What qualifies as a wrongful death lawsuit?

The death of a loved one is always difficult. It doesn’t matter if it was accidental or expected, it hurts. When that death could have been avoided, it feels like an injustice of fate. Sadly, there is nothing anyone can do to bring back your loved one. There are some cases, however, when we can help you seek legal justice against those responsible.

When a death occurs due to the negligence of another, it can sometimes be considered a wrongful death. While it can be difficult to decide to pursue justice, It’s important to hold the responsible person accountable. This can help prevent more negligent acts from that person in the future, ideally saving other families from the pain you’ve been forced to endure. Seeking justice could also help ease financial hardships like medical expenses and time off work that add extra stress to your life and make it harder to grieve the way you deserve to.

The Maples, Nix, and Diesselhorst team has been helping families pursue wrongful death cases since our founding in 2015, and we’ve helped countless people achieve justice for their loved ones. If you believe you might have a wrongful death case, please contact us for a free consultation to see if we can stand with you.

What is a wrongful death?

In Oklahoma, a wrongful death is one that is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another person, when that act or omission would have permitted the victim to file a personal injury lawsuit. In simpler terms, if someone is directly responsible for someone else’s death when they had a legal obligation to act differently, a death is considered wrongful. This can occur in any setting, but some are more common than others. Let’s explore a few types of cases we see frequently at our firm.

Medical malpractice

Health care professionals are expected to act within a reasonable standard of care when treating patients. If they do not meet the standard of care, the results can be disastrous. Not all cases of medical malpractice lead to death, but because patients are often seen in a vulnerable condition, wrongful deaths are tragically frequent.

Often, wrongful deaths from medical malpractice occur in nursing homes, where administrative staff members attempt to cut costs by overworking and understaffing their providers. Other times, they occur in hospitals, where doctors and nurses sometimes make negligent mistakes that can have disastrous consequences. When successful and valid, wrongful death lawsuits generate change.

Death due to an automobile or trucking crash

Driving is the most dangerous thing most people do on a daily basis, and it’s absolutely essential that drivers pay attention and remain sober at all times behind the wheel. 655 preventable automobile deaths occurred in Oklahoma in 2018 alone, and though the number has been slowly declining, these tragedies still occur frequently.

Whether a driver causes an accident through speeding, distractions like texting, or by the influence of drugs, they are responsible for the lives lost due to their actions. This is especially true for truckers who operate vehicles capable of doing more damage than the average driver, and who often work long hours with little sleep.

Who can bring a wrongful death claim to court?

In Oklahoma, a wrongful death action can be filed by the “personal representative” of the deceased. Many times, the representative will be named in the decedent’s estate plan, in either a last will and testament or a trust. If the decedent does not have an estate plan, then under most circumstances the personal representative will be a spouse, a parent, a sibling or an adult child.

A family member is normally appointed as the personal representative because they are able to represent to the court the interests of the deceased. Occasionally, the court might have to appoint a neutral third party as the personal representative of the estate of the deceased.

Wrongful death lawsuit statute of limitations

You and your family need time to grieve after a loved one’s passing, so a wrongful death lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind. While it is perfectly understandable that you wouldn’t want to jump into a complex legal proceeding, it’s important to note that you don’t have unlimited time to seek justice.

In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case is two years. On the surface, this may seem like a long time. However, in our experience, that time can elapse more quickly than you might think. There are a lot of steps that have to be taken in order to investigate and build a wrongful death case. It is important that if you think you have a wrongful death case, that you contact Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst for a free consultation.

Maples, Nix, and Diesselhorst’s wrongful death attorney team

The unexpected death of a loved one is a very emotional and very difficult time. Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst understands the stress and turmoil you are experiencing, and if we decide to work together, we promise to make things as easy as possible. We also promise our clients to always be honest, transparent, and to work hard toward achieving justice. Every attorney at MND is well versed in not only the Oklahoma wrongful death law, but in the steps necessary to take to be successful in a wrongful death action.

We’ve obtained some of the largest wrongful death settlements in Oklahoma, but for us, effecting change and achieving justice are the true rewards. Contact us today for a free consultation about how we might be able to stand with you and help you achieve the justice you deserve.

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