Losing a loved one can be a tragic experience, even when death is expected. What can be especially shocking, though, is when a person dies well before their time as a result of the negligence of another party.
At the Cain Law Office, our Oklahoma City wrongful death attorneys are passionate about helping surviving family members pursue justice in the form of financial compensation after a loved one’s death. We are here to guide you through the law and your legal options and answer any questions you may have. Please reach out to us today for a free consultation about your wrongful death claim.
<h2id=”wrongful-death” class=”toc-heading”>What Is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil action that alleges that the death of a person would not have occurred but for the wrongful act or neglect of the named defendant. In order to win a wrongful death action, a plaintiff must establish:
- The defendant owed the victim a duty of care.
- The defendant breached the duty of care owed to the victim as a result of neglect or a wrongful act.
- The death would not have occurred but for the breach of that duty of care.
In addition to the elements listed above, a plaintiff must also prove the extent of damages that have been suffered as a result of the wrongful death, including economic and noneconomic harm incurred by the deceased’s estate or/and family members.
How Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help Your Family
When you work with our Oklahoma City wrongful death lawyer, we will handle all aspects of your case from start to finish.
- The process begins with a no-cost, no-obligation consultation where we review all of the details of your case and answer your questions.
- From there, we will open an investigation into your loved one’s death to determine the cause of death and identify the liable party. If necessary, this process will involve various experts and other professionals, all of whom we will hire on your behalf.
- Once we have gathered enough evidence to prove negligence, causation, and the extent of damages, our team members will work diligently to build your case and present a demand letter to the insurance company.
- We will aggressively negotiate a settlement offer for you, represent you in all conversations with the insurance company, and file a lawsuit for the purpose of litigating your case before a jury if need be.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Oklahoma?
Only certain parties are lawfully allowed to bring forth a wrongful death claim in Oklahoma, although damages can be recovered for the purpose of beneficiaries of the decedent/the decedent’s estate.
Per Oklahoma wrongful death law, only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate has the right to bring forth a wrongful death action. Typically, the personal representative is named within the victim’s will. If no will or other legal document exists to designate a personal representative, the court may assign one.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
Oklahoma law also provides a list of the types of damages that are recoverable in a wrongful death claim. Damages may include:
- Medical expenses – If the decedent or the decedent’s estate incurred any medical expenses prior to death that were associated with the fatal accident and injury, compensation for these costs in full is recoverable.
- Burial expenses – The personal representative of the deceased may seek compensation, on the behalf of the decedent’s estate, for the full value of funeral and burial expenses incurred.
- Loss of consortium and grief of the surviving spouse – This type of compensation is more difficult to calculate, for obvious reasons. Loss of consortium and grief of the surviving spouse damages that are recovered are to be distributed directly to the surviving spouse.
- Mental pain and anguish suffered by the deceased – If the decedent experienced any suffering prior to death, the victim’s surviving spouse and children are entitled to damages for this type of noneconomic loss.
- Pecuniary loss to survivors – When a family member dies, the death often means a loss of income and other financial losses for surviving family members. An award of pecuniary damages can be made to survivors. This amount will be calculated based on factors such as the decedent’s age, occupation, earning capacity, health, and the life expectancy of the decedent had death not occurred.
- Grief and loss of companionship suffered by children and parents – If the decedent is a parent or a child (of surviving parents), the children or parents can recover compensation for grief and loss of companionship.
Oklahoma Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims
In order to retain your right to a wrongful death lawsuit in Oklahoma, it is imperative that you file your case within the statute of limitations, which is two years from the date of death. If you wait longer than the two-year deadline to take action, you may be permanently barred from compensation.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Our Oklahoma City wrongful death attorneys have been advocating for the families of those who have died due to the wrongful acts of others for more than 20 years. We have successfully handled numerous types of wrongful death cases. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death include:
- Truck accidents
- Car accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Dangerous premises
- Defective products
- Nursing home abuse
- Workplace injuries
If your loved one has been killed in an accident type that you do not see listed above, please do not hesitate to contact our Oklahoma wrongful death attorneys regardless for your free consultation.