It’s springtime in Oklahoma, which means warm weather is in full swing. While there’s nothing quite like rolling down the car windows and going for a drive on a bluebird morning here in Green Country, it’s easy for some drivers to get a little too caught up in all that spring fever. From speedy drivers to solar glare, there are plenty of springtime hazards that threaten even the most careful drivers.
If you do end up involved in a springtime auto accident, you count on your auto insurance policy to cover the damage. But sadly, some insurers will try to weasel out of paying what’s due – a practice known as bad faith. At Tim Gilpin Law Office, we help victims of bad faith insurance get what they’re owed. Here’s what you need to know about bad faith auto insurance in Oklahoma.
Good Faith Versus Bad Faith
Anytime you pay an insurance company, you’re doing so with a belief that they’ll hold up their end of the bargain when you need them to pay out. For Oklahoma auto insurance companies, good faith means a commitment to investigate your claim and pay out anything they’re contractually obligated to pay. Since insurance companies make more money when they pay out less, some will go out of their way to avoid paying out claims.
These are just a few of the slippery methods some bad faith insurers will use to avoid paying up what they owe:
- Denying claims outright
- Undervaluing repair costs
- Delaying claim payment
- Hidden fees and policy misrepresentation
- Failure to renew future coverage
The Implications of Bad Faith Practices
Make no mistake – any attempt to cut their costs using deception to avoid paying out what you’re owed according to your contract constitutes a bad faith practice. And the consequences can be very real for drivers waiting on a greedy insurance company to cut them a check.
Most of us depend on our vehicles to get back and forth to work, take our kids to school, visit the doctor’s office, or even fulfill basic needs for our families. For most drivers, every day without a vehicle constitutes a hardship. It’s a hardship that only mounts when you’re in need of extra medical care after a car accident. No matter what your circumstances, every day your policy doesn’t pay up is one day too many.
Help for Your Bad Faith Auto Insurance Claim
If your insurance company is giving you the runaround or lowballing you on a claim, they’re most likely breaking the law. Fortunately, Oklahoma has regulations in place to protect drivers from just such abuses.
When arguing with the insurance company isn’t getting you anywhere, it’s time to call a bad faith insurance attorney like Tim Gilpin who understands your rights inside and out. Tim can help you read through the fine print of your policy and bring a claim that forces your insurance company to pay out. You may even be owed damages to cover additional expenses like pain and suffering.
Anytime you’re filing an auto insurance claim, be sure to follow these steps:
1. Look over your contract.
Keep a copy of your policy on file in your personal records. Anytime you’ve been involved in an auto accident, take the time to look over your policy before filing a claim – you’d be surprised at what your insurance company might be liable to cover.
2. Maintain records.
Keeping good records can be the difference that keeps bad faith insurers from weaseling out of payment. Keep a complete record of photos, receipts, and phone calls associated with your car accident claim.
3. Document insurance company interactions.
To keep your insurer from stringing you along with delays, take notes on every interaction with your insurance company.
4. Contact an attorney.
If you’re beginning to suspect that your insurance company is acting in bad faith, it’s time to call Tim Gilpin and begin the bad faith lawsuit process.
Get Help from Tim Gilpin
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident and you’re having a hard time getting the insurance company to pay out, give Tim a call. And remember: there’s no fee if there’s no recovery. Call Tim today at 918.583.8900 to get your legal evaluation started today.
If there’s anything we can count on living in Oklahoma, it’s unpredictable weather. With warm weather finally in full swing, we’ve already had a handful of wild weather fronts come sweeping down the plains this season. Three Oklahomans have tragically lost their lives already this year amid a rash of deadly tornadoes, and it’s only the beginning of tornado season.
It can be incredibly daunting to get your life and business back on track after a storm. But having access to the important information you need to keep things moving forward is essential to the storm recovery process. Whether you’re a business owner or a remote work employee, here’s what you need to know.
Keeping Essential Documents Safe
We can’t emphasize enough the importance of being able to access crucial information after a disaster. On the personal side of things, when you’re struggling with the physical and emotional impact of a disaster, the last thing you need is to have no proof of identification or insurance information to help you start getting your life back on track. As a business owner or remote employee, the ability to access important documents can help ensure continuity and protect your clients or company from a data breach.
Make a list of every record you need to back up or keep track of in the event that you’re forced to evacuate your home. Here’s a FEMA-recommended list of the most important documents to back up or gather in such an emergency:
Social security cards
Personal contact list
Business contact list
Health provider contact information
Health insurance cards
Financial Records and Information
Safe deposit box keys
Debit and credit card information
If you work remotely, you should also include a copy of your employer’s protocols in case of an emergency.
