What Types of Damages Can My Family Receive in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Coping with death is a painful part of life, and grieving for our loved ones can be a challenging experience. This is especially true when we believe the deceased passed away due to another party’s negligence, making the grieving process that much more difficult.
If you or someone you know lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit. Keep reading to learn more about Oklahoma wrongful death claims and the types of compensation you might demand after the loss of a loved one.
How Does Oklahoma Define Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death occurs when someone’s negligent, intentional, or reckless conduct causes a death. Typically, a wrongful death lawsuit demands compensation for both the deceased and their loved ones’ losses. They can arise out of a wide variety of circumstances — from an intentional assault and battery to medical malpractice.
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Sometimes, the culprit might also face criminal charges related to the wrongful death. These charges are separate from your civil claims and the prosecutor will not file a wrongful death claim for you. Therefore, you’ll also need to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
What Types of Damages Can Be Awarded for a Wrongful Death Claim?
Every wrongful death claim involves unique circumstances and individuals. Your compensation will depend, in part, on the extent of your loved one’s bills, their annual income, and how deeply their loss will impact your family. Common damages include:
- Funeral and Burial
Most funerals are expensive. You can demand compensation for your loved one’s funeral and burial expenses in a wrongful death claim.
- Medical Bills
After a serious injury, your loved one probably required medical treatment at the scene and in a hospital setting. You can demand compensation for all these bills — including those for emergency medical services, medication, and skilled nursing care.
- Pain and Suffering
A wrongful death claim can involve multiple pain and suffering claims. Your loved one may have experienced pain and emotional distress during and after the incident that caused their death. You and your family also could have damages associated with the shock and grief they experienced or continue to experience.
- Loss of Income
It can be difficult to pay your bills after losing a loved one’s paycheck. Dependent family members can demand compensation for this lost financial support.
- Loss of Companionship
Spouses, children, and parents can request compensation for the loss of time, guidance, emotional support, and intimacy with their deceased loved one. A surviving spouse’s claim is sometimes called “loss of consortium.”
- Loss of Care
Family members contribute more than household income. If your deceased loved one provided important domestic services, like help with childcare, chores, and household maintenance, those could be included as loss of care damages.
- Punitive Damages
Damages that aim to punish someone for their intentional or very reckless behavior.
Oklahoma does cap the amount of non-economic damages (e.g., pain and suffering and loss of companionship) you can recover in most personal injury claims. The general non-economic damage cap is $350,000, but it is reduced to $300,000 in some medical malpractice claims. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Before you assume that a damage cap applies in your claim, consult with Atkins & Markoff.
Who Can Demand Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Not everyone can file a wrongful death claim. In Oklahoma, wrongful death claims are typically filed by the deceased’s personal representative. Because a wrongful death claim involves filing a lawsuit on behalf of your deceased loved one, you must open an estate and name a personal representative before you file a complaint. If you need help opening an estate, contact Atkins & Markoff.
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If you recover compensation for your loved one’s losses, it will become part of their estate and will be distributed according to their will or Oklahoma’s inheritance laws. Compensation for a survivor’s loss of companionship and grief will go directly to them.
Schedule Your Free Consultation With Atkins & Markoff Today!
If your loved one passed away due to another party’s negligence, you could be within your rights to file a wrongful death suit and potentially collect financial damages. Our attorneys have substantial experience with wrongful death claims, and our firm has achieved an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Please contact Atkins & Markoff today by completing this brief form or calling (405) 607-8757 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Our “no recovery, no fee” policy ensures that you will not pay unless we are able to achieve a settlement on your behalf or win your case outright, which means there’s no risk discussing potential legal action with our firm.
The statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim in Oklahoma is two years from the date of death, so please reach out today to learn more.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.