What is Wrongful Death?
In Oklahoma, wrongful death occurs when an individual loses their life as a result of the wrongful act or omission of another. Said simply, wrongful death typically occurs when one person’s unjust actions or carelessness results in the death of another. Typically, if the person who died (the decedent) had survived and had legal grounds to file a personal injury claim, their death is considered wrongful.
Wrongful Death Claims
A civil wrongful death action aims to recover monetary compensation for specific losses (known as “damages”) suffered by the decedent’s estate and/or dependents and heirs.
These claims are separate from criminal proceedings, although a conviction can serve as powerful evidence in a civil wrongful death case. However, the outcome of a criminal case does not necessarily affect the outcome of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death claim. If the decedent had a will when they died, the personal representative will likely be named in the will. If the decedent died without a will, the court will appoint a personal representative for the estate.
Although the personal representative must be the one to initiate the wrongful death action, these cases are typically brought on behalf of the decedent’s surviving dependents and heirs. This includes surviving spouses, children, parents, and others who can prove they are entitled to inherit via intestate succession or were dependent on the decedent.
Statutes of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims
Statutes of limitations on wrongful death claims vary state-to-state. You only have a certain amount of time to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you miss the filing deadline, you will almost certainly lose your right to sue the liable party for damages, and you will not be able to recover any compensation for your losses.
The statute of limitations on wrongful death cases in Oklahoma is two years from the date of death.
How Brewster & De Angelis Can Help Your Family
Knowing that your loved one’s death was preventable only adds to the devastation of loss. By holding the responsible parties accountable, you not only allow yourself the opportunity to receive some amount of justice but have the opportunity to help prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.
Our experienced wrongful death attorneys at Brewster & De Angelis are ready to assist you with every aspect of your legal claim. Let our team handle the communication with the liable party and/or insurance company so you and your family can focus on healing.