Claims Against the State of Oklahoma for Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries
Accidents involving government entities and their employees are far more complex than a typical accident. This is because of a law that gives the government immunity from civil lawsuits. Under the Government Tort Claims Act, the state, and its employees, when acting within the scope of their job, are immune from car accident liability subject to certain exceptions.
Per Oklahoma Statute §51-155 the state or any of its political subdivisions will not be liable if a loss or claim results from –
- the absence, condition, location or malfunction of any traffic sign, signal, or warning device, unless it is not corrected within a reasonable time after actual or constructive notice
- the maintenance of the state highway system or any portion thereof unless you can show proof that either the state failed to warn of an unsafe condition, or that you would not have suffered the loss if not for the negligence of the state
This means that the government may be liable for certain types of road hazards, as well as –
- Line of sight obstructions
- Pavement edge drops
- Construction zones that aren’t properly marked
- Unreasonably dangerous railroad crossings
Accidents that occur on icy, snowy, or wet roads wouldn’t be the government’s fault unless the State did something to cause the condition.
You, the claimant, will have to prove they were negligent in their duty to warn you of hazards or because they failed to correct hazardous conditions. The Government Tort Claims Act also limits the amount of time you have to do this. While the statute of limitations for personal injury and property damage is two years, claims made against the government must be filed within a much shorter time frame. While there is no cap on economic losses in Oklahoma, damages are capped in claims against the State. Punitive damages cannot be awarded in claims against the State either. These types of damages can be considered as a punishment or deterrent for grossly negligent acts.