Posted in Negligence on October 30, 2013
Tulsa police have arrested a Neva Whiteman for causing the death of Zachery Edens. Edens was riding his motorcycle when Whiteman turned left in front of him causing the accident. According to reports, Edens tried to avoid the collision by laying his motorcycle down, but he was unable to avoid the accident with Whiteman. Edens died as a result of his injuries.
The accident highlights the dangers posed by inattentive drivers. Under Oklahoma law, drivers who cause accidents because of texting or other forms of inattentive driving may be held liable for the injuries and damages they cause. Victims of inattentive driving may recover compensatory damages for their injuries from a variety of sources, including the offending driver’s insurance company, from their own uninsured motorist coverage, or from the at-fault driver.
Although fault may appear straight-forward to the victim, insurance companies will typically look for reasons to minimize the damages. In the Edens case, a strong likelihood exists that the insurance company will blame Mr. Edens for his own injuries. This is true even though Ms. Whiteman was the at-fault driver. Why? Because reports indicate that Mr. Edens was not wearing a helmet. So, even though the accident would never have occurred but for the negligence of Ms. Whiteman, and even though Oklahoma law does not require helmets, the insurance company will argue that Mr. Edens’s own negligence caused or contributed to his injuries. The insurance company will then use this argument to leverage a reduced damage award.
Retaining an experienced attorney can often help a victim navigate the process and negotiate with the insurance companies. A lawyer familiar with motorcycle accidents and collisions caused by inattentive drivers can more readily identify the information and evidence necessary to defend against accusations of contributory negligence.