Ylla Gosney Attorneys at Law’s team of dedicated Oklahoma personal injury lawyers can help you and any other surviving family members in the legal process after a wrongful death. Losing a loved one in an accident is something none of us want to think about, yet with so many fatal accidents occurring throughout Oklahoma, this is an unfortunate reality. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you during this challenging time.
What is a Wrongful Death in Oklahoma?
Any accident that happens in Oklahoma, whether it be a car accident or slip-and-fall, carries the potential of an injury. But then there are other, more serious injuries in an accident that can result in the death of a loved one.
However, in order to be considered a wrongful death under Oklahoma law, negligence needs to be established. Further, a fatal accident is considered a wrongful death if:
- The responsible party had a duty of care to the deceased
- They breached that duty through their actions or inactions
- This breach directly caused the death.
Should You Hire a Lawyer?
In terms of representation, you don’t technically need a lawyer to file a wrongful death claim in Oklahoma. However, building a strong case for a wrongful death claim requires crucial evidence and guidance. So, having our experienced team on your side can make it easier on you or the surviving family members. Here’s how we can help in these situations:
- Investigating the cause of the accident
- Establishing liability
- Gathering crucial evidence and then presenting it
- Providing surviving family members or representatives with legal guidance and support
- Helping them through the claims process, either with insurance concerns or a lawsuit
- Representing their interests in court
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Oklahoma?
Not everyone is able to file a claim after the death of a loved one in Oklahoma. In fact, under Oklahoma law, only the “personal representative” named in a will can actually file the wrongful death claim on behalf of surviving family members.
Obviously, when there’s a fatal accident, it can come up unexpectedly. As such, there may not be a will in place. In these situations, a judge will have to name a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.
Causes of a Wrongful Death
One of the most difficult aspects of a wrongful death case is that they can happen at any time. As such, there’s a wide variety of different types of accidents that can lead to a wrongful death, like:
- Fatal car or truck accidents where another driver runs a red light or is driving under the influence
- Being fatally injured when riding a bicycle or while walking as a pedestrian
- Negligence or errors by healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, or surgeons, leading to your death when you’re a patient at a hospital
- Being forced to work in unsafe conditions, lacking proper safety measures, or negligence by your employer
- Suffering a fatal accident caused by falls, equipment malfunctions, or other hazardous conditions while at a construction site
- Being fatally injured by defective or dangerous products, including pharmaceuticals, vehicles, or goods
- Suffering fatal injuries because of unsafe conditions on someone else’s property
Regardless of the cause of the fatal accident, your personal representative is going to have to file a claim to begin the recovery process. So, it’s important to understand the requirements on these claims and what can be gained.
What Can Be Gained in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Certainly, losing a loved one has profound implications for surviving family members. Beyond the initial shock of the death, they often grapple with substantial financial and emotional losses that may prove challenging to recover from. A wrongful death claim is designed to offer financial support to family members, addressing the void left by their deceased loved one. This typically spans the period between the:
- Time of death
- Expected lifespan of the deceased, had the accident not occurred.
These claims aim to cover various types of damages and losses:
- Funeral and burial expenses – These cover costs associated with your deceased loved one’s funeral and burial.
- Medical expenses – These aim to cover the bills related to the injury or illness that led to the wrongful death.
- Loss of financial support – A big component of the damages in these types of cases involves the income and financial contributions the deceased would have provided to their family.
- Pain and suffering – Other damages available involve the emotional distress and mental anguish experienced by you and any other surviving family members.
- Loss of companionship – These damages aim to cover the emotional and psychological impact of losing a loved one, as well as the impact on the surviving spouse’s relationship with the deceased.
- Punitive damages – In some cases, the court may award punitive damages if the responsible party’s actions were particularly egregious or reckless.
While it can be tough to think about, there’s the added component of a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in Oklahoma. As it falls under the umbrella of an injury claim, there is currently a two-year statute of limitations for one of these claims. This means that the personal representative must file the claim within two years of the date of your loved one’s death. Missing this deadline could mean that you’ll be unable to recover these vital damages as you and your family attempt to move forward.
Experienced Oklahoma Wrongful Death Lawyers
Coping with the loss of a loved one due to wrongful death is always tough, but you don’t have to face it alone. Our team of wrongful death lawyers at Ylla Gosney is here to help. We offer free consultations to explain your legal options and support you on the journey to healing. Don’t wait–contact us today to set up your free consultation.