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What does Oklahoma's wrongful death statute say?


Coming to terms with the loss of a loved one is always difficult. The going may get tougher when it becomes obvious that a loved one's death was due to another person's negligence, such as the result of motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents or medical negligence. Thankfully, in all of these situations, Oklahoma laws permit a victim's family to pursue a wrongful death claim to provide compensation which helps recover some of the damages suffered due to this loss.

Oklahoma Statutes Title 12 Chapter 17 Section 1053 addresses wrongful death. Any person planning to file a lawsuit due to the loss of the loved one should be familiar with the statute. Death of a victim caused by a wrongful act or omission by another party is considered a wrongful death, according to the statute. A wrongful death action in Oklahoma can be brought against the other party up to two years after the victim's death.

Damages for wrongful death, per Oklahoma laws, include medical expenses and funeral costs. Additionally, a survivor can also claim damages for loss of companionship and the mental pain and suffering the victim experienced before death. Damages for wrongful death also include the financial losses that survivors would sustain due to the wage loss resulting from the victim's death.

These wrongful death laws are also applicable to the death of an unborn child, except if the child's demise was due to a legal abortion or a routine medical procedure. Interestingly, under no circumstances can a mother be held liable for the death of an unborn child, except if the death resulted from criminal actions of the mother.

Once the amount of damages is finalized, a judge determines the ratio for compensation distribution among survivors. In wrongful death cases, spouses, children and parents are eligible to receive a share of damages award after deducting legal expenses associated with the action.

Source: OSCN.net, "Oklahoma Statutes Citationized," Accessed on Jan. 9, 2015

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