Oklahoma City Wrongful Death Lawyers
Let Our Firm Help You & Your Family Through This Difficult Time
Losing a loved one is one of life's most difficult and painful experiences. When that loss occurs due to the negligence or wrongful actions of another party, the emotional and financial burden can be overwhelming. At Martin Jean & Jackson, our team of experienced attorneys is here to provide the legal guidance and support you need during this challenging time. We are dedicated to helping the families of Oklahoma City seek justice and compensation in wrongful death cases.
Call (405) 221-9699 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a legal term used to describe a situation in which an individual dies as a result of the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another party or entity.
The following are the elements you must prove to win a wrongful death lawsuit in Oklahoma:
- Duty of Care: To initiate a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff (usually a family member or representative of the deceased's estate) must first establish that the responsible party owed a duty of care to the deceased. This means that the defendant had a legal obligation to act reasonably and prudently to prevent harm to the deceased. Duty of care can vary depending on the circumstances. For example, all drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely, while healthcare professionals have a duty to provide a certain standard of care to patients.
- Breach of Duty: The next element is to prove that the responsible party breached their duty of care to the deceased. In other words, you must demonstrate that the defendant failed to act in a reasonable and prudent manner. This could include showing negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct on the part of the responsible party. For instance, in a car accident case, this might involve proving that the defendant was texting while driving, which is a clear breach of the duty of care.
- Causation: Establishing a causal link between the breach of duty and the wrongful death is crucial. This means showing that the actions or negligence of the defendant directly led to the death of the individual. For example, if a doctor's misdiagnosis led to incorrect treatment, which in turn resulted in the patient's death, there must be a clear connection between the misdiagnosis and the fatal outcome.
- Damages: To pursue a wrongful death claim, you must demonstrate that the surviving family members have suffered losses as a result of the wrongful death. These losses may include medical expenses related to the final illness or injury of the deceased, funeral and burial costs, loss of the deceased's income and future earning capacity, pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before death, and loss of companionship and consortium by the surviving family members.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Oklahoma?
The personal representative or executor of the deceased person's estate is often the primary party with the legal standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This individual is typically appointed through the deceased person's will or by the court if there is no will. Their role is to manage the deceased person's estate, including pursuing legal claims on behalf of the estate, such as a wrongful death claim.
The following individuals or groups are typically recognized as potential beneficiaries in a wrongful death claim in Oklahoma:
- Surviving Spouse: The surviving spouse of the deceased is generally considered the primary beneficiary in a wrongful death case. They have a legal right to pursue damages for the loss of their spouse.
- Surviving Children: If the deceased person had surviving children, they are typically recognized as beneficiaries and may be entitled to recover damages. This includes both minor children and adult children.
- Parents: In cases where the deceased person did not have a surviving spouse or children, the parents of the deceased may be eligible to recover damages through a wrongful death claim. This is particularly relevant if the deceased was a minor child or was financially dependent on their parents.
- Legal Guardian: If the deceased person was under the legal guardianship of an individual or entity at the time of their death, the legal guardian may have a right to pursue damages on behalf of the deceased's estate.
- Estate and Heirs: The deceased person's estate is considered a potential beneficiary. Any damages recovered may be distributed to the estate and subsequently passed on to the deceased person's heirs or beneficiaries as specified in their will or through intestate succession laws if there is no will.
- Siblings or Other Dependents: In some cases, siblings, other relatives, or individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased may have a right to pursue damages. This can be complex and may require legal analysis to determine eligibility.
Ready to Fight for Your Loved One
At Martin Jean & Jackson, we understand the emotional turmoil that losing a loved one can bring. If your family member's death was preventable and occurred as a result of nursing home abuse, our experienced Oklahoma City wrongful death attorneys are here to help you seek justice.
Our services include:
- Investigation: We will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one, gathering evidence to support your claim.
- Legal Guidance: Our experienced attorneys will provide you with sound legal advice, helping you understand your rights and the legal options available to you.
- Negotiation: We will negotiate with insurance companies and responsible parties to seek a fair settlement on your behalf.
- Litigation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, our skilled litigators will take your case to court and fight for your rights before a judge and jury.
- Compassion: Throughout the legal process, we will offer emotional support and compassion to you and your family.
Contact our OKC wrongful death attorneys today at (405) 221-9699 to schedule a free consultation.