Wrongful death lawsuits often appear in the news when the family of the deceased files suit or when the court makes a decision.
Some large headline-grabbing awards seem right to most readers right away, like when a defective product causes a deadly fire. Other cases can be harder to follow, with a decision that might make less immediate sense.
Each state has its own rules, and the wording of the statutes is important. Here is brief look at Oklahoma’s laws, with a special eye on who files, what they must prove, and why the court makes awards.
Who can file a wrongful death claim and why?
What does Oklahoma consider a wrongful death? Our state’s lawbooks do not waste much space with a definition.
When someone causes the death of someone else through a “wrongful act or omission,” someone can file suit. That someone is usually the family or another appropriate representative. Here, we will just say “you.”
The statute clarifies that you file the suit essentially on behalf of your deceased loved one. So, if your loved one had lived, and if they could have sued for personal injury, then you can file a wrongful death suit for them.
Which kind of damages can you try to recover?
Oklahoma allows you to seek compensation for two kinds of damage suffered by your loved one, again with the thought that they would have sought them they lived.
First, you can seek compensation for the pain and suffering your loved one went through before dying of their injuries. Also, if your loved one could have earned wages and benefits had they not died, and you can seek those as well.
Second, consider your grief (not to mention funeral expenses) and your loss of your loved one’s companionship. They would have demanded compensation for those. You can too.
Finally, Oklahoma can outright punish the person who caused the death with a “punitive” (punishing) award. This way, the state can let it be known that the “wrongful act or omission” causing your loved one’s death is not okay with Oklahoma.