Oklahoma City Wrongful Death Attorneys
Lawyers providing compassionate assistance to grieving families
Dealing with the death of a loved one is always difficult, but it can be especially traumatic when your loved one dies in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongful acts. A wrongful death claim is a civil claim filed against the people and businesses who caused the death of your loved one. Defendants may include drivers, property owners, construction companies, trucking companies, and manufacturers. In addition to grief and loss of a family member, many families face unexpected medical and funeral costs, as well as a loss of income and support after a fatal accident.
At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping you recover the maximum compensation when a loved one dies, so you do not have to worry about the financial implications of your loss. Our trial lawyers have more than 105 years of combined experience. We are respected by clients, insurance companies, and defense counsel for our strong record of success in arguing cases before juries and negotiating settlements with insurance carriers.
How can we help?
- Who are the beneficiaries of a wrongful death claim?
- What damages can families claim in Oklahoma wrongful death actions?
- How are damages in a wrongful death claim calculated?
- Who can be a personal representative in a wrongful death claim in Oklahoma?
- What types of accidents cause fatal injuries?
- How does a wrongful death claim differ from a personal injury claim on behalf of surviving victim?
- What is the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death action in Oklahoma?
- Do you have a wrongful death lawyer near me?
Who are the beneficiaries of a wrongful death claim?
Generally, the personal representative of the victim files the claim on behalf of the heirs. If the victim of a fatal accident had a will, then the will identifies who the heirs are. If the fatal victim did not have a will, then the intestate laws of Oklahoma determine who the heirs are. The beneficiaries usually include a spouse, children, parents, and/or siblings.
What damages can families claim in Oklahoma wrongful death actions?
Under Oklahoma’s wrongful death statute, 12 OK Stat § 12-1053, the spouse and children, next of kin, or the estate of the deceased may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical expenses of the deceased while still living
- Mental pain and anguish suffered by the deceased before death
- Burial expenses
- Loss of consortium and grief of the surviving spouse
- Grief and loss of companionship experienced by the children and parents of the deceased
- Pecuniary loss to survivors
In some cases, punitive/exemplary damages may be awarded.
How are damages in a wrongful death claim calculated?
Calculating the damages a plaintiff might recover in a wrongful death lawsuit is a complicated process. The amount that the surviving family member receives in no way compares to the value that the person’s life had for his or her loved ones. The compensation consists of:
- Economic damages, which includes things that can be quantified such as the final medical expenses, burial costs, and lost wages.
- Non-economic damages, which include compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased, the emotional anguish of loved ones, the loss of consortium for the surviving spouse, and the loss of parental guidance and companionship of a parent for their child.
Your Oklahoma wrongful death attorney will guide you through the process and make sure that you recover fair compensation for your loss.
Who can be a personal representative in a wrongful death claim in Oklahoma?
A personal representative is eligible to file a wrongful death claim for the following reasons:
- Appointed by the deceased in their estate plan
- A close relative of the deceased
- Appointed by the court
What types of accidents cause fatal injuries?
At Cunningham & Mears, our attorneys help clients through wrongful death claims by using more than years of combined legal expertise coupled with a compassionate understanding of your grief and loss. We help with a variety of fatal accidents, including:
How does a wrongful death claim differ from a personal injury claim on behalf of surviving victim?
There are several unique considerations involved with wrongful death claims. Rest assured that our Oklahoma City wrongful death lawyers understand these challenges. We understand:
- How a criminal case affects your civil case. Often, but not always, the government will file a criminal case against the people or businesses that caused the death of your loved one. A common example is when a drunk driver causes a fatal accident. You have the right to hold the driver liable through a wrongful death claim. The government may also file a drunk driving charge against the driver if the driver’s blood alcohol content was .08 or higher or if the driver was otherwise under the influence of alcohol when the accident occurred.
The driver could also be charged with more serious crimes such as negligent homicide or manslaughter. Normally, the government’s case proceeds first. If the defendant is found guilty, then the conviction or the evidence that led to the conviction may help your civil claim.
- How to prove liability when a loved one cannot speak for himself/herself. There are specific rules of evidence that determine what statements, if any, your loved one made before he/she died can be admitted and what statements of any defendants can (or can’t) be admitted. Normally, we work to introduce other witnesses and other types of evidence to show that the defendants caused your loved one’s death.
- How to determine the damages when a loved one dies. We work with financial professionals who understand how to determine the life expectancy of your loved one, how much he/she would have earned if the accident had not occurred, and other financial issues. We meet with the family members to understand and explain to insurance companies and juries just how devastating the loss of your relative is.
What is the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death action in Oklahoma?
The legal time limit, also called the statute of limitations in legal terms, for filing a wrongful death claim in Oklahoma is two years. If the lawsuit is not filed within the two-year legal deadline, the family may lose their eligibility to pursue compensation for their untimely loss. Families should contact us as soon as possible because a prompt investigation can make a large difference in the outcome of your claim.
Do you have a wrongful death lawyer near me?
Cunningham & Mears has two offices located in Oklahoma City. Our first is located at 5104 N Francis Ave., Suite 102, Oklahoma City, located just 4 mins drive from Penn Square Mall with plenty of car parking and easy access to the office. Our second is located at 9428 Westgate, Suite 102B, in the Brookhaven West part of Oklahoma City, just a short walk from Resurrection Cemetery and off the Northwest Expressway.
Seek the assistance of a caring wrongful death lawyer in Oklahoma
If you lost a loved one because of an accident caused by the negligence of another person, you need an experienced Oklahoma wrongful death lawyer to help you obtain your rightful compensation. At Cunningham & Mears, our attorneys strive to maximize your recovery by thoroughly investigating the accident and fully preparing your case, whether we are negotiating with insurance companies or trying your case in court. To learn more about our wrongful death representation, contact us today or call 405-451-5088 for a free initial consultation.