The trauma from a loved one’s death can be a heavy burden to bear, but that burden only gets heavier when you know their death occurred because of another’s wrongful act and could have been prevented.
A wrongful death case is often characterized as a death resulting from the negligence and reckless or wrongful actions of an involved party that could have been avoided if all of the involved parties had acted properly.
The Oklahoma wrongful death lawyers at BDIW Law can explain the possibilities of suing individuals, groups, or organizations because their actions caused your loss. BDIW Law’s wrongful death attorneys in Oklahoma can help you navigate the complex legal issues that are involved in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Defining Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Oklahoma
If another person or entity acts recklessly or negligent and that action results in someone’s death, the estate of the deceased person could file a wrongful death lawsuit. According to Oklahoma law, a wrongful death case results on an occasion when the deceased could have filed a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties had they survived. Any number of situations can result in a wrongful death claim, but a few common cases involve:
- An incident concerning negligence like a car accident
- Medical malpractice
- A malicious or intentional act like a crime
Like in personal injury lawsuits, receiving damages or financial compensation determines the success of a wrongful death case. The difference is that the defendant is made to pay the deceased’s estate or his surviving loved ones.
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Filing an Oklahoma Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Different states have varying rules concerning who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Certain states allow a decedent’s surviving family members to file, but in Oklahoma, a personal representative or executor of the deceased’s estate has to file a wrongful death claim. In many situations, a decedent has already named who will be their personal representative in their will or their estate plan.
The personal representative brings the case to court in lieu of the decedent and their beneficiaries or heirs. Often, spouses act as personal representatives. But it is also common for parents, children, or siblings to hold the position. Typically, the decedent’s family members are out to serve the wishes and interests of the deceased and their estate.
If family members cannot decide on an executor that can represent everyone involved and the estate, a neutral third party can be appointed. The court usually appoints a personal representative in cases where there was no executor named, or if the personal representative is not willing or able to serve.
The Statute of Limitations
Oklahoma law has specified an amount of time that wrongful death claims must be filed. The claim should be filed within two years of the decedent’s death. The court can refuse to hear the case if it is not filed within two years.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Oklahoma can be complicated. It is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney early to discuss and evaluate the case. They can explain how the law works and how it applies to your specific circumstances.
Types of Damages Recovered in an Oklahoma Wrongful Death Case
In a personal injury case, damages refer to what a plaintiff lost as the result of someone else’s actions or inaction. In a wrongful death case, the loss is invaluable because life is too precious to put a monetary number on. But recovering damages does help take some of the burdens off of the bereaved and helps to make sure justice was served in some way.
In successful wrongful death settlements, courts award damages to the decedent’s personal representative to compensate for what has been lost. The typical damages awarded include:
- Medical expenses and burial costs
- The surviving spouse’s grief and loss of consortium
- The surviving children and parent’s grief and loss of companionship
- Mental pain and anguish suffered by decedents due to final injuries or illness and death
- Lost wages and benefits that could have been earned by the deceased
If the Decedent Was a Child
If the decedent was an unmarried minor child, awarded damages may include:
- Medical expenses and burial costs
- Expenses paid by parents or guardians to support, care for, and educate the child
- Loss of the child’s anticipated services and support
- Loss of the child’s love and companionship
- Loss of the relationship between a parent and a child
Punitive damages are sometimes awarded in wrongful death cases. Compensating the family and the decedent’s estate for their losses is not the purpose of punitive damages. Awarding punitive damages means punishing the responsible party’s misconduct. Awarding these types of damages sends the message that reckless and hazardous behavior is not tolerated in Oklahoma.
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Contact an Oklahoma Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
The traumatic loss of a loved one can be devastating. Even though money will never bring them back, if you are suffering from a loss because of another person’s negligent actions, you deserve to be compensated.
The medical expenses, funeral costs, or other related expenses should not have to come out of your pocket. BDIW Law’s wrongful death lawyers in Oklahoma are here to evaluate your case and discuss a possible lawsuit to recover the damages caused by others.
The experienced Oklahoma wrongful death attorneys at BDIW Law can help you calculate and seek redress from those who have wronged you and your family. Contact BDIW Law today for a free initial consultation.
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