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How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Oklahoma City

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Oklahoma City

Hopefully, you will never need a personal injury lawyer. However, if you do, you want to ensure that you hire the best personal injury lawyer in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma is an at-fault state for accidents and personal injuries. Therefore, you have the burden of proving that the other party caused your accident and injuries to recover compensation. 

Therefore, you need an attorney who has substantial experience, skills, and resources. Your lawyer needs to conduct investigations, hire expert witnesses, and do everything necessary to gather evidence proving negligence and liability. 

Deciding which Oklahoma City personal injury attorney to hire can be confusing. Below is a guide for finding the personal injury attorney that is right for you.

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case

An attorney is not a “one size fits all” situation. Personal injury lawyers have vastly different skills, experience levels, qualifications, and personalities. Therefore, choosing an attorney based solely on advertisements is not best for you.

Begin your attorney search by asking people you trust for recommendations. It is best if they used the attorney for another case. Direct knowledge of the attorney is extremely valuable.

If you know an attorney that practices a different area of law, you might want to ask that attorney for a referral. Often attorneys are familiar with other attorneys and their abilities. Judges and court personnel may also be excellent sources of recommendations. 

The Oklahoma Bar Association has a “find a lawyer” directory that helps people search for attorneys located near them. The directory is not a recommendation or referral to an attorney. 

Oklahoma bar association

It is a good idea to plan to meet with at least two or three attorneys. 

Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, so it does not cost you anything to meet with the attorney to discuss your cases. Meeting in person allows you to evaluate the attorney for yourself and obtain different opinions regarding your case. You are not obligated to hire an attorney after your initial consultation. 

Before meeting with each attorney, it can help to do a little research online. You can find a great deal of information about personal injury lawyers from their websites, peer review websites, and client reviews. In addition, many lawyers have social media websites that you may also want to review.

Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer 

Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer 

When you meet with a personal injury attorney in Oklahoma City, these questions can help you evaluate whether you want to hire a lawyer.

How much experience do you have handling cases similar to my case?

How much experience do you have handling cases similar to my case?

As stated above, you want to hire a lawyer who practices in the area of personal injury law. However, it is best to hire a lawyer with experience handling your specific type of case.

For example, if you were involved in a slip and fall accident, you want a premises liability lawyer. On the other hand, if a defective product caused your injury, then you want to search for a product liability lawyer.

Even car accident attorneys may have more experience handling certain types of cases. For instance, an attorney may handle car accident claims, but he has very little experience with cases involving commercial trucks or government vehicles. 

How much time will you spend on my case?

How much time will you spend on my case?

Some attorneys have such heavy caseloads that they pass the cases to associates or paralegals to handle. While it is good for a law firm to have extensive staff resources, you want to ensure that the lawyer you hire is the person directly handling your case. 

What is my personal injury claim worth?

What is my personal injury claim worth?

An honest personal injury attorney will tell you that he needs to investigate the claim and analyze your damages to give you an accurate value for your case. The attorney may tell you outcomes of cases similar to your case, but your case is unique. 

Search for an attorney who is willing to invest the time necessary to document your damages fully to maximize the value of your case. 

How often do you go to trial?

How often do you go to trial?

Some personal injury attorneys are known to settle every case to avoid going to court. However, you need a skilled negotiator AND an aggressive trial attorney. 

Your case may need to go to trial. If so, having an attorney with experience arguing cases in court gives you a better chance of winning your case.

How long will it take to settle my case?

How long will it take to settle my case?

No attorney can give you a specific timeline for settling your personal injury claim. However, an experienced attorney explains the steps necessary to pursue your case. The lawyer should be able to examine the facts of your case and give you an estimate of a timeline based on what he knows at that time.

Things to Consider When Searching for an Attorney

Some of the important factors that you want to compare when you interview attorneys include:

  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Good listening skills
  • Experience and education
  • Special skills, qualifications, and certifications
  • Adequate support staff
  • Compassionate and patient
  • Affordability

The money you receive for a personal injury claim cannot undo the pain and suffering you experienced. However, it can help pay for ongoing care and reimburse you for financial losses. Make sure you invest the time necessary to find the best personal injury lawyer in Oklahoma City for your case.

Teen Driving Laws in California: What Every Teen Driver & Parent Should Know

Teen Driving Laws in California: What Every Teen Driver & Parent Should Know

Almost uniformly, teens look forward to getting a driver’s license. For them, it is a step toward greater freedom and independence. 

For their parents, it is a time of worry and concern.

This is a time when teens also explore alcohol and drug use.

When alcohol or drugs are mixed with driving, the result can be deadly. Therefore, California regulates teen driving.

 Here is what every teen driver and parent should know about teen driving laws in California.

California Teen Driving Permits and Licensing

Like many other states, California uses a Graduated Licensing Program to introduce teens to driving safely. This graduated approach allows a permitting process and training to begin before a teen driver may be licensed. To get a permit to drive a teen must be at least 15 ½ years old.  

A teen may apply for a permit to drive once they have completed an approved driver’s education program that teaches traffic laws, road safety, driver responsibilities, and avoiding accidents. The programs must have either 30 hours or 2 1/2 semesters of classroom instruction conducted by a professional. 

Alternatively, a teen may complete this training with an approved  internet training program. Once a teen gets a permit, he or she must have 50 hours of driving education behind the wheel of a car within 6 months of obtaining the permit. Once that is completed, a teen may take their driving test at age 16.