Creating an Emergency Contact List
Be sure to include everyone you might potentially need to connect with during or after an emergency on your contact list. We tend to rely on our phones to “remember” numbers for us these days. During an emergency, you may become separated from your phone or even be unable to power it on. It’s even possible that you might not have service depending on the type of emergency.
Don’t forget to include these numbers on your contact list:
- Property management or leasing company
- Insurance providers’ contact information
- Your attorney’s contact information
- Preferred contractors and services including plumber, general contractor, electrician, towing, and tree removal service
Backing Up Your Documents
Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s enough to keep your important documents in a safe location inside your home. In today’s world, there’s no reason why every important photo or document can’t be digitally backed up.
Follow these steps to ensure your documents will be safe in case of an emergency:
- Scan all of your important documents.
- Upload them to a secure cloud-based system.
- Make sure everything is password-protected.
- Be sure to check your backup system regularly.
- Understand and follow any relevant remote work protocols.
- Store your originals off-site in a safe deposit box or someplace safe.
- Keep a flash drive with digital versions stored in your home emergency kit.
When things are chaotic in the wake of a disaster, maintaining good communication can go to ensure your clients and business partners that your operation isn’t going anywhere and their data, investment, or money is safe.
While creating your business disaster plan, be sure to plan ahead for the following:
- Update your website and social media pages to let clients know where to contact you and what’s going on.
- Update your voicemail messages.
- Consider sending out a general text message.
- Contact clients directly via text message, phone call, or email.
- Confirm all appointments and reassure clients.
- Manage expectations to let everyone know what to expect if you anticipate any delays.
Follow Cybersecurity Best Practices
If a disaster finds you unexpectedly working remotely, it’s important to understand and follow these safe cybersecurity practices:
- Never use public wifi for business communications.
- Turn on “Find My Device” so your device can be easily located if you become separated from it.
- Encrypt all emails and sensitive data.
- If you work for someone else, report any potential security issues right away.
Call Gilpin Law Office if You Need an Attorney
Recovering from a disaster is always challenging. But having the right people on your team can make all the difference. Tim Gilpin helps Oklahomans with bad faith insurance claims, wrongful termination, and more. To get your free consultation, give Gilpin Law Office a call today.
Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about window safety. But when there are young children around a home, safety issues adults take for granted can suddenly pose very real safety hazards. That’s why legislation enacted to protect children and bring awareness to these hazards is so important. In this post from Tim Gilpin Law Office, we’re taking a closer look at Evan’s Law and how it protects children from tragic accidents.
The Need for Window Safety
The death of a child is always tragic. But when that child’s death is preventable, it’s important to ensure that tragedy is never repeated – as with the tragic accident that took the life of Evan English in 2011.
Just shy of his fifth birthday, Evan was a bright blue-eyed child who lived with his parents Jason and Ami English and three siblings. Described by his mom as a loving, intelligent, and sensitive child, Evan was already reading and learning second-grade math despite his young age. The family had only been living in Hawaii for a few months when they were offered a beautiful, brand-new home located in Honolulu’s military housing. They were enjoying a beautiful sunny day in their new home when Evan fell through an insect screen from a second-story window, fatally falling to the concrete below.
Although Evan would never realize his dream of growing up to be Superman, thanks to Evan’s Law, he has likely saved many children from preventable window accidents. Owing to their size and curiosity, children five years and younger are the age most commonly injured in window and balcony falls.
Proposed in 2017 by Ohio Congressman Mike Turner, Evan’s Law changed the building codes on privatized military housing to prevent accidents like the one that took Evan’s life from hurting future children. In 2019, that law was expanded to require even stronger safety codes. At the same time, it created a Department of Defense grant for retrofitting homes already in existence.
Preventing Child Window Falls
Although Evan’s Law provides important protections for families, it sadly only applies to military housing. And sadly, children in non-military homes and apartments are injured every day in the United States. According to Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, around 4,000 children are treated annually at emergency rooms after falling from windows, while more than 2.2 million children are treated for a wide range of fall-related injuries. As many as 12 children each year die from window falls.
Whether you’re a parent or a property owner where children may play, here are some key steps you can take to keep kids safe:
Never rely on insect screens to prevent falls.
Insect screens are meant to keep bugs out, not to prevent egress. And in the event of a fire, that’s a good thing. But because insect screens are so easy to remove, they’ll pop out when very little pressure is applied – a serious hazard for curious kids.
Install stops and guards.
If there’s a chance young children or pets will be in your space, window stops and guards are affordable and easy to install.
