If you’ve suffered the loss of a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, you need a wrongful death attorney. A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought for any number of reasons— car wrecks, truck accidents, motor-carrier accidents, unsafe pharmaceutical product or nutritional supplement, medical or prescription errors and/or medical malpractice, dangerous property defects, automobile accident due to a drunk driver or a dog mauling claims. While it can’t bring your loved one back, a wrongful death lawsuit is designed to help you recover costs from his or her medical care, funeral expenses, loss of income, the deceased person’s pain and suffering, and even your emotional damages from loss of companionship under some circumstances. An experienced Oklahoma wrongful death lawyer at McIntyre Law can help you evaluate what damages you could recover.
Consider the amount of time that has passed since the death of your loved one. In Oklahoma, you have two years in which you can bring a claim on behalf of the deceased person’s estate following the date of death. Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit would be brought by the deceased person’s spouse, child or parent. Or, if those individuals are deceased, it could be a sibling or or other person representing the estate. A wrongful death lawyer can help you determine whether you are eligible to bring a suit.
A wrongful death is when the death of one is caused by the wrongful act of another. That “wrongful act” could be intentional, reckless, or negligent—it could even be an omission. In general, if an incident occurs for which someone could have brought a personal injury claim if he had lived, then that would translate to a wrongful death lawsuit if he is deceased as a result of the incident. In other words, a wrongful death lawsuit is one that would be a personal injury suit, except that the person is no longer alive to recover from that action. Instead, his representatives (or survivors) must bring the suit on his behalf to recover damages.
When you consult an Oklahoma wrongful death attorney, you’re going to be advised that this is a civil—not criminal—suit. A criminal case is brought by the government when a crime is alleged to have been committed, and the outcome of a criminal case would be punishment of the guilty party if convicted. A civil lawsuit is brought by an individual (or group of individuals) in order to recover damages (money) as compensation for a loss, whether financial or physical, or—in the case of a wrongful death lawsuit—for the death of a loved one. If there is a criminal case (for example, DUI, manslaughter, etc.), it does not affect the two-year time frame in which a civil wrongful death lawsuit may be brought.
Your wrongful death lawyer will probably evaluate the costs associated with your loved one’s pain and suffering endured between the time of the accident and his or her eventual death, and the loss of wages that would have been earned if the person had lived. A suit could also recover the survivors’ damages for grief and loss of companionship.
You want to bring a suit for wrongful death. Attorney fees shouldn’t be the make-or-break factor. In all likelihood, you won’t pay a penny up front for a McIntyre Law wrongful death attorney. Instead, in most cases, a wrongful death attorney will be handled on a contingency fee basis. That means that instead of your paying up front, the attorney earns a percentage of the damages won. You will set a pay scale ahead of time with the attorney so that you know exactly what to expect. Often, the attorney’s percentage depends on whether the case is able to be settled outside of court or if the case goes to trial.
It’s not an easy decision, that’s for sure. But, at McIntyre Law, we believe that you are entitled to recover for the wrongful death of a loved one. It changes your life—forever. If you want more information, to see if you’re eligible to bring an action, or to explore any other options, call us today. We offer a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney so that you can make an educated decision, based on all of the relevant factors, as to whether this is something you would like to pursue. Contact us today for more information.