How Can Family Members File a Wrongful Death Claim?
There’s only one thing that hurts more than losing a family member, and that’s when you lose a family member through the actions or negligence of another person. These wrongful death situations are devastating all around, and you may be eligible for compensation from the responsible parties.
It’s important to understand how these cases work, however, so you can ensure that you get the damages to which you’re entitled. Learn about a wrongful death claim, what it is, who can file for one and how an Oklahoma wrongful death attorney can be your greatest ally.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit in which the surviving loved ones of a decedent, or someone who has died through the wrongful acts or negligence of another person, sue for monetary damages. These claims have nothing to do with any criminal charges filed; they are a separate kind of lawsuit called a “civil suit.” They are concerned with the financial security of those left behind.
There are a number of types of damage that can be recovered from a wrongful death claim. It starts with funeral expenses, which can be expensive unto themselves. In addition, loved ones left behind may be eligible to recover:
- Lost wages of the deceased
- Lost future earnings potential
- Lost benefits the deceased currently has or may have earned
- Pain and suffering during the time leading up to death as well as from grief
- Medical bills and expenses during this time
- Loss of relationships and companionship
- Punitive damages in some cases where the events or actions leading to the death were excessive and severe
Who Can File a Suit?
In the past, there was no such thing as a wrongful death suit. Now, courts recognize the damage that can reverberate through a family from the death of a loved one, and the need for compensation as a result. There are limits to those who can file. The close friend of a deceased, for example, generally cannot file, unless they have been appointed a designated personal representative of the deceased.
A personal representative is, simply put, a stand-in for the decedent and their estate. Usually, this is a spouse, parent, child, sibling or another close relative, but the estate plan can name any individual to serve in this role. If there is no named representative, the courts will appoint one, usually a family member.
Oklahoma City Wrongful Death Attorney
Wrongful death claims can be very difficult to pursue and win. Approaching such a case requires someone in your corner with the knowledge, experience, and training to handle the tricky laws and statutes involved. It also means proving things that are very subjective, such as the value of your pain and suffering.
Your best bet if you lose a loved one due to the negligence or deliberate acts of another, is to hire the services of a qualified Oklahoma wrongful death attorney. If you find yourself in this situation, help is only a phone call away. Get in touch with Parrish DeVaughn for a no-obligation case evaluation today.