Tulsa Wrongful Death Attorneys
Wrongful Death Laws in Oklahoma
If you have recently lost a loved one, our team at Brewster & De Angelis extends our deepest and most sincere condolences. We know that there is nothing more difficult than losing someone you love, especially when their death was the result of an avoidable incident.
If your family member died as a result of someone else’s negligent, reckless, or wrongful conduct, you may be entitled to sue the liable party for damages. Our Tulsa wrongful death attorneys are here to provide the personal attention and support you need during this difficult time. We believe that you and your family deserve justice, and we are prepared to fight tirelessly for the full and fair compensation you are owed. While no amount of financial recovery can undo the trauma of your loss, a just settlement or verdict can provide the monetary resources you need to heal.
At Brewster & De Angelis, we know that filing a wrongful death claim may be the furthest thing from your mind when you have lost a husband, wife, parent, child, or loved one. Nonetheless, we want you to know that we have helped many other people in situations similar to yours find their way through the dark days that come after a sudden and tragic death. Our team is ready to help you, too.
When Is Someone’s Death Considered “Wrongful?”
The state of Oklahoma defines “wrongful death” as the death of an individual resulting from “the wrongful act or omission of another.” Generally speaking, if the person who died (referred to as the “decedent” in these cases) would have had legal grounds to file a personal injury claim had they lived, their death is considered “wrongful.”
Wrongful death claims often arise from the following incidents:
- Car, truck, motorcycle, and other motor vehicle accidents
- Pedestrian-vehicle and bicycle-vehicle collisions
- Construction and industrial accidents
- Workplace accidents, including falls, work-related vehicle accidents, and more
- Unsafe premises, slip and falls, and other property-related accidents
- Defective and/or dangerous products
- Medical malpractice, including birth injuries, diagnostic errors, and medication mistakes
- Criminal acts, violence, and intentional infliction of injury and/or death
Although wrongful death claims can arise from criminal conduct, including instances of homicide and murder, it is important to distinguish these claims from criminal cases. The purpose of a civil wrongful death action is 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 that they are entitled to inherit via intestate succession or were dependent on the decedent in life.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Case?
Oklahoma law allows eligible individuals to recover certain losses, or “damages,” in wrongful death cases. The exact type and amount of damages you can recover will depend on the specific details of your case.
Generally speaking, plaintiffs can recover the following damages in Oklahoma wrongful death cases:
- Medical expenses associated with the decedent’s final medical care
- Funeral/burial expenses
- Pain and suffering consciously suffered by the decedent
- Loss of income, wages, and benefits the decedent would have earned or provided
- Grief and loss of consortium experienced by a surviving spouse
- Grief and loss of companionship experienced by the decedent’s surviving child or parent
Additionally, if the decedent was an unmarried, not emancipated minor, the surviving parent(s) or guardian(s) can recover the following additional damages:
- Loss of companionship, love, and the parent-child relationship
- Loss of anticipated support or services the child would have likely provided
- Expenses related to the child’s care, education, and support paid by the parent(s) or guardian(s)
In some cases, it may be possible to pursue punitive damages in addition to the compensatory damages listed above. Punitive damages are meant to punish the liable party and are typically only available in cases involving egregious negligence, willful or wanton misconduct, or intentional infliction of injury/intent to cause injury, harm, or death.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Oklahoma?
Like every other state, Oklahoma has a statute of limitations on wrongful death cases. This means 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 won’t 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.
We encourage you to reach out to our team as soon as possible after the tragic loss of your loved one. The sooner you contact our Tulsa wrongful death attorneys, the sooner we can begin investigating your claim and putting together a personalized legal strategy tailored to your unique situation.
How Brewster & De Angelis Can Help You & Your Family
Knowing that your loved one’s death could have—and should have—been prevented can make the healing process that much more difficult. But by seeking justice, you can hold the liable party accountable and help ensure that similar tragedies do not occur to others in the future.
Brewster & De Angelis is ready to assist you with every aspect of your legal claim. We work with expert witnesses, accident reconstructionists, medical professionals, and other specialists who help us gather evidence, obtain expert testimony, and put together powerful cases for our clients. Our team can handle all communication with the liable party and/or insurance company so that you can focus on healing and spending time with your family. We have decades of experience and are prepared to represent you in the courtroom if necessary.
There is no obligation when you speak to our team during a free consultation, and you will not pay anything out of pocket when you hire our firm. Instead, we only collect attorney fees if/when we recover compensation for you. If we do not obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf, you do not pay a dime.
Available & Responsive
The attorneys at Brewster & De Angelis are always available to provide you with updates and answer questions regarding your case. At the end of the day, we work for you and pride ourselves on being available regardless of the situation.
Focused On Your Best Interests
When going through a legal matter, things can seem scary and uncontrollable. Our team works to refine the legal process in order to ensure you not only understand exactly what is going on, but also that your goals and interests are taken into account with every decision.
Collaborative Legal Strategies
Unlike other law firms, we handle a small number of cases so that our team can focus on getting you results. When it is time to get ready for trial, you can be assured that our full team of litigators has convened to get you the best possible outcome.
Dedicated & Trusted Counsel
At Brewster & De Angelis we have the top litigators in Tulsa, Oklahoma and we have been serving our community for over forty years, giving us the tools and knowledge to aggressively and effectively handle your case.