Let's say you were driving down Route 66 and the car next to you suddenly collided with your vehicle. Whether it was a minor accident or not, pain may not seem significant at first. When the pain does start to flare up, how would you calculate the amount of damages for pain and suffering? These types of damages are not easy to calculate. Read on to learn about pain and suffering damages in Oklahoma.
Definition of Pain and Suffering Damages
The amount of damages you can recover depends on the type of your case and specific state laws. Damages are usually divided into two categories: (1) economic and (2) noneconomic.
In Oklahoma, "economic damages" are defined as monetary harm, such as lost wages, medical expenses, and any other costs incurred as a result of a bodily injury. "Noneconomic damages" are defined as nonmonetary harm that arises from a bodily injury.
Pain and suffering are mental or physical distress that results from an accident or injury, and they are considered as noneconomic damages. Here is a list of all types of noneconomic damages covered under the Oklahoma Statutes:
Determining Costs of Pain and Suffering Damages
In Oklahoma, the court or jury makes separate findings for the following: (1) the total compensatory damages recoverable; (2) the total economic loss; and (3) the total noneconomic loss. In determining the amount of damages for pain and suffering, the court will consider all of the circumstances that surround the incident. Use FindLaw's Damages Estimate Worksheet to help you make separate calculations and ensure no other types of damages are overlooked.
Limitations on Noneconomic Damages in Oklahoma
If you are seeking noneconomic damages, you should know there are certain limitations under Oklahoma laws. First, there's the "statute of limitations," or the time limit in which you must bring a lawsuit. Oklahoma gives you two years to bring a personal injury claim. "Damages caps" are laws that limit the amount of award you can recover. In Oklahoma, the court imposes damages caps on noneconomic loss; however, it is subject to some exceptions.
The table below covers the limitations placed on damages in Oklahoma.
Statute of Limitations
2 years for personal injury claims [Section 12-95(3)]
Noneconomic Damages Caps Exception to Damages Caps
No limit if the defendant :
- acted in reckless disregard for the rights of others;
- was grossly negligent;
- was fraudulent; or
- acted intentionally or with malice [Section 23-61.2(C)]
"Modified comparative negligence standard": you cannot recover any damages if you are more than 50 percent at fault [Section 23-13]
Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time, usually through the enactment of newly passed legislation but sometimes through higher court decisions and other means. You may want to contact an Oklahoma personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Get Legal Help to Better Understand Pain and Suffering Damages in Oklahoma
The last thing you want after an accident is to be racked with out-of-pocket expenses. Even if you were partially at fault, you may be entitled to several types of damages. Although Oklahoma imposes some limitations on economic and noneconomic recovery, you should be able to recover damages for the pain you are suffering. In order to increase the likelihood of receiving the amount of damages you deserve, it's best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Oklahoma.
Contact a qualified attorney.