Oklahoma Car Accident Laws

Cassandra Hamilton
· 6 min read
You’ll need to report car accidents in
to law enforcement. You’ll also need to report it to your insurance company to claim damages or get your medical bills reimbursed.
You never expect an accident to happen. If you’re involved in a collision, it can feel surreal and overwhelming. Afterward, as you’re standing there staring at the remains of your beloved
, you may be left wondering—what’s next?
If you want to be prepared in the case of an accident, brush up on your state’s car accident laws. They can be confusing, which is why
is here with a thorough guide on the Sooner State’s car accident laws. We’ll go over what to do after an accident, the details of Oklahoma’s comparative fault laws, and what to do if a lawsuit is filed.
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What to do after a crash: Oklahoma car accident reporting laws

first priority after a car accident
is making sure you and your passengers are safe. If your vehicle is blocking traffic more than is necessary, move it away from the travel lanes so you don’t cause another accident. You’ll also need to call 911 to get help for anyone who was injured and to report the accident.
It’s important that you document the crash in multiple ways so you have an accurate record later — insufficient documentation is one of the main
reasons claims get denied
. Record your statement on what happened in a note or voice memo, sketch a diagram of what happened, and most importantly, take photographs of the damage and surroundings. You’ll also need to exchange insurance and vehicle information with the other driver—make sure you get details like their car’s make, model, and license plate.
In Oklahoma, you’ll need to report a car accident at least twice, and sometimes three times:
  • To emergency services
  • To your insurance company
  • To the DPS if a settlement has not been reached within six months of the accident
Read on for more information about Oklahoma’s car accident laws.

When to report an accident to the police

You’ll need to notify the police as soon as possible after an accident. The law stipulates that you do so by the quickest means available, which generally means making the call on your cell phone. You’re required by law to report an accident to the police if:
  • Property damage exceeds $500 OR
  • Anyone was injured or killed 
Reporting the accident as quickly as possible to both the police and your insurance company can help speed up the process—especially if you need to file a lawsuit.
It is the responsibility of law enforcement to file an accident report with the DPS, but if the damage is less than $500 but more than $300 and a settlement hasn’t been reached in six months, you’ll need to do it yourself.

When to report an accident to the DPS

You have six months to settle your accident with the other party before you’re required to report it to the DPS. You’ll need to report an accident if it hasn’t reached a settlement after six months if:
  • Anyone was injured
  • Anyone was killed
  • Property damage exceeds $300
Police will only file the report if property damage exceeds $500. That means you need to stay aware of how much property damage there was—if it’s $403, for example, you’ll need to file the DPS report. 
It’s a good idea to double-check if the form was filed or not. If it wasn’t filed, you can
download the form
and submit it yourself. Mail completed forms to:
Department of Public Safety
Records Management Division
P. O. Box 11415
Oklahoma City, OK 73136
Make sure you record all the needed information, like the date and time of the accident, your position in the vehicle, the vehicle information of everyone involved, and whether or not any injuries were apparent. Don’t overlook the supplemental forms, like the diagram and supporting statements

Financial responsibility and coverage minimums: Oklahoma’s insurance laws

Oklahoma is one of 48 states that requires all drivers to purchase car insurance for their vehicles. Oklahoma requires a
minimum of 25/50/25 liability coverage
, which is:
If you’re found to be driving without insurance in Oklahoma, you may have to pay fines, spend time in jail, or have your license suspended. If you are driving uninsured, you could also be hurting your chances of claiming damages after an accident through insurance or in a personal injury lawsuit.
In 2019, the
Insurance Information Institute (III)
conducted a study that found that 13.4% of drivers in Oklahoma are without insurance, even though they could face harsh consequences. Hopefully, you’re one of the 86.6% of drivers who carry at least the minimum requirements for car insurance.
If you think you’re home-free because you carry any insurance at all though, think again. You might need additional
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
in case the other parties involved in the accident have insufficient coverage. While you’re not required to carry this type of coverage, insurance companies are required to offer it.

Claiming damages after an accident: Oklahoma’s personal injury laws

Insurance might not pay enough to cover all your costs. In this case, you’ll need to file a personal injury lawsuit to collect enough damages. You can claim both economic and non-economic damages with a lawsuit:
  • Economic damages are things like medical bills, lost wages, lost employment or business opportunities, property loss, and burial expenses.
  • Non-economic damages cover things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, or inconvenience.
Oklahoma’s statute of limitations is within normal limits. You have two years to bring forth a lawsuit to claim damages in addition to what you’re getting from the insurance company.

Exceptions to Oklahoma’s personal injury laws

Oklahoma does make many exceptions to the statute of limitations when filing a lawsuit. If the person making the claim has a legal disability, is under 18, or has been declared mentally incompetent, they have additional time. People in these circumstances have one year after their disability ends to file a lawsuit (i.e. the person turns 18 or they are declared competent).
Another unique exception is if the person alleged to have caused the injury leaves the state or otherwise conceals themself. In this instance, the statute of limitations only begins once the absence or concealment ends.  

Who’s to blame: Oklahoma’s modified comparative negligence law

After an accident, there’s a lot of finger-pointing as everyone tries to figure out who is at fault. If Dianna fails to yield her left turn at a green light and is struck by Keelan, who is speeding, who is to blame? 
Oklahoma is a
modified comparative negligence state
, which means you can only claim damages in an accident if your fault percentage is less than 50%
In our accident, Dianna is found to be 48% responsible and Keelan is 52% responsible. This means Dianna can claim 52% of her damages—the other 48% has to come out of her pocket. Keelan, on the other hand, can’t claim any damages at all.
Oklahoma encourages its drivers to drive safely and to avoid risky driving behaviors with its comparative negligence laws. Don’t forget that if you get into an accident in another state, you have to follow that state’s comparative negligence laws, not your home state’s laws.
makes choosing new insurance as easy as grocery shopping. Even though I had a car accident within the past two years, Jerry found me a great deal with Nationwide–I went from paying $340 to $90 a month!”—Pan N.
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