In Tulsa, a wrongful death claim involves a claim made by a representative of the deceased person’s estate, on the basis that the deceased could have filed had they survived. Usually, the representative is a close relative or loved one of the deceased individuals – often a spouse, parents, child, brother, or sister. It is also important to know there is also a time limit for filing one of these cases.
Damages pursued in a wrongful death claim
A claim for wrongful death in Tulsa is a civil claim to recover monetary compensation for damages suffered as a result of the loss. This compensation can include injuries sustained by the deceased before his or her death, including pain and suffering. The compensation is also for the losses of the family members of the deceased, including:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
Family members of the deceased may also request punitive damages if they believe the defendant acted in an intentional manner that caused the death of the deceased.
What is the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in Oklahoma?
Under law in the state of Oklahoma, the representative of the deceased’s estate has two years from the death of the deceased to file a wrongful death claim. This deadline is referred to as the statute of limitations. Any claim filed beyond this deadline will likely be rejected by the court, with certain exceptions mentioned below.
Common exceptions to the wrongful death claim statute of limitations in OK
The two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death claims in Oklahoma may be extended in the case of two common exceptions.
The first exception is when all of the surviving family members of the deceased individual are below the age of eighteen. In this case, the statute of limitations extends until at least one remaining family member reaches his or her 18th birthday. When that occurs, the family member who has reached 18 years of age may file a wrongful death on behalf of the deceased person’s estate.
The “discovery rule” is the other reason for a lawful delay in the two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Tulsa and throughout Oklahoma. Under this rule, the representative of the estate has the opportunity to file a wrongful death case after the two-year deadline when he or she is unaware of the cause of the deceased’s death. If the estate representative is performing due diligence to discover the cause of death, the discovery rule exception applies and a claim may be filed beyond the standard two-year timeframe.
Wrongful death claims are not necessarily affected by how any criminal case regarding the death develops in court, as the wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit itself. It is presented and heard separately from ant criminal case. In addition, any criminal case will not generally change the two-year statute of limitations. With that said, it is important to consult with an experienced Tulsa wrongful death attorney to understand the affect, if any, an ongoing criminal case may affect the statute of limitations.
If you lost a loved one as a result of the negligence of someone else or another entity, the Tulsa wrongful death lawyers at Biby Law Firm can help pursue the just compensation you and your family deserve for your loss. We can either settle your case before trial or take it to trial as necessary to help you secure the financial award to which you are entitled. To schedule a free consultation, reach us by phone at 918.574.8458 or complete our contact form.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after a personal injury, car accident, or oil field injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts. Learn more about Jacob Biby.