Protecting Business Owners in the State of Oklahoma

A business or individual has a limited time during which they may proceed with legal action against an Oklahoma business or private citizen.  The statute of limitations varies according to each unique charge or loss event and is governed by the State of Oklahoma.

Why is it important to place a statute of limitations on legal offenses?  The law seeks to prevent people or businesses from threatening to sue indefinitely; if they have a grievance, they should take legal action immediately, and not essentially ‘hold it over the head’ of any business owner or private citizen.

The second reason that statutes of limitations exist, is to protect the integrity of material evidence in the legal suit.  That can include physical evidence, statements from witnesses, business records and computer data that may be involved in the case.  The more time that lapses between the event and when legal action is taken, the harder it may become to produce accurate material evidence for the case.

In the State of Oklahoma, statutes of limitations are defined for each of the following injury and loss events that may occur.   It’s important to note that the statutes of limitations in Oklahoma can change, and it is always best to consult with an Attorney regarding the details of your liability concerns or intent to sue for damages as soon as possible.

If you intend to pursue legal action against a business or private citizen, contact our team at Compton Law Firm as soon as possible to schedule a legal consultation.  Our Attorney’s will review your case details and provide you with a summary and next step to start legal action. 

Summary of Common Civil Offenses and Statutes of Limitations in Oklahoma

Learn about the standard statutes of limitations for residents of Oklahoma, when they have considered legal action against a business or a private citizen.

1. Injury to a Person

This includes but is not limited to slip and fall injuries, acts of violence, or injuries sustained by a victim of a motor vehicle collision, where the at-fault driver was negligent or impaired.  Civil claims for injury to a person can seek to compensate for medical expenses (hospital treatment and rehabilitation care) as well as medical accommodations or improvements to the residential home of victim, and any expenses not covered by the victim’s personal insurance coverage.

What happens if an injured victim does have healthcare insurance? The compensation claim can include co-pays and out of pocket expenses that were not covered by their private vehicle insurer or health insurance. Depending on the severity of the injury, this may also include loss of income factors, and negative impact on overall employability and quality of life.

Statute of Limitation in Oklahoma: 2 yrs. Tit. 12 §95(4)

2. Acts of Fraud

We would like to hope that every business would govern themselves with legal integrity.  However, we know that acts of consumer fraud happen sometimes willfully, and at times without intent, when business owners do not understand what constitutes acts of fraud.

Did you knowingly sell a product or service that promised a result, or value to a consumer that was not delivered?  Fraud cases can include accepting payment for services not delivered, acts of embezzlement, deceptive advertising, and unfair or predatory business practices.

Some of the most common fraud cases in Oklahoma happen after a natural disaster, such as flooding or a catastrophic storm or tornado.  When large scale damage occurs, many local and sometimes interstate businesses can offer repair or restoration services that are not certified or legitimate, resulting in consumer complaints.

Statue of Limitation in Oklahoma: 2 yrs. Tit. 12 §95(3)

3. Injury or Damage to Personal Property

Commercial property owners can find themselves in a case of legal problems, when a tenant has done damage to the leased facility.  This can include (but is not limited to) floor and wall damage, removal of elements such as lighting or fixtures, water damage and other problems. 

It is best legal practice for all commercial property owners to have a lease reviewed by an Oklahoma Attorney to ensure that the responsibilities for tenants regarding property damage are fully outlined.  Your contract with your tenant should clearly state their responsibility for inspecting the premises before they lease, and agreeing to return the commercial property in the same condition that it was initially provided in.

Statute of Limitation in Oklahoma: 2 yrs. Tit. 12 §95(3)

3. Trespassing Offenses

Do you have commercial or residential properties that are vacant, and have an issue with people accessing those properties for personal use?  This can include storing vehicles, containers or other articles on your property.

Statute of Limitation in Oklahoma: 2 yrs. Tit. 12 §95(3)

4. Collection of Residential or Commercial Rents

If you are a landlord, and you have evicted a tenant from your commercial or residential property, you have a lengthy period of time to file litigation against your former tenant.  This is a common occurrence for property owners who lease to private citizens or other commercial businesses.

The statute of limitations for collection of residential or commercial rents in Oklahoma provides the same grace period as any collection of debt on a private or commercial account. 

Statute of Limitation in Oklahoma: 5 yrs. Tit. 12 §95(11)

5. Libel, Defamation or Slander

As a private citizen of Oklahoma, what you say about other people or businesses can have legal ramifications.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion formed on personal experiences with another individual or business, but when you use your opinion to create harm, you cross a legal line where what you say can make you liable for a defamation or slander suit.

A negative comment or a review of an Oklahoma business is not enough to warrant legal action for defamation.  For instance, if you had a negative experience with a business and you left a Google Review to share that experience (without threatening violence), you are within your right to do so.  However, sometimes people are so angry at a business or individual that their commentary becomes obsessive and harassing.  And that’s when legal problems start.

For instance, if you are commenting on social media negatively about a business, repeatedly placing comments that devalue an individual, accuse them of something illegitimately (without proof) or use multiple channels to make your opinion known, you may be engaging in slander.

The intention is key.  Are you trying to harm the business or the individual and their livelihood with your harassing comments?  Are you actively working to discourage other people from doing business or engaging with the individual?  Do your comments pose a real threat to the reputation, personal safety or business revenues of a company? 

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you could be sued in civil court for damages pertaining to libel, defamation or slander of an individual or business.

Statute of Limitation in Oklahoma: 1 yr. Tit. 12 §95(4)

 

The above deadlines will help you and your legal advisors to better evaluate your options for strategic litigation or risk management. Contact our team at Compton Law Firm to schedule a consultation for your business law case.

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