Losing someone you love is one of the most difficult things to experience. BDIW Law extends our deepest sympathies to you and your family during this challenging time and would like to help when you are ready to pursue your legal options. If someone you loved has passed away unexpectedly due to the negligence of someone’s conduct, we can help you seek justice.
We understand that the last thing you want at this incomprehensible time is to deal with a legal battle. You do not want to relive the experience of losing someone through countless discussions. A knowledgeable Oklahoma City wrongful death lawyer at our firm will make this process as easy as possible and help you navigate the intricacies of an unexpected death claim.
No amount won can undo your loss, but our personalized approach to your case may uncover additional settlement options that were not present before. Our Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers offer a risk-free consultation to review your case, go over lawyer’s fees, and estimate the value of your wrongful death settlement. Explore how this legal process works by reading on or reaching out to our personal injury firm.
How Oklahoma Defines a Wrongful Death
Wrongful death cases are unique. A civil suit known as a “wrongful death claim” can be brought forward when an at-fault party’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing results in someone’s death. Each jurisdiction may have different standards for wrongful death cases.
Essentially, a wrongful death action refers to a death that could have been avoided if caution or reasonable logic had been applied. The defendant must be directly or indirectly responsible for causing your loved one’s death. If it had not been for the defendant’s actions, your relative may not have suffered fatal injuries.
Wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury cases. They are examined as such in order to find fault and prove negligence. A personal injury attorney can weigh in on or manage a wrongful death case since the deceased would have been able to file a personal injury claim had they survived their injuries.
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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Oklahoma
Oklahoma law requires that the decedent’s personal representative or executor be the one who files a wrongful death lawsuit. The executor is generally appointed in your loved one’s will. The court can appoint one for your family if one is not named.
The personal representative’s job is to represent the deceased and their family members or beneficiaries. This could be an adult child, parent, sibling, surviving spouse, or any other party. Damages will be awarded to the decedent’s surviving beneficiaries, no matter who files the claim.
Have you lost someone in an unfortunate accident involving medical malpractice, a truck accident, or any other tragic mishap? It is important to speak with an Oklahoma City wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. We can explain critical state regulations that may impact your claim.
Recoverable Losses for Wrongful Death Settlements in Oklahoma
In wrongful death cases, the beneficiaries of the decedent are known as the plaintiffs. The court will grant damages to the surviving family members or heirs to the estate of the deceased in a successful wrongful death case to make up for a variety of losses. In Oklahoma, compensation is frequently given for the following:
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of consortium and the surviving partner’s grief
- Loss of companionship for the children and parents of the deceased
- The mental and emotional distress that the deceased may have experienced from the injury up until their passing
- Loss of income or benefits the decedent would have earned or received
- Loss of services if the deceased was the primary caregiver
Additionally, the judge in some wrongful death cases in Oklahoma may grant punitive damages. Punitive damages, in contrast to other types of damages, are not intended to make up for your family’s or estate’s losses. Punitive damages are instead given out to penalize, especially terrible behavior, and to make it clear that outrageous behavior won’t be tolerated.
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How to Demand Justice After Wrongful Death
When you lose a loved one to a fatal injury, demanding justice will likely be your top priority. You can advocate for your rights. Ensure the liable party is held accountable by taking advantage of all legal options that are available to you.
Fortunately, multiple opportunities may apply in your case. Some people can avoid trial by settling with the insurance company. Others aim to secure a settlement with the liable party outside of court.
Or, filing a wrongful death claim in civil court could be the right choice for your family. Your attorney is here to help you figure out what is next for your case. We will review the evidence at hand and determine which options are most likely to ensure justice is served for your loved one.
Filing an Insurance Claim
One of the top ways to recover compensation in a wrongful death case is by filing a claim with the insurance company. Oklahoma Statutes. Title 36. Insurance. §36-101 states that the state follows fault-based laws. This means instead of filing a claim with your personal auto insurance provider, you will file a claim with that of the at-fault party.
