Our Oklahoma City Wrongful Death Attorneys Put Your Interests First
We can help you file a lawsuit or a claim for the compensation you deserve
Losing a loved one can be a traumatic experience under any circumstances. But when a family member dies due to someone else's reckless or negligent behavior, the flood of emotions can be overwhelming - anger, frustration, grief and perhaps even confusion.
What should you do? What are your options? Don't give up. We can help. Our experienced Oklahoma City lawyers can help you every step of the way. We know the law and know how to build cases that get results. That's because we've been doing this work for more than 40 years. Experience matters when it comes to such complicated cases.
We take such cases very seriously at Lawter & Associates, PLLC. And it's not about the money. It's about holding the people responsible for your loved one's death accountable for their actions. It's about preventing similar fatal accidents in the future. It's about justice.
Cases we deal with at our law firm
Wrongful death is a legal term used to describe any accident that results in a fatality due to someone else's reckless or negligent behavior. In Oklahoma City, such cases can cover a wide range. Some of the most common cases we deal with at our law firm include:
- Fatal motor vehicle accidents
- Swimming pool drownings
- Fatal work accidents (including ones at construction sites)
- Deadly medical malpractice cases
- Fatal dog attacks
This is just a small sampling of some of the cases we handle at our law firm. Whatever the circumstances of your particular case, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible to learn more about your legal options.
What expenses are covered by wrongful death claims?
In general, all your expenses related to the death of your loved one can and should be covered by your settlement claim. These expenses often include:
- Medical bills
- Lost future income your loved one would have earned
- Funeral expenses
- Pain and suffering in certain circumstances
Losing a loved one due to someone else’s reckless or negligent behavior is hard enough. Your family should not have to suffer financially, as well. Make sure you demand the compensation you deserve. Make sure you talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
How do I know if I have a strong legal case?
The best way to know if you have a strong legal case is simple – talk to an attorney who has handled similar cases in the past. A lawyer can review the details of your case and explain the legal options available to you.
If a loved one died in a fatal accident, it’s especially important to consult with an attorney who understands the laws governing thesecases in Oklahoma. That way, you will have a better idea of what to do next.
Your lawyer should also be able to help you answer several, key questions which can help determine the strength of your case:
- Did someone cause your family member’s death?
- Is there evidence of negligence or recklessness by the at-fault party?
- Did the person who caused your loved one’s death break the law?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you may have a strong legal case and may be able to obtain financial compensation (legally known as “damages”) from the at-fault party.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Oklahoma?
Only certain people can take legal action after the death of a loved one. Under Oklahoma law, such people normally include:
- Immediate family members, including:
- Person named in estate planning documents (power of attorney listed in a will, for example)
Each wrongful death case is different. Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s death, you may have the right to file a lawsuit or take other legal action under Oklahoma law. That’s why it’s critical that you fully understand the legal options available to your family. Make sure you talk to an experienced lawyer who can explain the law and discuss what to do next.
How to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Oklahoma
One of the ways you may be able to obtain compensation after the death of a loved one is to file a lawsuit. This is especially true if the at-fault part’s insurance company denied your claim or made a lowball settlement offer.
So how does someone file such a lawsuit? What’s the process? Each case often presents its own, unique challenges. In general, there are several things you should do if you decide to take legal action after the death of a family member.
- Contact a lawyer – A lawyer can help you decide if filing a lawsuit or taking other legal action is the best way for your family to obtain the compensation you need and deserve. An experienced attorney near you can explain how the process works and answer any questions you might have about your potential legal case.
- Estimate the value of your case – Your lawyer may be able to provide you with an estimate for how much money your legal case should and could potentially be worth. Estimates should include all your current and anticipated injury expenses.
- Investigate your claim – In order to build a strong legal case, you need evidence to support your claim. Your lawyer can investigate what happened and find the facts you need to build the strongest possible legal case.
- Open an estate – After the death of a loved one, you will need to open an estate in order to file a lawsuit. This step is necessary since any financial compensation your family obtains will need to be placed in the estate. A judge will then distribute the money in the estate to the appropriate family members, often as outlined in the deceased person’s will.
- Designate an executor – As part of the estate process, the probate court handling your case needs to appoint someone to represent the deceased’s person’s estate. This person is known as the executor. Most executors are named in the deceased person’s will. If your loved one did not have a will, the deceased person’s assets (including any money your family receives as a result of a lawsuit) will be distributed according to Oklahoma’s “interstate succession” laws.
- File a lawsuit – Your attorney can help you file your lawsuit and all the necessary documents that go with it. In most cases, you will file your lawsuit in the county where your loved one’s fatal accident occurred. In Oklahoma City, for example, that means your wrongful death lawsuit would be filed as a complaint or a petition in the appropriate state or federal court in Oklahoma City.
- ‘Service of process’ – After a lawsuit has been filed, the relevant documents must be given to the defendants, the person or business allegedly responsible for causing your loved one’s death. This procedure is known as “service of process,” meaning the defendants are made aware of the existence of a lawsuit.
Each one of these steps can be very complicated. Any mistakes could jeopardize the outcome of your legal case. Make sure you give your lawsuit the best opportunity for success. Make sure you talk to a lawyer who knows what to do and who has a strong track record of success.
You can count on us when it matters most
It's important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible for several reasons. First, there's a deadline for taking legal action after a wrongful death. In Oklahoma, the deadline (known as the statute of limitations) is two years from the date of a person's death. That might seem like a long time. But the reality is the longer you wait, the harder it often becomes to build a strong legal case. Evidence can disappear. Memories can fade. That's why we want to get straight to work on your potential claim.
Another reason why it's important to begin work on such cases right away is because the insurance company for the person or business at fault is likely doing the same thing. They're looking for any excuse to reduce or deny your claim. That's because there are often thousands or even millions of dollars at stake.
That's not right. That's why we take such cases so seriously in Oklahoma City. We know how to negotiate effectively with insurance companies. And if they refuse to cooperate, we're prepared to take them - or anyone else who stands in our way - to court. Schedule your free case evaluation with an attorney who cares about your wrongful death claim in Oklahoma City.