Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Many families struggle with seeing the value of filing a wrongful death claim. Their loved one is gone, and they just want to grieve and move on. Some feel guilty about the idea that they would somehow profit from their death.
While it is true that a wrongful death claim recovery will not bring back the person you have lost or make your grief any less painful, what it will do is hold accountable the person whose actions caused your loved one’s death, which may help ensure that they never put another family through the pain and loss you are enduring. A settlement or a jury award in a wrongful death lawsuit can also help ease the financial burden of your loss as you struggle with medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and the loss of income your family faces now that your loved one is gone.
Wrongful Death in Oklahoma
When the action or lack of action someone exercises causes injury to someone else, that person may be guilty of negligence. The victim is entitled to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party to seek compensation for their damages. However, when the victim dies and can no longer file a claim, a wrongful death claim may be filed instead.
In Oklahoma, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years from your loved one’s date of death.
Who Can File the Wrongful Death Claim?
Oklahoma law stipulates that the personal representative of the decedent’s estate must file a wrongful death action. That individual would be named in the decedent’s will or estate plan if they had one. If they did not designate someone, or if the personal representative named declines to file, the court will appoint someone, usually a surviving spouse or family member, to serve in that capacity.
The claim would seek recovery for harms suffered by the decedent and their estate, much like those recoverable in a personal injury claim. These damages include losses such as medical and funeral expenses, lost income, and pain and anguish suffered by the decedent between injury and death.
The wrongful death claim will also seek recovery for the losses suffered by the heirs and beneficiaries of the estate. Such losses would include a surviving spouse’s loss of consortium, loss of companionship, grief suffered by surviving parents and children, and loss of financial support the decedent would have provided to the family had they lived.
Recovery may be a lump sum or, particularly in the case of surviving minor children, placed into a structured settlement that provides payments throughout their lifetimes.
Trust a Skilled Attorney
The grief, anger, stress, and uncertainty a family experiences in the wake of a senseless accident that caused a loved one’s sudden death is overwhelming. As a personal injury attorney who has represented many families in this situation over the years, I understand the need for my compassion toward you while aggressively pursuing a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for it. If you live in Shawnee, Oklahoma or the surrounding areas and are struggling with such a loss, call my office to schedule a time to talk. I charge nothing for consulting with you about your case and you pay nothing unless you receive a settlement.