Insurance companies make money by bringing in as much as possible in premiums and settling claims for as little as possible. Entire teams of insurance adjusters are tasked with reducing payouts whenever they can. For this reason, you should plan to have your wrongful death attorney negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Doing so is the best way you can protect yourself from being taken advantage of during this emotionally taxing time in your life. However, even if you can obtain a reasonable settlement through the insurance company, it may not be enough to fully cover the value of your wrongful death claim. When this happens, or if the liable party does not have any insurance coverage, you may need to pursue a wrongful death action in civil court if you hope to get the most out of your claim and make the liable party pay.
Moving Forward with a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is the best opportunity to maximize the compensation the defense is required to repay you. In civil court, you are entitled to be made whole. This is not to say that being awarded a large sum will make up for the loss of your loved one, but it does give your family an opportunity to avoid financial ruin and start to rebuild your lives.
There are no limitations to the amount you can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit in Oklahoma. This is unlike the limitations you face when filing a claim with the insurance company. You can find out exactly how much your case is worth when you discuss the specific details of your case with your wrongful death attorney in Oklahoma City, OK.
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Establishing and Proving Fault for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In civil lawsuits, evidence from medical records, witness and expert testimonies, and other documented events is used to support your claim. This evidence must support the presence of the elements of negligence. In order to establish a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must show that the negligent party, known as the defendant:
- Owed the deceased person a duty of care
- That this duty was broken
- That this breach led to the person’s death
- That damages were sustained as a result of the death
In contrast to a criminal trial, the standard of proof in a wrongful death case is often lower. A seasoned wrongful death lawyer in Oklahoma City, OK, can clarify the legal definition of wrongful death in your state. We are here to assist you in pursuing the compensation you are entitled to if you lose a loved one as a result of someone else’s reckless conduct.
Time Expires to File a Wrongful Death Suit in Oklahoma
A “statute of limitations” is a legal deadline specifying the time limit within which wrongful death claims must be filed. A wrongful death claim in Oklahoma must be made within two years of the decedent’s passing under Oklahoma Statute §12-95. The court will probably decline to consider the matter if it is not filed within this time frame.
Insurance companies also have strict deadlines. Though not regulated by state law, insurers can set their own claim filing deadlines. Some even have deadlines as few as 48 hours.
Fortunately, we have an in-depth understanding of these time limits. Consider speaking with our fatal injury lawyers about the specifics of your case if you are interested in bringing forward a wrongful death claim in Oklahoma. We have trusted and compassionate attorneys who can explain how the law might apply to your individual situation because wrongful death claims can be complex.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Oklahoma
Knowing that your loved one died is hard enough, but realizing that someone else may be to blame for it can be incredibly challenging. Yet, the term wrongful death can apply to a wide range of legal scenarios. Some of the more common causes of wrongful death in Oklahoma include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Bike accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Work-related accidents
- Construction-related accidents
- Criminal acts
If your loved one died for any of these reasons or another reason entirely, you may have the legal right to pursue compensation for the losses you have incurred. There is no way to make this better or easier on you and your family, but your attorney can help you hold those accountable who allowed this to occur. Even if you are unsure if the situation involves a wrongful death claim, it is best to set up a free consultation to speak to an attorney about your options, as there is no risk of finding out what your options are.
The Police May Go After Them
One of the reasons some people may delay pursuing a wrongful death claim is because they believe that the police will charge the person if they are guilty. However, a person or entity may be responsible and negligent even if they did not outright break the law. Let your attorney help you determine what has occurred in your case, even if the police are still investigating.
Get a Free Consultation with a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Oklahoma City, OK, Today
This experience has probably been traumatic for your family. You deserve justice for your loss. It is important to hire a legal firm that will understand your grieving process.
We will fight diligently to protect your claimant rights and maximize your compensation. BDIW Law has supportive wrongful death attorneys in Oklahoma City to handle your legal dispute. We will do everything possible to make the liable party pay.
Our team will thoroughly investigate the death of your loved one, oversee legal documents that need to be filed, manage medical records, and speak with the insurance providers at every stage of negotiations. You will have time to fully grieve and obtain peace of mind knowing that committed legal counsel is in your corner. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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