Do I Have Grounds to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The loss of a loved one is never easy, but it can be especially devastating when their death is the result of another person’s negligent, reckless, or criminal behavior. It is an unfortunate reality that in addition to their grief, the families of wrongful death victims are often burdened with expensive funeral costs and other associated expenses. Families have the right to pursue justice and fair compensation through a Tulsa wrongful death suit, and in this blog we explore the elements required for a successful claim.
To learn more about how our Tulsa wrongful death attorneys can help your family, schedule a free consultation today.
You will have grounds for a wrongful death claim if the negligence of another party caused the death of your loved one. Just as with most personal injury suits, you must be able to prove the following elements:
- The defendant owed your loved one a duty
- They violated this duty
- The violation was a direct cause of the death
This is best understood in the example of a fatal car accident. A driver owes a duty to stop at red lights; if a driver runs the red light, they have breached their duty. If the accident caused the death of their passenger, another driver, or a pedestrian, they may be found liable for the death.
In some cases, the harm was caused by a person’s intentional acts, rather than their carelessness. In most cases, these acts are criminal; however, a criminal conviction is not required for a successful civil suit. Perhaps the most notable example of this is the case of Nicole Brown Simpson, in which OJ Simpson was found civilly liable for the death of both Nicole and her boyfriend, Ronald Goldman – despite being found not guilty of murder in criminal court.
Who May File a Claim?
In Oklahoma, only the “personal representative” of the victim’s estate may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. The deceased may have specified this person in their estate plan; otherwise the court may appoint a personal representative. This will typically be a family member such as:
- A spouse
- A child
- A sibling
- A parent
If you’ve lost a loved one due to the negligent or intentional acts of another, you have a right to seek justice. Call our firm today at (918) 347-6456.