Oklahoma Injury Attorneys Provide Useful Steps You Should Take if Involved in an Accident

Of course, no one plans to be in an accident.  However, the reality is that more than likely one day you will be involved in an accident, either as a driver of a vehicle or as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle. Being involved in an accident can be a frightening event. After an accident, people often find themselves feeling like they should be doing something, but are not exactly sure what they should be doing. If you ever find yourself in in the aftermath of an auto accident, the following are some useful steps you can take to help the situation:

  • Call for help: Obviously the first thing you will want to do is determine if you or anyone else in your vehicle is injured. If so, call 911 or if you are unable to do so, tell a bystander to make the call. Once you have made sure that everyone in your vehicle is okay check to see if other people who were involved in the accident are in need of medical attention.
  • Move to safety: Depending on the severity of the accident, you may or may not be able to drive your vehicle. If you are able to do so, it is smart to move all vehicles and passengers out of the road and to a safe place.
  • Be careful what you say: After an accident, you may feel like you could or should have done something to prevent the accident from happening in the first place. You may even think that you are to blame for the accident. However, despite your feelings it is best not to express these thoughts to others. It is okay to ask others if they are okay, but resist saying something like “I am sorry” which can be viewed as an admittance of guilt.
  • Take down the other drivers’ information: For every car involved in the accident you will want to obtain each driver’s contact and insurance information. If you do not have a pen or paper handy, you can use the phone on your cell phone to photograph insurance cards, license plates and driver’s licenses.
  • Obtain bystander information: If there were any bystanders who witnessed the accident you will want to try to obtain their contact information as well. You do not need to try convince anyone of your innocence, just take down their information for possible later use.
  • Document the scene: If you have the opportunity, take photos of the scene including major damage to vehicles and injuries to yourself and/or your passengers. It is also a good idea to take photos of the location of the accident including any street signs or signage that may be significant.
  • File a police report: In some cases if there are no injuries, police may not report to the scene of an accident. However, it is still important to file a police report within 24 hours.
  • Contact a trusted personal injury attorney: If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries from an accident it is important to seek out the assistance of a well-respected personal injury attorney who can help you through the process of obtaining compensation for your injuries and losses.

 If you or a loved one has sustained injuries after being involved in an automobile accident it is easy to feel overwhelmed. You may have medical bills, lost wages and/or the expense of car repairs or replacement. You may also be dealing with the run around from the insurance company who may be offering you far too little. This is why you need to stop and contact an experienced Oklahoma Injury Attorney. The seasoned Oklahoma Injury Attorneys at The Handle Law Center can help you obtain the compensation that you are owed. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our skilled Oklahoma Injury Attorneys, call The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924.

Oklahoma Injury Attorneys Warn of the Dangers of Extreme Summer Heat on Children

With the official start of summer only weeks away, now is a good time to for parents to refresh themselves on the dangers that summer heat can pose to small children. Just the act of leaving a child in an unattended car for even a short period of time can have devastating consequences. According to data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the leading cause of all non-crash related deaths involving children age 14 years old and younger is heatstroke. Heatstroke accounts for more than 60 percent of fatalities for this age group.

Heatstroke occurs when the body’s internal temperature reaches 105 degrees. The extreme temperature interferes with the brain’s ability to cool off. Heatstroke can cause vomiting, dizziness, lethargy, unconsciousness, and brain damage. When a child’s internal temperature reaches 107 degrees, they can die. One of the main reasons why heatstroke poses such a danger to young children is because a child’s body heats up between three and five times faster than an adult’s body. Therefore, just a few minutes in a hot car can prove to be more than a child’s body can handle. Since 1998, there have been more than 600 deaths from adults leaving children in vehicles in the United States. Thirty one children lost their lives in 2014 alone. Already this year, child vehicular heat stroke has claimed the lives of two children according to the website www.kidsandcars.org.

Unfortunately, many parents and caregivers think that the outside temperature has to at least reach the upper 90s for heatstroke to pose a threat to a child in a car. In fact, when temperatures outside reach the low 80s, the temperature inside of a vehicle can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes, even with the windows of the vehicle rolled down two inches.

The two most common causes for child vehicular heatstroke are:

  1. When a parent or caregiver, who does not usually transport a child as part of his or her regular routine, forgets the quiet sleeping child in the backseat and leaves the child in a parked car.
  2. A child is playing in or around a vehicle and accidentally lock themselves inside the vehicle without a parent or caregiver knowing.

The good news about hot car deaths is that they are 100 percent preventable. To keep your child out of harm as the temperatures increase, keep in mind the following safety tips:

  • To be safe, never leave a child alone in a vehicle. Regardless of whether the windows are rolled down or the car is running with air conditioning on.
  • Make a routine of always checking the backseat of the car before leaving and locking the vehicle. Some tricks that parents and caregivers have used to ensure they do not forget to check the backseat are: 1) put a teddy bear or doll in the child’s car seat and remove it and put it on the passenger seat whenever your child is in the car, and 2) place a purse, briefcase or object you need in the backseat.
  • Teach your children never to play in or around a car.

If your child suffered serious injuries or was killed when someone negligently left him or her in a hot vehicle or from other neglectful behavior in the summer time heat, you need to seek the counsel of a trusted and experienced Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney. The Oklahoma Injury Attorneys at The Handley Law Center will carefully review your case and educate you on your legal options. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our seasoned injury attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924. You can put your trust in the caring and compassionate attorneys at The Handley Law Center to provide you with the highest level of legal services.

Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorneys Warn Motorcyclists of the Dangers of Drunk Drivers

Drunk driving is not only a serious crime, it can also have severe and potentially fatal consequences.  Earlier this month in Norman, Oklahoma, a 24 year old woman was charged with drunk driving and first degree manslaughter after being involved in an automobile accident that killed a 29 year old man. According to preliminary police reports, the woman drove the wrong way down an interstate ramp in an area that was undergoing construction. Her SUV struck the man who was riding on his motorcycle in a head on collision. The man later died of his injuries at a nearby hospital. The woman admitted to police to having consumed alcohol that evening and to having prescription depressant medication in her system at the time of the accident.

Alcohol, which is classified as a depressant drug, slows down a person’s brain and body. Drivers who have consumed alcohol are considered to be “impaired” when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above .08 percent. At this level, alcohol can interfere with a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Alcohol can impair a driver in the following ways:

  • Slows reaction times: Slower reaction times can make a driver unable to properly respond to his or her environment. A driver that would otherwise be able to avoid hitting another car that had to brake suddenly may not be able to effectively do so if he or she is impaired.
  • Alters depth perception: A driver may think he or she is leaving a proper following distance between his or her car and the driver in front of them, when in reality, he or she is actually tailgating the other driver.
  • Impairs reactions: A driver who is under the influence of alcohol most often will not respond in the same manner as if he or she were not under the influence of alcohol. He or she may drift into the right lane and overcorrect this mistake and send his or her car swerving into oncoming traffic.
  • Blurs vision: An impaired driver may not be able to see a traffic sign that warns of construction or a lane ending.
  • Interferes with a person’s judgment: A person who is under the influence of alcohol may feel overconfident in his or her ability to drive, when in fact he or she is significantly impaired. This in turn can cause the person to drive recklessly, such as weaving in and out of lanes or driving at a high rate of speed.

Motorcyclists, due to their smaller size, need to be especially alert for drunk drivers. A major cause of motorcycle accidents are drivers who report “not seeing” the motorcyclist prior to the collision. Drivers who are impaired are at a much higher risk compared to sober drivers, of being in an accident with a motorcycle since alcohol can interfere with the person’s vision and overall alertness. Also even if an impaired motorist is able to “see” the motorcyclist it does not mean that he or she will be able to exercise proper judgment while driving near the cyclist. All motorists should be extra careful if they suspect a driver of another vehicle is drunk and alert police.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a motorcycle accident it is important to seek the advice of experienced Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorneys.  The attorneys at The Handley Law Center are seasoned injury attorneys who have represented countless motorcycle injury victims. At The Handley Law Center our attorneys know and understand just how devastating a motorcycle injury can be for the victim and his or her family. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our seasoned injury attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924. No one fights harder for motorcycle injury victims than us!

Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys Answer Fathers’ Most Commonly Asked Questions about Paternity

When a baby is born in a hospital, there is no doubt as to who the mother of child is. However, the same is not true of the biological father of the child. Therefore, in certain circumstances, the issue of paternity comes about. If you are facing a paternity matter, it is important to know what your rights and responsibilities are in this regard.  With this in mind, the following are some of the most commonly asked questions Oklahoma fathers have about paternity to help you better understand your options:

If a couple is married when a child is born, does the father need to establish paternity?

Married fathers do not have to do anything special to establish paternity. Under Oklahoma law, a husband is automatically assumed to be the natural father of child born to his wife. If a married father believes that he is not the father of the child born to his wife, he can complete a “Denial of Paternity” form and should also seek qualified legal counsel.

If an unmarried father signs the child’s birth certificate, has paternity been established?

The answer to this question is no, which is a shock to many people. The act of an unmarried father signing a child’s birth certificate is not enough to establish that he is the legal father of the child. Nor does the act of signing the birth certificate grant the man any legal rights over the child.    Speak to a lawyer if you have questions about establishing your paternal rights after signing a birth certificate.

How should an unmarried father go about establishing paternity?

One of the easiest ways to establish paternity is for the parents to sign an acknowledgment of paternity form at the time of the child’s birth. This form is usually available at the hospital where the baby is born or at the county health department or local child support office. However, if the mother or the man have any doubts as to whether the man is the natural father of the child, there are options. First, the man can opt to have DNA testing done to confirm he is indeed the biological father of the child. In other cases, the father will need to file a petition with the court to establish paternity.

Should a man have a DNA test done to confirm he is truly the child’s father?

Once paternity is established, it is very difficult and in some cases next to impossible for a man to “undo” the act of becoming the father of the child. If a man has any questions regarding this process, he should speak to an experienced family law attorney before making the decision to sign any documents and ideally, before the child is born.

Once paternity has been established, who has custody of the child?

In Oklahoma, the mother of a child born out of wedlock automatically has sole custody of the child. She does not need to file any papers or take any court action.

If a child’s mother has filed a petition for child support, will her petition be successful if she has not allowed the father visitation with the child?

It is important to realize that in Oklahoma, child support and visitation and/or custody are considered two separate issues. Since the mother of a child born out of wedlock has sole custody of the child, it is her decision whether or not to allow visitation with the father. This is why it is important for a father to not only establish paternity, but to also file a petition for visitation and/or custody. A visitation schedule and/or custody agreement allows the father to have regular parenting time with his child and in the case of custody, to be involved in the decisions affecting the child’s upbringing.

If you are an unmarried father it is vitally important for you to establish paternity of your child or children so that you can be sure that your rights are protected. The first step in this process is to meet with an experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorney. With more than 30 years of experience handling family law related matters, the Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys at The Handley Law Center can help you establish paternity and/or bring a petition for custody and/or visitation. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our skilled family law attorneys, contact The Handley Law Center today at (405) 295-1924.