Wrongful death is one of the worst ways to lose a loved one. When filing a lawsuit with the Oklahoma courts, it’s crucial to know about the limits on damages recoverable in such cases.
Filing a wrongful death claim
If a person dies as a result of someone else’s negligence, recklessness or a deliberate act of violence, the victim’s survivors can seek compensation for the economic and noneconomic damages incurred. Per Oklahoma law, a personal representative must file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim’s surviving spouse, children or parents. If the victim had a will at the time of their death and had an executor named, that person would serve as the personal representative. If there was no will, the court can name someone to serve that role.
Damages and damage caps in wrongful death cases
In 2019, the Oklahoma Supreme Court did away with caps on the damages that wrongful death plaintiffs can recover. This means there is no limit on the amount of money potentially recoverable by the victim’s survivors.
Economic damages are those that can be measured by a specific financial amount: medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity. Meanwhile, noneconomic damages include things that cannot be tallied to a certain monetary amount such as loss of consortium, mental anguish and loss of guidance and support.
Statute of limitations for wrongful death
All wrongful death claims must be filed within the set statute of limitations. In most cases, that period of time is two years from the date of the victim’s death. Failing to file within that time period would mean that the court would not hear the case, which means the victims wouldn’t be able to recover the damages they are due.
It’s never easy to lose a loved one to wrongful death. However, you may have the right to recover damages from your loss.