Teach window safety.
Talk to your kids about window safety from a young age. Older kids can be especially helpful when it comes to making sure their siblings remember the rules.
Move furniture away from the window.
Don’t make it easy for little ones to climb up to the window. Make sure there is nothing kids can climb on to reach the window latch and open it.
Keep dangerous areas off-limits.
If your home or apartment has a second-story balcony, don’t allow your kids to play there. Instead, encourage kids by creating other safe spaces for them to play in.
When Negligence Causes Injuries
One of the most difficult decisions Evan’s parents had to make was whether to pursue a lawsuit after their son’s negligence-related death. They decided to go ahead with a claim against the U.S. government and the contractor after they realized it could bring light to the seriousness of window fall negligence.
The reality is that a wrongful death or negligent injury claim is often the only way to hold responsible parties accountable so it doesn’t happen to someone else in the future. If someone you love has been injured due to another party’s negligence, call Tim Gilpin and get a free consultation today.
A commercial truck, semi, or tractor-trailer wreck devastates everyone involved because of the size and weight of those vehicles. And getting the responsible parties to pay often requires help from an experienced personal injury attorney with a background in truck accident settlements.
When you need a compassionate law firm to get your Oklahoma truck accident settlement, Tim Gilpin at Gilpin Law Firm is the right one to call. Here’s what you need to know about determining fault in an Oklahoma commercial vehicle accident.
The Impact of Commercial Trucking Accidents
There’s always a reason for a truck crash. Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure to work long hours and haul more loads at maximum speeds. Unfortunately, this pressure comes while they’re sharing public highways and roads with passenger vehicles. Worse, the damage usually goes beyond medical bills and vehicle damage.
The harm can be extensive, including:
- Lost wages
- Loss of use of your vehicle
- Physical scarring or disfigurement
- Temporary disability
- Permanent disability
- Mental pain and suffering
- Physical pain and suffering
- Prolonged recovery period impacting the victim’s family
- Wrongful death
Causes of Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” to dig deeper into the causes of these dangerous commercial vehicle accidents. The results were staggering.
The study found driver performance to be the critical reason in about 9 of 10 wrecks where the truck driver was the primary cause of the crash. Here’s how those driver performance issues break down:
- Driving over the speed limit: At-fault truck drivers were often found to be speeding and/or unfamiliar with the road.
- Impaired or distracted driving: Some faulty truck drivers were using over-the-counter drugs, were poorly supervised, fatigued, under work pressure to over-perform, distracted, texting while driving, or just not paying attention.
- Mechanical negligence: Mechanical truck problems that helped cause a truck accident included brake problems, tire problems, and shifting cargo.
- Type of commercial vehicle: Commercial vehicle accident statistics involve semi-trucks, dumptrucks, box trucks, and multi-axle flat-bed trucks that ordinarily drive our highways hauling big loads. Buses and light commercial trucks also account for a significant number of commercial vehicle accidents.
Determining Fault in Commercial Highway Accidents
Whenever a commercial truck is involved in a wreck, the truck driver, that truck driver’s employer, and any contractors involved with the truck’s load may be responsible. An experienced truck accident lawyer identifies everyone and every entity that is liable or responsible for the negligence. If a settlement out of court cannot be reached, an experienced injury lawyer can go to court for just compensation.
Using federal, and state laws and trucking regulations, an experienced personal injury attorney proves the truck driver and his or her employer had a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care, failed to exercise that duty, and that failure caused injury and loss to the plaintiff(s). An experienced injury lawyer begins by gathering the evidence needed to prove negligence including police reports and investigations, witnesses, driver’s logs, truck maintenance logs, truck company training, or even financial records. Expert witnesses are often used to establish a truck driver’s duties and how trucking transportation companies typically meet their duties to hire good drivers, supervise them, and maintain semi-tractor trailer trucks.
Contact an Expert Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney
Insurance and trucking companies will sometimes hold a “carrot” out and offer a quick settlement. But beware that someone who settles early is often unable to collect costs and damages later discovered. While it’s easy to take the bait, medical bills may not arrive for weeks after related treatment ends, and in a serious accident, care providers might recommend additional or future care. Either way, you need an attorney who is experienced with Oklahoma car accident settlements to make sure you get the compensation you’re owed.
If you’re dealing with the fallout from a commercial driver’s negligence, don’t wait for the debt to pile up. Tim Gilpin of Gilpin Law Office has been successfully representing victims of trucking accidents and highway crashes for over 34 years. Tim offers a free consultation and no attorney fee if there is no recovery. Call Tim today at 918.583.8900 and schedule your no-obligation consultation.