Most people are familiar with the legal term ‘wrongful death’, but do you know how this type of lawsuit works and what all it entails? A wrongful death claim is a special kind of personal injury lawsuit, for several reasons. For starters, wrongful death claims are made when a family member or loved one is killed due to the negligence or intentional actions of another person. These types of claims allow the estate of the deceased person to file a lawsuit against the person or persons who are legally responsible for the death.
As you may have guessed, wrongful death lawsuits can be extremely complicated and emotionally challenging. In order to hold the responsible party (or defendant) liable in a wrongful death claim, the plaintiffs must be able to meet the same ‘burden of proof’ that the victim would have met should he or she have lived. This means that, for example, the estate of the deceased person must be able to show that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care, and that this duty was not fulfilled. Make sense? As you can see, wrongful death lawsuits are no easy feat. This is where we come in. Personal injury lawyers from Atkins & Markoff not only understand the ins and outs of a wrongful death claim, but we are experts in this field. If you think you may have a wrongful death claim on your hands and would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to contact our Oklahoma office.
Where Did it All Start?
For starters, wrongful death claims were not always a part of the legal system. In fact, when laws were first written it was said that personal injury actions died with the person. This meant that, in the event someone was killed due to another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional behavior, the estate of the victim could not sue or pursue any sort of legal recourse. However, in 1846 an English law called the Fatal Accident Act came to be, which started a shift in American law in regards to wrongful death claims. Based on this English ruling, American states started to pass legislation giving rights to the families and loved ones of people killed by another’s wrongful or negligent conduct.
The Different Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
In order to pursue a wrongful death case, the estate of the deceased person must be able to prove the following four basic elements:
- Your loved one’s death happened as a result of the defendant’s actions
- Your loved one’s death happened as a direct result of the defendant’s negligence or recklessness
- The death of your loved one affected you and any other surviving family members emotionally
- The death of your loved one resulted in monetary damages
It is important to note that wrongful death law differs from state to state, which is why you should contact an attorney from Atkins & Markoff right away if you think you may have a wrongful death claim on your hands. Our lawyers will work with you to ensure you understand your rights and will do everything in our power to help you obtain the compensation and justice you deserve for the loss of your loved one. It is important to keep in mind that all wrongful death cases are based on negligence, which can be difficult to prove. To learn more about what needs to be done in order to pursue a wrongful death claim in Oklahoma, contact Atkins & Markoff today.