The death of a loved one can be traumatizing, however, it’s worse when such death could have been prevented. Wrongful death cases are often characterized by negligence and issues that could have been avoided if all involved parties had acted right. In Oklahoma, it is possible to sue an individual, a group, or an organization for the death of a loved one caused by their wrongful act. Find below the information you need to navigate the complex legal issues involved in a wrongful death lawsuit.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death is a legal term used to describe death caused by negligence or wrongful acts. In essence, the death may not have happened had the other party fulfilled their duty of care. When a wrongful death case arises, it is possible to sue the negligent party who was responsible for the death.
Per Oklahoma’s laws, wrongful death actions can be applied to various situations that have led to the death of another party due to someone else’s negligence. This means that deaths due to motorcycle accidents, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, car and truck accidents, etc, qualify for wrongful death lawsuits when the specific elements are present.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by a representative of the victim or deceased’s estate. This means that the deceased’s next of kin can take action or the court, in a probate action, may appoint a representative for the deceased.
It is important to note that the representative isn’t the sole heir to the compensation paid for the victim’s death. The damages recovered from the suit will be distributed according to state law.
What is the Statute of Limitations on Oklahoma Wrongful Death Cases?
There is a two (2) year statute of limitations for the victim’s family to file a lawsuit against the accused party. Statute of limitations is an expiry period under which lawsuits must be filed. Filing a lawsuit outside of the statute of limitations may cause the case to be dismissed by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Types of Damages You Can Recover from Wrongful Death Suits in Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s law, Okla. Statutes, Title 12, Section 1053, prescribes that the deceased’s personal representative may claim damages for the following;
- Loss of consortium and grief of the surviving spouse
- Medical and funeral expenses
- Financial loss to the surviving spouse and children
- Mental pain and suffering by the deceased
- Punitive damages
- Loss of companionship and grief to the parents and children
How Damages and Compensation are Distributed in a Wrongful Death Case
The Oklahoma law prescribes how damages recovered are to be shared, depending on what was recovered.
Damages for loss of consortium and grief of the surviving spouse. This damage caters to the loss of consortium suffered by the surviving spouse in the absence of their partner. The right to recover this loss is enshrined in the common law right and any money recovered will go to the spouse.
Damages for medical and funeral expenses. The money recovered in damages for medical and funeral expenses goes to the person, persons, or entity that paid for these expenses. The deceased’s estate will be reimbursed if it paid for the expenses.
Financial loss to the surviving spouse and children. This can be proven with the right evidence to show the impact of the deceased’s loss on the surviving spouse and children. The money recovered will be paid to the spouse and children.
Mental pain and suffering by the deceased. This is damages paid for the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased leading to their death. The money recovered is paid to the spouse and children.
Punitive damages. This is an additional amount awarded by the court to punish the defendant for their involvement in the deceased’s death. The amount recovered goes to the spouse and children.
Loss of companionship and grief to the parents and children. This damage is paid to the deceased’s surviving parents and children for their loss.
Your Next Steps
Losing your loved one can be devastating and traumatic. Seeking redress should be calculated and that is why you need an experienced Oklahoma wrongful death attorney in your corner. At Cannon & Associates, we are happy to offer all of the legal help and guidance you need to navigate this complex issue. Our attorneys won’t charge you a dime until your case has been completed and compensation awarded. Get the legal help you need, complete the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at (405) 906-4051. for a free, confidential case evaluation.