Oklahoma City Wrongful Death Lawyers
Fact checked by Clayton Hasbrook J.D. | Updated on June 10, 2020
Dealing with the death of a person you love is always a sorrowful experience. But it can be made worse if you believe that they died because of the negligence or carelessness of another person.
At Hasbrook & Hasbrook, we specialize in helping people whose family members may have passed away as a consequence of wrongful death. As Oklahoma City wrongful death lawyers, we help you make a wrongful death claim and get the compensation you need for funeral costs and other expenses. Under the Oklahoma State statute of limitations, you must begin filing for wrongful death in the first two years after a family member passes away to be eligible for damages.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Oklahoma?
The purpose of the lawsuit is to obtain the compensation that 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”, who is usually a family member, but the law allows it 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 compensation they deserve.
The personal representative can be any of the following:
A Person Named On Estate Planning Documents
Sometimes the deceased person will name a personal representative on their estate planning documents – somebody tasked with taking care of their financial affairs once they’re gone. Courts will usually agree that the named person on this document can serve as their personal representative when seeking wrongful death compensation.
Immediate Close Relative
On occasion, the deceased does not have a named personal representative on their will (or the named person doesn’t want to carry out the role). In this case, the court will usually 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 City Cover?
Oklahoma statute (Title 12, §12-1053) determines what you can claim as part of a wrongful death lawsuit. Statue 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
The costs of losing a loved one to wrongful death can be extraordinarily high. Not only must the court consider the direct medical and burial costs of the death, but they must also consider the financial loss, such as lost wages and benefits that would have accrued to survivors, had the deceased survived.
In general, 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 as a consequence of the negligence of the defendant. 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 things such as 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.
Wrongful Death Statistics In Oklahoma City
Hasbrook & Hasbrook has conducted substantial research into the number of potential wrongful deaths in Oklahoma City using data reported by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. We find that accidents were responsible for a large number of deaths across the city.
The Oklahoma City metro area encompasses ten counties. We report the accidental death 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 further subcategories: transport and non-transport. In total, 751 people died in transport accidents in 2018, and 1,861 died 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 owing to 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.
Get An Oklahoma City Wrongful Death Attorney To Help With Your Claim
Do you suspect that the death of a loved one resulted from the negligence of another?
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.
Our team scrutinizes the facts surrounding your wrongful death case and then lets you know whether you have a strong legal claim for compensation. Get in touch with us today to find out more.