The recent spate of severe storms that dropped more than foot of rain on the southern states has claimed six lives. The drenching rains flooded roads and low-lying areas and caused significant water damage to properties all across the south. The deluge left rivers swollen; the waters are receding, but it will be some time before everything is back to normal.
In cases such as these, the families of the deceased may be struggling with their insurance companies when they file a claim. This is because flood claims may be ruled as an Act of God in an insurance policy. If so, it could become impossible for these families to get the compensation they need to pay off any funeral expenses or bills associated with the water damage.
Know the difference
There is an important distinction between an act of God and wrongful death. While the legal term has several different definitions depending on the context, it essentially describes an event caused by natural forces that cannot be controlled or prevented. For example, let us say a man is caught in the floodwater while he is on his way to a store to buy batteries. If he is swept away in the floodwaters, or pinned underneath his car because it shifted due to the storm, his death may have been ruled an Act of God.
Wrongful death, on the other hand, is a direct result of negligence or defect. Say that the man who went off to buy batteries sees a roadway that has water on it, but there is no indication that the water is deep, and no signs that the area may flood during a storm. If it turns out that the roadway is known for flooding, but the people in charge did not put up adequate signage, or if while he is driving a telephone pole falls down and crushes him in his car, his family may be able to make a wrongful death claim because of negligence.
It’s important to be informed, but we know that no amount of information can prepare you for the untimely loss of a loved one. While it may be difficult to consider in the aftermath, Oklahoma laws allow you to seek damages for the wrongful death of a family member.
If you have recently lost a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss. The compassionate wrongful death attorneys at Stipe Law Firm can help you through a difficult time and get you the help you need. For more information, visit our office in McAlester or contact us today.