Though fatal car accidents sometimes happen in Oklahoma, not all of them are eligible for wrongful death lawsuits. There are several requirements for the law to acknowledge a car crash as causing a wrongful death.
The other party must be at fault
Although the death of a loved one always feels wrong, it would be untenable for the law to recognize all accidental deaths as wrongful. Wrongful death means that somebody else was at fault for the decedent’s death, and the circumstances of that responsibility must meet specific requirements.
In wrongful death cases related to car accidents, you must prove that somebody else’s mistake caused the car crash. In other words, if somebody else had not done something wrong, the accident never would have happened.
To prove that someone else was at fault, you need to establish that the other person was negligent or behaved in an objectively incorrect manner. Unfortunate circumstances aren’t enough to establish wrongful death.
Other requirements of wrongful death suits
The decedent must have left behind a spouse, children or other dependents. You must show that the death has negatively affected the decedent’s next of kin. If the decedent has no next of kin, a wrongful death suit isn’t applicable.
In many states, the death must lead to monetary damages. Oklahoma’s wrongful death statute also allows next of kin to receive compensation for mental anguish.
All fatal car accidents are tragedies, but not all qualify as wrongful death. If you suspect that your loved one’s death was wrongful because whoever caused the accident was negligent or breaking the law, you might benefit from contacting an attorney with experience in filing personal injury lawsuits as the result of car accidents.