You may be able to file a claim for compensation based on the wrongful death of someone else in Cushing, OK. To find out, partner with a lawyer. Then, a Cushing personal injury lawyer can discuss your legal options with you.
BDIW Law has attorneys on staff who represent a wide range of clients. Our Cushing wrongful death lawyer can review your case and help you determine the best course of action. To learn more, contact us today.
How a Wrongful Death Claim Works
A wrongful death happens when a person or business commits an unlawful act against another. The at-fault party may do so intentionally, recklessly, or negligently. They may be responsible due to an act of omission, too.
For example, a motorist may choose to drive while intoxicated. In this example, the driver can cause a car accident and kill the other motorist. At this point, the at-fault motorist may be subject to civil and criminal charges — and some people could sue this individual on behalf of the deceased person (decedent).
Along with auto accidents, wrongful death claims are submitted based on defective products, slip and fall incidents, and many other reasons. If you believe you have a viable claim, the team at BDIW Law can help you out. Reach out to us to speak with our Cushing wrongful death attorney.
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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Anyone who has been named a personal representative of a decedent’s estate is able to file a claim, per Oklahoma Statutes §12-1053. If the deceased person has a will, they may name a surviving spouse, child, parent, or anyone else as a representative. In instances where no representative has been named, the court may appoint one as part of a probate action.
If a personal representative files a lawsuit and gets damages, they do not necessarily keep all of the compensation that is awarded. Damages are distributed based on whether an estate plan is in place. If no such plan is in effect, Oklahoma’s inheritance laws determine how compensation is allocated.
Do not wait too long to file a claim. There is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits, according to Oklahoma Statute §12-95. A wrongful death lawyer in Cushing can make sure that your claim is submitted before the window to do so expires.
Steps to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Hiring a wrongful death attorney in Cushing is ideal. Your lawyer can take a look at your case and explain the steps to file your lawsuit. These steps include:
1. Open an Estate
You and your attorney can submit documents to a probate court and appoint a personal representative. Any compensation that you recover will go into your estate. If no will was established, you can choose the representative.
2. File an Insurance Claim
Submit an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s provider. For example, a motorist can crash their car into another driver’s vehicle and cause a fatality. If this happens, you can file a claim with the at-fault motorist’s insurer.
3. List Your Damages
Ask for economic and non-economic damages for medical bills, burial expenses, and other quantifiable and subjective losses. Your attorney can calculate your damages. If the at-fault party does not pay the full amount of your losses, your lawyer can submit a personal injury lawsuit.
4. Get a Settlement
If you receive a settlement offer that lines up with your expectations, accept the proposal and distribute your damages accordingly. On the other hand, if you bring your case to trial, your attorney advocates for you and presents your argument. In the best-case scenario, you get 100% of the damages you request.
How much your claim is worth depends on the losses that you have incurred and other factors. You may get both economic and non-economic damages. There are instances where punitive damages are also awarded to deter an at-fault party from future acts of negligence.
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How to Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
There is a high burden of proof in cases where one party argues that another is responsible for a person’s death. To meet this burden, you may need evidence and witness statements to support your claim. You must show that the following elements of negligence were present when the decedent was killed:
- Duty of Care: The at-fault party had a legal obligation to act in a way that would not harm anyone.
- Breach of Duty of Care: This party ignored their obligation and acted in a way that caused harm.
- Causation: Since the party violated their duty, they caused someone to die.
- Damages: An individual was killed, which left their family or others with losses.
No two personal injury cases are exactly alike. As such, the argument you build for your case may be different than the one that another plaintiff uses. Your attorney crafts your legal strategy based on the facts of your case.
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How to Get the Damages You Request in Your Wrongful Death Case
You are responsible for the burden of proof in your lawsuit. If you do not prepare a compelling argument, a judge or jury may rule in the defendant’s favor. At this point, you are solely responsible for your losses.
To secure damages, you must be able to show that the at-fault party was at least 50% responsible. Otherwise, you may not be eligible to collect damages. This is due to the fact that comparative negligence applies in Oklahoma personal injury cases.
Based on the comparative negligence standard, an at-fault party must be 50% or more accountable to pay compensation. If the defendant in your case is found to be primarily responsible, you can get damages. Conversely, if the defendant shows that they are less than 50% responsible, they may have to pay less compensation than what you originally requested or no damages at all.
File Your Wrongful Death Claim
If you are ready to submit your claim, BDIW Law is here for you. Our team can help you file your claim right away. To schedule a free case consultation, contact us today.
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