According to the CDC, there were 2,563 deaths caused by accidents in Oklahoma in 2017. These accidents can include a variety of circumstances, but some of them result in wrongful death claims. If someone dies due to the negligence of another person or legal entity, such as a business, a case could be brought against them to seek compensation. To make this happen, it’s important to have a skilled wrongful death lawyer on your side. There are many things to consider when making a wrongful death claim if you want to get the best results or even decide whether making a claim is the right choice.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is a death where the negligence or carelessness of another is a contributing factor in the death. In Oklahoma, a wrongful death is defined by Oklahoma Statutes Chapter 12, Section 1053, as a “when the death of one is caused by the wrongful act of another.” The wrongful act could be international, reckless, or negligent. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil suit that can be brought if the person would have been able to file a personal injury claim if they had lived. In other words, it allows a personal injury claim to be filed on behalf of the deceased.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, there is a time limit of two years from the person’s death given to file a wrongful death claim. This is known as the statute of limitations and means that the case will most likely be thrown out by the court if filing after this time. Before filing a wrongful death claim, it’s important to keep this in mind and ensure you are still within the statute of limitations.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit might be filed by a number of different people. A personal representative is assigned to represent the deceased in the court case. This is usually a person named in the deceased’s estate planning documents or an immediate family member if there is no named person. In rare circumstances, a third party may act on the deceased’s behalf if it is in the public interest, and there is no one named in the estate planning documents and no close relatives.
What Expenses Can Be Claimed in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Another thing to take into account is the expenses that you can claim when filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The Oklahoma statute named above sets out what you can claim in damages.
You are allowed to file for:
- Medical care and burial expenses – any costs associated with medical care before the death, as well as burial and funeral costs. The compensation will be paid to the person or government agency that paid the expenses or to the deceased person’s estate if the estate paid.
- The grief and loss of companionship – received by the surviving spouse, children, or parents.
- The mental pain and anguish suffered by surviving parties – the spouse/children or next of kin may receive damages for the pain and anguish suffered between the injury and the time of death.
- Any pecuniary loss of the survivors – the spouse and/or children or next of kin may receive damages relating to the loss of income or other monetary support.
Some of these figures are more straightforward, such as medical and burial expenses. These are economic damages that compensate for the material and financial loss that results from the death. Non-economic losses include intangible damages, such as mental anguish, which don’t have a defined dollar amount.
Do You Have a Wrongful Death Case?
This isn’t necessarily a very easy question to answer. You might be certain that you have a clear cut case, or you could be unsure about whether it’s worth pursuing. Losing someone you love is a very emotional and difficult thing to experience, and sorting through all of your feelings to think logically can be tough. What’s more, you’re unlikely to have the legal knowledge that a qualified attorney has.
If you want to know more about whether you have a viable case for a wrongful death claim, the most important thing that you can do is see an attorney. A free consultation will allow you to discuss your case and get an initial idea of whether you should pursue it further. You won’t have to pay anything, and a good lawyer will treat you kindly but be honest with you at the same time.
Who Can Help with a Wrongful Death Claim
If you want to make a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one who died, you need an attorney who can support you. Lawyers who specialize in personal injury and wrongful death have the knowledge and experience to assist you in your case and help you to get the best result possible.
They can start by discussing whether you have a strong case and what damages you might be able to claim. It’s important to know your options and understand whether bringing a wrongful death suit is the right thing to do.
Experienced wrongful death lawyers will take a compassionate approach to dealing with your case. They understand the difficulty of losing someone you love and the stress of fighting for justice, as well as handling the financial consequences.
The right attorney can help with communicating with insurance companies, investigating the circumstances of your loved one’s death, calculating your expenses, and more. If your wrongful death case needs to go to court, they can help with this too.
Remember that a wrongful death claim in Oklahoma needs to be filed within two years. Get in touch with an attorney as soon as you are able to find out whether you have a case. You have nothing to lose from arranging a free consultation, so contact an experienced wrongful death attorney to help you by taking a look at your case.
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