Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Oklahoma?
The purpose of the lawsuit is to obtain the compensation the victim would have received had they lived to file a personal injury claim. Because the deceased cannot represent themselves in court, they rely on a “personal representative,” usually a family member. The law allows this person to be anyone able to act in the interests of the deceased. This person files a wrongful death claim on behalf of the person who has died, helping their families and next of kin receive the compensation they deserve. Our Oklahoma City wrongful death lawyer can help you with wrongful death claims.
The personal representative can be any of the following:
A Person Named On Estate Planning Documents
Occasionally, the deceased person will name a representative on their estate planning documents – somebody tasked with caring for their financial affairs once they’re gone. Courts will typically agree that the named person on this document can serve as their representative when seeking compensation.
Immediate Close Relative
Occasionally, the deceased does not have a named personal representative in their will (or the named person doesn’t want to carry out the role). In this case, the court will appoint a close relative, perhaps a spouse, child, or sibling.
A Third Party
In rare circumstances, the deceased does not have a named personal representative in their estate planning or any close relatives. It can, however, still be in the public interest for the court to appoint a third party to represent the deceased and obtain compensation, usually to pay debts the deceased owes.
What Types Of Damages Does Wrongful Death In Oklahoma Cover?
Oklahoma statute (Title 12, §12-1053) determines what you can claim as part of your lawsuit. The statute permits the following types of damages:
- Medical care and burial expenses
- The grief and loss of companionship
- The mental pain and anguish suffered by surviving parties
- Any pecuniary loss of the survivors
Losing a loved one to wrongful death can be extraordinarily expensive. Not only must the court consider the death’s direct medical and burial costs, but they must also consider the financial loss, such as lost wages and benefits that would have accrued to survivors had the deceased survived.
There are Two Types of Compensatory Damages the Court Will Award.
Economic damages include compensation for the material loss incurred by the deceased and their survivors due to the defendant’s negligence. Often, these include payment of a precise dollar amount, such as costs involved with caring for the victim and processing their body following their death. It also provides for the proportion of their future wages and benefits that would have accrued to surviving family members.
Non-economic damages include intangible losses intended to cover mental anguish and pain, for which there is no direct dollar cost.
Some courts will also apply punitive damages designed to punish the offending party, helping survivors gain additional compensation. Contact our wrongful death attorneys for a free consultation.
Wrongful Death Cases Statistics In Oklahoma City
Accidents caused a significant number of deaths in the city, according to Oklahoma State Department of Health data.
The Oklahoma City metro area encompasses ten counties. We report the statistics for each county, the metro area, and the entire state for 2018 – the most recent year for which figures are available.
- Canadian: 84 deaths
- Cleveland: 95 deaths
- Grady: 38 deaths
- Kingfisher: 6 deaths
- Lincoln: 18 deaths
- Logan: 16 deaths
- McClain: 19 deaths
- Oklahoma: 406 deaths
- Payne: 23 deaths
- Pottawatomie: 41 deaths
The total number of accidental deaths in the Oklahoma City metro area was 741. Total statewide unintentional deaths totaled 2,612 in 2018.
The Oklahoma State Department for Health breaks down the accidental death data into two subcategories: transport and non-transport. In total, 751 people died in transport accidents in 2018, and 1,861 in non-transport accidents statewide.
Accidental exposure to smoke, fire, and flames accounted for 77 deaths statewide. The unintentional discharge of firearms led to less than five deaths and drowning and submersion to 74. Finally, 682 people died statewide in 2018 from accidental poisoning and exposure to noxious substances.
Across the entire US, there were 39.5 million physician office visits for unintentional injuries in 2016 and more than 29.4 million emergency department visits, according to the CDC. Our law firm provides high-quality wrongful death lawyer services to help you with wrongful death claims.
Get An Oklahoma City Wrongful Death Attorney To Help With Your Claim
If so, call us today for a consultation. We can help you file a civil lawsuit and wrongful death claim compensation for the damages you have incurred.