Oklahoma City Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing someone close to you is extremely painful and traumatic under any circumstances. If someone else caused your loved one’s death, however, it can be even more difficult to cope. While nothing will ever make up for the loss of a loved one, filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Oklahoma can bring a wrongdoer to justice, honor the memory of your loved one, and help your family remove the financial burden of losing someone.
At Dan Davis Law, we fight for families in Oklahoma City and the surrounding area. Our goal is not only to achieve maximum financial compensation for your losses but to give your family everything that it needs during this difficult time. If someone you loved recently passed away due to the wrongful acts of another person, please call Dan Davis Law. Our Oklahoma City wrongful death lawyers offer free case consultations with no obligation to hire us.
Why Hire An Oklahoma City Wrongful Death Attorney From Dan Davis Law?
- Oklahoma City attorney Daniel Davis is a skilled litigator with a proven track record of success. He provides dedicated advocacy for clients with a personal feel at a family-run law firm.
- Our Oklahoma City injury lawyers are experienced, caring, compassionate, and attentive. We care about the families that we represent and go above and beyond to make sure their needs are met.
- We don’t charge attorney’s fees on wrongful death cases unless we secure financial compensation for the client.
How Can an Oklahoma City Wrongful Death Lawyer Help Your Family?
Wrongful death claims are especially difficult due to the nature of the loss that was suffered by surviving family members. You have enough to worry about while grieving a family member and planning a funeral; you should not also have to deal with an insurance company that is trying to take advantage of you. While an insurance company will want to minimize your financial recovery, your wrongful death attorney will work hard to get the results that your family needs and deserves.
After hiring a wrongful death attorney, you can focus on the future while your lawyer investigates the fatal accident, collects evidence, interviews eyewitnesses, and hires experts to build the strongest case possible. Your wrongful death lawyer can take care of confusing legal processes and filing requirements for you, including completing claims paperwork, submitting it by the deadline, and going up against a defendant in pursuit of maximum financial compensation.
What Is Wrongful Death? Do You Have a Case?
According to the Oklahoma Statutes, wrongful death is the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or omission of someone else, if the victim could have filed a cause of action for the same act or omission had he or she survived. In other words, if your loved one would have had the right to file a personal injury claim had he or she lived, your family most likely has grounds for a wrongful death claim. Most wrongful death lawsuits in Oklahoma are based on the claim that someone was negligent.
Negligence is the failure to act with proper care, resulting in harm, injury, or death to another person. Negligence has four parts:
- Duty of care: The defendant(s) had a legal or ethical obligation to treat their loved one with care.
- Breach: The defendant violated or did not meet the duty of care.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty was the actual cause of your loved one’s death.
- Damages: Your family suffered losses for which you may seek compensation.
Some wrongful death lawsuits in Oklahoma City are not based on negligence but on other legal theories, such as breach of warranty and intent to harm. If a criminal attacked or assaulted your loved one with the intent to injure or kill, for instance, you may still be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death case is a civil lawsuit that is separate from the criminal justice system.
How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Differs From a Criminal Prosecution
Unlike a criminal prosecution, a claim of wrongful death does not result in a prison sentence or penalty other than the possibility of punitive damage awards paid from the defendant to the deceased person’s family or estate. While criminal charges require proof of the party’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a wrongful death suit requires only a preponderance of the evidence to show that the wrong-doer is liable. You can file a civil case for wrongful death even when the defendant also faces criminal charges for the same act.
In some cases, criminal charges aren’t applicable for an act of negligence resulting in wrongful death. In that case, not only does a wrongful death lawsuit help the victim’s family achieve financial compensation and monetary damages, but it’s also a form of justice. This is especially true when a decedent’s family receives an award for punitive damages, a monetary amount meant to discourage the defendent and others from committing the same act of negligence or misconduct that resulted in the tragic death.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim in Oklahoma?
In many states, any family member of a deceased person who died due to the negligence or recklessness of another may file a wrongful death lawsuit against that party. In Oklahoma, however, only the executor of a decedent’s estate or their personal representative may legally bring a case to court. The court may appoint a representative for the deceased loved one if they didn’t leave a will or name an executor. If a will does name an executor but the executor is unable or unwilling to serve in that capacity the court may appoint someone else, typically a close family member.
Wrongful Death Claims vs. Survival Action
When a loved one tragically dies as the direct result of another’s negligence or wrongdoing, their survivors may file a wrongful death claim to ease the financial burden and to compensate for the emotional pain and anguish caused by their passing. This is different than a survival action. Family members may file a survival action in cases where a loved one died within two years of an accident even if their death was unrelated to the accident. Unlike a wrongful death lawsuit, the family member files a survival action on behalf of the decedent for anything they could have claimed for themselves had they not passed. Survival action claims demand compensation for both economic and non-economic damages and the settlement or award goes to the deceased’s estate and passes to heirs through a will or through Oklahoma’s intestacy laws rather than directly to a spouse or the closest relative as they do in a wrongful death claim.
What Are Causes of Wrongful Death in Oklahoma City?
Any type of preventable accident or incident in Oklahoma that results in death could be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. If there are signs that the fatal injury or illness could have been prevented with a reasonable amount of care, such as an employer maintaining a safe workplace for employees or a product manufacturer preventing a dangerous defect, surviving loved ones may be eligible for compensation.
Some of the most common accidents involved in wrongful death claims in Oklahoma include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Work accidents
- Acts of violence
Every day, the reckless and negligent acts of others in Oklahoma inflict fatal injuries on victims. At Dan Davis Law, we advocate for justice on behalf of those who can no longer speak for themselves. We are passionate about holding wrongdoers accountable. Our OKC accident lawyers can help you and your family understand your legal rights after any type of fatal incident in Oklahoma City with over 25 years of experience litigating wrongful death claims.
What Are The Wrongful Death Laws in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, only the personal representative or executor of the deceased individual’s estate has the right to file a wrongful death claim with the civil courts. This party will represent all beneficiaries or heirs of the decedent who may be entitled to financial compensation. If the decedent did not name a representative prior to death, the courts will appoint one.
The representative only has as long as the statute of limitations in Oklahoma (§12-1053) gives to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This law changes from state to state. In Oklahoma, it is two years from the date of the person’s death. If you wait longer than two years, you will most likely give up the right to recover any financial compensation for wrongful death.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Most wrongful death claims settle out of court, but that doesn’t mean you don’t require a skilled and reputable lawyer. When you have representation by a law firm in good standing and with a reputation for aggressively advocating for their clients and winning, it helps cases to settle more quickly out of court.
Whether through a settlement or a verdict, common damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit include compensation for:
- Medical and burial expenses
- Loss of wages the decedent would have earned had they lived
- Loss of benefits
- Grief and anguish suffered by loved ones
- Pain and anguish suffered by the decedent before death
- Loss of consortium (romantic closeness and companionship)
- Loss of the parent-child relationship, a child’s future support, and child’s love and companionship in the tragic event of a child’s death
Contact The Oklahoma City Wrongful Death Lawyers At Dan Davis Law Today
A wrongful death claim is about more than just getting the money that your family needs to pay for related bills and losses. It is a way to get answers and closure for your loved one’s unexpected passing, as well as to shed light on dangerous or negligent parties in your community. At Dan Davis Law, our Oklahoma City injury attorneys hope to bring your family greater peace of mind by taking over the legal process and fighting for positive results on your behalf.
Learn more about lawsuits and how our attorneys can help you by requesting a free, zero-obligation consultation at our local Oklahoma City law office today. Contact us or call (405) 930-4210 to reach us.