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Lost a loved one to wrongful death?

Trial Attorney for Wrongful Death Cases in McAlester, Oklahoma

McAlester wrongful death attorneys at a funeral.

McAlester Wrongful Death Lawyer

There are few things more painful than losing a loved one too early due to the actions or negligence of another party. If you need to take legal action to seek compensation after the death of someone close to you, meet with a dedicated McAlester, OK accident lawyer at Edwards & Patterson Law. We are passionate about representing family members dealing with this very difficult issue, thoroughly investigating the accident in question and determining fault. Our attorneys provide an unparalleled level of personal care and attention, answering all of your questions and keeping you completely informed throughout the process. For a legal team that truly cares, work with us.

What are Common Causes of Wrongful Death?

There are many different scenarios that could result in the death of someone close to you, including the following:

  • Auto accidents: When another party causes a serious car accident, there’s always the possibility that it could result in the death of other drivers, passengers, bike riders and pedestrians. We help families dealing with the aftermath of fatal accidents involving passenger vehicles, large commercial trucks, bicycles, and motorcycles.
  • Defective products: Manufacturers have a responsibility to provide safe products to consumers, but when they fail in this responsibility, serious accidents may occur. Our team helps you take action if your loved one has died due to injuries sustained from a dangerous product.
  • Dangerous premises: When property owners do not provide safe environments for their guests or customers, people can get seriously hurt. You may need to file a wrongful death claim if a fatal slip and fall accident has claimed the life of someone close to you.
  • Workplace accidents: Serious injuries sustained on the job, including in oilfield accidents, may result in worker fatalities. We assist family members who need to seek compensation if an employer was negligent leading up to the accident.
  • Exposure to hazardous materials: Exposure to dangerous materials may lead to serious and perhaps fatal health complications like mesothelioma, which affects those who have been exposed to asbestos.
  • Medical malpractice: The actions or negligence of a doctor or other health care professional may lead to the death of a loved one. In these situations, your family may need to seek compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
  • Nursing home abuse: Unfortunately, many nursing home residents experience abuse and neglect in these facilities. If a loved one has died and you suspect these issues were involved, you may need to take swift legal action.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death Claims

Oklahoma and Arkansas laws allow certain individuals to file a wrongful death lawsuit if a loved one died as a result of someone else’s negligence. Going to court may be the last thing you want to think about as you mourn your incredible loss. However, it can be worthwhile to study how wrongful death laws work in your state in case you decide to take action.

What are the common types of wrongful death cases?

Wrongful death claims arise out of many different kinds of tragedies. Some cases are fairly straightforward, such as when a drunk driver fatally injures another motorist in a car accident. Others can be more challenging. At Edwards & Patterson Law, our attorneys investigate claims fully to understand the circumstances of your loved one’s death and make sure that all responsible parties are held accountable for their negligence.

Some examples of common wrongful death claims in Oklahoma and Arkansas include:

  • Drunk or drug-impaired driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Driver fatigue (especially common in truck accidents)
  • Defective products (motor vehicle parts, power tools, toys, medical devices, etc.)
  • Unsafe premises (often seen in slip-and-fall claims)
  • Medical malpractice
  • Dangerous work environments
  • Negligent employers
  • Stores or restaurants that sell alcohol to noticeably intoxicated persons
  • Pharmaceutical company negligence
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Toxic exposure (such as asbestos)
  • Fires

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Oklahoma and Arkansas?

Wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury cases, with one key exception. In a personal injury claim, the injured victim of an accident would most likely file the claim on his or her own behalf. In a wrongful death action, a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate brings the case to court to recover damages.

In Oklahoma, the personal representative for a wrongful death claim is whoever was appointed to serve in the role in the deceased person’s estate. That is typically a spouse, parent, child or sibling of the deceased. In the case of a young child with no estate, wrongful death claims are usually brought by the parents or other appropriate next of kin. If no one was appointed in the estate plan and all possible personal representatives are either unwilling or unable to serve, the court may appoint one on behalf of the family.

Wrongful death claims in Arkansas are also filed by appointed personal representatives of the deceased person’s estate. That may be a spouse, children, parents or siblings. It also could be people standing in loco parentis (in the place of a parent) for the deceased or individuals that the deceased stood in loco parentis for.

In both states, wrongful death laws also apply to the death of an unborn child.

What are the time limits for wrongful death claims?

The statute of limitations in a lawsuit is the amount of time you have to file a claim. If you miss the deadline, the court will most likely bar your action and you will not be able to pursue compensation.

In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years from the date of death.

In Arkansas, the deadline is three years from the date of death.

The time after a family member’s sudden death is traumatic. It can take months and even years to cope with the grief and fully understand the scope of the family’s financial losses. You aren’t expected to have a court case researched, litigated and settled within a two-or-three-year window. You just need to file a wrongful death claim before the time expires. Our lawyers can do much of the initial work with your case with minimal intrusions on your personal life as you continue to cope with your loss.

What types of damages are available for Oklahoma and Arkansas wrongful death victims?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim. It is not a murder trial, which is handled in criminal court by the state. A wrongful death suit can proceed at the same time as a criminal trial against the negligent party.

In a successful claim, you can expect to receive monetary compensation for a wide variety of losses, both on the behalf of the deceased and the surviving family.

In Oklahoma, damages are separated into two categories:

  • Damages for the deceased person such as pain and suffering and the loss of expected wages and benefits.
  • Damages for the family including grief, lost companionship, lost future income, property damage, and reasonable funeral and burial expenses.

Punitive damages, or compensation intended to punish the at-fault party for egregious conduct, may also be awarded in wrongful death cases in Oklahoma.

Arkansas also separates monetary awards for wrongful death claims into two categories:

  • Estate claims for damages such as funeral and burial costs, medical expenses, pain and suffering of the deceased before death and the lost value of the person’s future life (such as income that would have been earned).
  • Family claims for loss of household services, lost financial support and loss of companionship.

How can you prove a wrongful death claim?

The crux of any wrongful death claim is proving negligence. In other words, you must be able to prove that the responsible party’s actions (either partly or in whole) led to the death of your family member and resulted in financial losses.

A tricky part in some wrongful death claims is proving the link between the at-fault party’s actions (or inaction) and the resulting death. For example, the risk of death is inherent in many medical procedures. That means that a wrongful death claim alleging medical malpractice must be able to prove that the death resulted from negligence on the part of the medical staff or hospital, not from complications that could reasonably occur during the course of treatment.

However, the burden of proof in a wrongful death case is much lower than in a criminal one. Whereas plaintiffs must prove a person’s wrongdoing “beyond a reasonable doubt” in a criminal case, they must only show that it is “more likely than not” that the conduct resulted in death. A real-life example of this concept came in the murder trial of football star OJ Simpson. Simpson was acquitted in the criminal trial for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman but was found guilty of wrongful death in civil court.

Contact Us Today

At Edwards & Patterson Law in McAlester and Tulsa, we know how difficult it can be to address legal matters when you’re still reeling from the death of someone close to you. We provide the support you need during this difficult time, helping you explore all of your options and hold negligent parties accountable. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Speak with a one our Dedicated McAlester Wrongful Death Attorneys Right Away

A woman in McAlester contacting an accident attorney on behalf of her injured husband. If you are dealing with the death of someone close to you due to the negligence or actions of another party, call on the skilled attorneys at Edwards & Patterson Law. We take cases on a contingency basis, so you don’t pay attorney’s fees unless your claim is successful. To receive a complimentary case evaluation, call 555-555-5555 or contact us online today.

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  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
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