, you and the named defendant must agree in writing. Once the agreement is reached, the deadline can be tolled.
The benefits of contacting a Tulsa injury lawyer
It is vital that you contact a Tulsa injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. The longer you wait the closer you get to the statute of limitations deadline, thereby increasing the risk of missing out on recovering compensation for your injuries.
The minute you contact a Tulsa lawyer your rights will be protected. You can send all communications with insurance adjusters and defense attorneys to your personal injury attorney. You will not have to speak to anyone about the accident without your lawyer present, ensuring that you do not say anything that could be a detriment to your case.
A Tulsa injury lawyer from Biby Law Firm will also do the following for you and your case:
- Acquire police reports, insurance company reports, investigative results, and accident reconstruction reports
- Write and send demand letters on your behalf
- Speak to witnesses about the accident
- Acquire video footage from security cameras in the vicinity of the accident
- File all required legal documents and notices
- Retain expert witnesses to testify on your behalf
- Represent you at mediation and in settlement negotiations
- Take your case to trial if a settlement cannot be reached
Why you should file a civil lawsuit in an accident case
You should never rely on insurance to cover the costs of your medical care, property damage, and other expenses related to your injuries from an accident. Insurance companies are in the business of making money and not paying out claims, or paying them for an amount that is financially beneficial to them.
A civil lawsuit in an accident case can help you recover compensation for all of the following damages:
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitative costs
- Permanency of injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Renovation costs to update your home or vehicle for assistive devices
The possibility of punitive damages
Punitive damages can be awarded in some personal injury cases where there are egregious facts beyond mere negligence. Punitive damages are awarded in an effort to punish the defendant for their actions to ensure they will not make the same mistake again.
Contact Biby Law Firm in Tulsa
Were you or a loved one injured in a Tulsa accident? The personal injury attorneys at Biby Law Firm are here to help ensure that you are compensated for your injuries. Call our office at 918-574-8458, or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after a personal injury, car accident, or oil field injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts. Learn more about Jacob Biby.