Tulsa Wrongful Death Attorney
Protecting families and honoring loved ones when Oklahoma accidents take a life
There’s nothing more tragic than losing a loved one without any warning. The aim of wrongful death lawsuits is to hold wrongdoers accountable and to provide some measure of financial compensation. Damages are designed to pay for any out of pocket expenses such as medical and burial costs along with the pain and suffering incurred by the decedent. Oklahoma also provides, through its statutes and court cases, that family members can be compensated for their grief, loss of companionship, and lost income and financial benefits.
No amount of money can ever replace a human being; we know that. At Biby Law, we respect every family’s need to mourn when a loved one dies. We balance your private needs with the legal needs to investigate how the accident happened and why it happened, so we can hold negligent drivers, property owners, construction sites, nursing homes, and others accountable for your emotional and physical harm. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Tulsa wrongful death lawyer.
When should a wrongful death claim be filed in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma law provides that wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the date of the wrongful act or omission. It is best to speak with an experienced Tulsa wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to ensure the claim is filed on time (though some claims may need to be filed earlier than two years), so the investigation can be performed competently, and so that the people entitled to benefits can get the funds they need to continue their healing process.
What damages can you seek in a Tulsa wrongful death claim?
Per Oklahoma law, the following damages can be claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The medical and burial expenses. These funds are paid to the estate or to the person who initially paid for these costs, such as an individual or a governmental agency (Medicare, for example).
- For loss of consortium and grief of surviving spouse. This sum is for the surviving spouse. Loss of consortium is the loss of spousal benefits such as love, affection, and intimacy.
- For the mental pain and anguish suffered by the decedent. This sum is payable for the spouse and the children. Other kin such as parents may be entitled. The funds are distributed “in the same proportion as personal property of the decedent.”
- The pecuniary loss of the survivors due to the wrongful death. This sum is based on the decedent’s earning capacity, livelihood, age, health before the accident, and life expectancy.
- The grief and loss of companionship of the children and parents of the decedent. This sum, if applicable, is distributed on a sliding scale.
In some cases, the defendants may be ordered to pay punitive or exemplary damages for the wrongful death. In Oklahoma, wrongful death damages for children include “medical and burial expense, loss of anticipated services and support, loss of companionship and love of the child, destruction of parent-child relationship and loss of monies expended by parents or guardian in support, maintenance and education of such minor child, in such amount as, under all circumstances of the case, may be just.” In some cases, damages may be recovered for the death of an unborn child, as well.
Who is entitled to benefits in Oklahoma wrongful death cases?
Commonly the claim is brought by the personal representative of the estate of the decedent. The personal representative is either the person named as executor/executrix in the will or the person approved as administrator by the court. If there is no will and no personal representative has been appointed, then Oklahoma law provides that the widow or the next of kin may bring the claim.
What are the most common causes of wrongful death in Oklahoma?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists “accidents” as the 4th most common cause of death in Oklahoma. In 2018, 62.5 people per every 100,000 died as a result of an accident.
Some of the more common fatal accidents claims we handle in Tulsa include:
What you should know about Oklahoma wrongful death claims
Wrongful death cases are different from other types of personal injury claims. First, the injured party is unable to speak for him/herself, so there are special rules regarding evidence and procedures.
Second, these cases are often settled more quickly, in order to spare the family additional pain and emotional trauma. However, there may be times where a case must proceed to a jury trial. Because Biby Law Firm prepares every claim as though a trial were imminent, you will be prepared no matter which option you choose.
Third, the claim for “mental pain and anguish of the decedent” can vary wildly based on the circumstances of the case. If, for example, your loved one is killed immediately in a car crash, this particular damage may not apply.
Compassionate help when wrongful acts tragically cause the death of a loved one in Tulsa
At Biby Law Firm, we take pride on understanding our clients on a personal level. When a member of your family dies due to a car accident, nursing home abuse, a construction accident, or an oil field accident, we’re here for you. We make it a priority to meet with your family and understand just how devastating your loss is. To discuss your wrongful death claim, call our experienced personal injury lawyers at 918-574-8458 or fill out our contact form. We only receive funds if your case settles or there is a verdict. We represent residents of Tulsa and the surrounding locations, including Broken Arrow, Bixby, Claremore, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Wagoner, and Muskogee.