Restrictions on a Teen License in California

A teen’s driver’s license is restricted for the first year. The license is provisional. Teens are prohibited from driving from 11:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M. This is when the risk of accidents, especially those involving drugs or alcohol, are highest. When a teen driver has a passenger who isn’t yet 20 years old, there are additional restrictions.

The teen driver must also be transporting a:

  • Certified driving instructor
  • Parent or guardian (with a valid California license), or
  • Licensed driver who is at least 25 years of age. 

Once a teen turns 18, the restrictions can be removed.  

Exceptions to Teen Driving Restrictions in California

There are several exceptions to these restrictions. In order to qualify for a restriction, a teen must be driving for an accepted reason and have written permission to do so. There are exceptions for:

  • Medical necessity: Requires a doctor’s note.
  • School: The note must be signed by the school principal or dean.
  • Employment: The teen must have a note from the employer.
  • Family member necessity: Note must be signed by parent.

Emancipated minors are treated somewhat differently. An emancipated teen must provide the DMV with emancipation court orders and must provide proof of insurance.

Penalties for Violating Teen Driving Restrictions in California

The DMV tracks a teen’s driving record and provisional license. Using its point system, the DMV assigns point values for accidents, traffic tickets, and arrests. Consequences for violations are as follows:

  • A traffic ticket and failure to appear in court results in loss of a teen’s driving privilege until they appear in court.
  • One  collision in which the teen is at fault, or a conviction of a traffic law violation within 12 months will result in a DMV warning letter.
  • If the teen has two collisions in which they are at fault or two traffic convictions within 12 months, results in a loss of a teen’s driving privilege for 30 days. In that case, the teen may only drive if accompanied by a licensed parent or other licensed adult over the age of 25.
  • Three such collisions or traffic law violations within 12 months results in a suspended license for 6 months and one year of probation.
  • Four or more such collisions or traffic law violations while on probation results in further suspension.
  • An alcohol or a controlled substance use conviction between the ages of 13 and 21 years results in a suspended driver’s license for 1 year or a delay in a teen’s eligibility to apply for a driver’s license.

Both parents and teens need to be aware of these consequences. It is best to understand the law before  a teen begins driving. Courts and the DMV are strict in applying consequences.

Teen Drivers and Cell Phones in California

Teens are glued to their cell phones.

In California, it is against the law for a teen to use a cell phone or any other electronic wireless device while driving.

That means that a teen may not answer a call or a text and may not initiate a call or text while driving unless there is an emergency.

Knowing your rights and responsibilities behind the wheel is important at every stage of your driving life. Setting a successful path helps. If your teen does get arrested driving under the influence, you need a criminal lawyer. Knowing the law always helps.

What Are the 100 Deadliest Days?

The 100 deadliest days are upon us. The 100 deadliest days refer to the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day when rates of car accidents for teen drivers go up. Over the past five years, nearly 3,500 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers during those three months. Two-thirds of the people injured or killed in accidents involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel.

These accidents increase during summer months because teens are out of school and are out on the road more. An average of about 700 people a year die in accidents involving a teen driver.

Contributing to these high rates of accidents are reckless behaviors that teens tend toward at higher rates. Reckless behaviors such as drinking and driving, speeding, and driving while distracted (texting) all contribute to the higher rates of accidents for teens drivers in the summer.

What Causes Teens to Get into Accidents?

Speeding. Speeding increases the severity of the crash as well as the frequency. 30% of teen drivers admit to speeding on residential streets and almost 40 percent admit to speeding on highways in the past thirty days. 

Drinking and driving. Drinking is illegal for teens in all 50 states. Unfortunately, that is not enough to deter teens from drinking and driving. One in sixteen drivers involved in fatal accidents tested positive for alcohol.

Driving while distracted. In the age of smartphones and social media, the contributing factor of distracted driving is on the rise. More than half of teen drivers reported to reading a text or email while driving. 40 percent of teen drivers even reported sending a text or an email.

After an accident, it is difficult for law enforcement to determine if a teen was texting while driving. If law enforcement decides to investigate the circumstances that led to an accident, they have legal means to obtain phone records and determine if a driver was on the phone or texting. Witnesses might also report seeing the driver using their phone.

If law enforcement decides to investigate the circumstances that led to an accident, they have legal means to obtain phone records and determine if a driver was on the phone or texting. Witnesses might also report seeing the driver using their phone.

What Can a Worried Parent Do?

Parents must talk to teens about all the factors mentioned above that lead to accidents. Even if you think your teen doesn’t drink there is always a first time. Parents can set a good example. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t pick up your phone while driving. Drive at the speed limit. Be a model for safe, responsible driving.

Make sure your teen gets lots of hours driving with you in the car so that they get more comfortable and you can see where their weaknesses may be. You can gradually ease up on the supervision as you see your teen gaining more confidence and skill behind the wheel. 

Summer should be fun and enjoyable for teens. The freedom that comes with gaining the right to drive also comes with serious responsibilities. As a parent, you can be a model of good driving behavior and have tough discussions with your teen driver that need to be had no matter how uncomfortable.

Talk to your teen about the consequences if they are caught drinking and driving or driving while texting. You can even write up a contract that you both discuss and sign. Make this a safe and fun summer for everyone. If you have been injured, then check out our guide on how to find a good personal injury lawyer.