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What You Need to Know About Wrongful Death in Oklahoma


Wrongful death is the result of a person or entity’s negligence or misconduct. A, wrongful death claim is a civil action that is separate from criminal charges. While legal action may be unthinkable in the wake of your loved one’s death, it may be necessary to protect the financial well being of your family.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

In Oklahoma, a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought by the deceased’s personal representative, or if there is no personal representative, by the deceased’s next-of-kin. If the deceased did not leave a will, the district court usually appoints the closest relative. Briefly, the order of intestate succession is spouse, children, parents, and then siblings.

What types of damages are covered?

Recoverable damages for wrongful death in Oklahoma can be either economic or noneconomic. In some cases, next of kin are able to sue for punitive damages. While the damages listed below have distinct rules about distribution, punitive damages are administered in the same way as the personal property of the deceased. Recoverable damages for wrongful death can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Burial expenses
  • Loss of consortium
  • Grief of surviving spouse
  • Mental pain and anguish suffered by the decedent
  • Financial loss based on age, occupation, earning capacity, and life expectancy
  • Grief and loss of companionship to children and parents

The law of descent and distribution dictates what happens to the personal property of the deceased. It is important to note that many assets are unaffected by that law. These can include property in a living trust, life insurance proceeds, retirement funds, and others. These assets are passed to a surviving beneficiary or co-owner.

Wrongful death litigation can be confusing and emotionally draining. If your loved one died because of someone else’s negligence or misconduct, you need an experienced and compassionate attorney by your side. The experienced Oklahoma wrongful death attorneys at Stipe Law Firm can fight for your rights and help get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation in our McAlester office. We offer comprehensive and compassionate representation for families throughout all of Oklahoma.