New Law Increases Late Oklahoma Injury Lawsuit Filings

Last week, the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyer blog brought you news of several laws that would take effect November 1.  However, criminal penalties and traffic laws are not the only legislation that has been enacted as of the first of this month.  One new law limits the amount of damages a plaintiff can be awarded in a personal injury suit.  With the limit fast approaching, the last week of October was an extremely busy one if you happened to be an Oklahoma City personal injury attorney or a civil court clerk in the Oklahoma County District Courthouse. House Bill 2128, which took effect last Tuesday, is part of a push for tort reform.  It caps the award for non-economic damages in a personal injury suit--such as pain and suffering--at $350,000.  Though personal injury lawyers in Oklahoma City say that the vast majority of personal injury litigation will not be affected by the cap, many feel that the law is unfair in capping the amount of compensation for non-economic losses for those who truly deserve financial compensation for their suffering. Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers were working diligently to file lawsuits for cases that may have been affected by the cap had they been filed after November 1.  According to Teresa Becker, head of the civil division of the Oklahoma County District Court Clerk's office, approximately 1,600 lawsuits were filed in October, with the majority of those cases being filed in the final days of the month.  She told the local media that, in a typical month, the court clerk's office sees between 200 and 500 filings.  If her figures hold true, then in the final four business days of October, there were a month's worth of filings each day:

  • Wednesday, October 26 - 200 lawsuits filed
  • Thursday, October 27 - 200 lawsuits filed
  • Friday, October 28 - 300 lawsuits filed
  • Monday, October 31 - 400 lawsuits filed
Though House Bill 2128 places a cap on the amount of damages awarded for pain and suffering and other non-economic impact of a personal injury accident, the $350,000 limit may be exceeded in certain cases of negligence.  A personal injury attorney in Oklahoma City can evaluate any claim to uncover all potential sources of recovery. Another law passed in the name of tort reform is Senate Bill 272.  This law eliminates the possibility of being awarded non-economic damages for people involved in motor vehicle accidents if they do not have required auto insurance.  Some Oklahoma City accident attorneys claim that both House Bill 2128 and Senate Bill 272 are unconstitutional and are determined to fight them.  In the meantime, if you are involved in an accident or injured as a result of another's negligence, contact an experienced Oklahoma City personal injury attorney for an evaluation of your case.