Does My Insurance Protect Against a Lawsuit?
The short answer is no: insurance does not necessarily protect you against a lawsuit, and someone can, potentially, sue you for more than your insurance covers. This depends on the specific details of the given situation; but it is important to understand that insurance coverage does not always matter when a personal civil lawsuit is filed in Oklahoma. There are some situations in which insurance may be sufficient and no suit occurs, but this is certainly not a guarantee.
Insurance Is Usually the First Choice
In general, after an accident, people will either file an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit against the person who they think is “liable” for the accident. Though it depends on the nature of the case, most people tend to go for an insurance claim because the process is faster and often easier than pursuing civil litigation. While fault must be proven in most insurance claims, companies have a tendency to settle pretty easily as long as the fault can be established with a decent amount of certainty.
If Insurance Is Denied or Damages Are Greater Than Policy Limits…
If an insurance company denies a claim, or the injured party believes the damages he or she sustained are more expensive than insurance can cover, then a civil suit may be pursued. While Oklahoma has caps on how much can be sought in a civil case for damages, this amount is quite a bit higher than what most people have for insurance. There is a chance of being awarded much more in damages in a lawsuit compared to in an insurance claim.
The legal process is quite long, however, so it is usually chosen by those who believe they have a strong case and desire more financial reward than what insurance might cover.
Bottom Line: Oklahoma Is a Shared Fault State
In either case, it is important to remember that Oklahoma is a “shared fault” state: any money you win is reduced by your responsibility for an accident. A person must be less than 50% at fault for what occurred to receive any money. And if the person can be proven to be 30% responsible for the accident, for example, then any monetary reward is reduced by 30%.
Dealing with insurance companies or filing a civil lawsuit can be complicated and often involves Oklahoma car insurance laws and regulations. If you need help, call Car Accident Help today at (405) 285-4357. We can answer your questions and give you some ideas on what to do next.
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