Pedestrian Crash On Tulsa IDL Kills Restaurateur
The victim in a legally intricate Inner Dispersal Loop crash has been identified as the Fat Guys Burgers co-owner.
According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Chris Dodge hit a retaining wall near the Second Street intersection. The force of that crash snapped one of the tires off the car, and the vehicle careened onto the median. For unknown reasons, Mr. Dodge exited his car and began walking across Interstate 244.
“Losing Chris is absolutely brutal, but the show must go on,” said Mike Meehan, Mr. Dodge’s business partner. “I just feel horrible for his parents.”
“In legally complex cases, stingy insurance companies get even stingier,” remarked Tulsa personal injury attorney Roger Dodd. “They will say ‘Well, no wonder the guy got hit; he shouldn’t have walked across the highway after dark.’ But there is more to the story.”
In most cases, it is illegal in Oklahoma to walk across an interstate, he continued. A statutory violation which caused the victim’s injuries usually figures prominently in the state’s contributory negligence doctrine.
However, Section 47-11-506 has a loophole. It requires people to only walk on highway shoulders “when practicable.” Typically, car crashes are very disorienting events. So, there’s a good chance that this victim was not thinking clearly when he walked across I-244.
But in this particular case, the insurance company lawyers would not be finished yet, Mr. Dodd remarked. A prior crash, and not the tortfeasor (negligent driver), caused the victim’s disorientation.
To establish this point in court, an attorney could partner with a medical expert.
This doctor reviews the file and then shares his/her conclusions with the jury. However, that does not matter in Oklahoma, Mr. Dodd explained. The Sooner State has a very broad eggshell skull rule. This doctrine states that tortfeasors take victims as they find them. If a pre-existing condition contributed to the injury, the tortfeasor is still 100 percent responsible for the whole injury. Both these things are relevant in terms of contributory negligence. Oklahoma is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent bar. If the tortfeasor is at least 51 percent responsible for the crash; then the victim is entitled to a proportional share of damages.