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Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Oklahoma?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Wrongful Death

People never know how long they’ll have with their loved ones. Most people hope to have a long and happy life with their spouses, parents and children, but not everyone dies of natural causes. Some people pass unexpectedly and far earlier in life than their loved ones anticipate.

Car crashes, house fires, acts of violence and a broad range of other unpredictable scenarios can lead to someone dying quite early in life. Adjusting to life after the tragic passing of a loved one is a difficult process. Those left behind after someone dies have grief and various practical issues to address.

It is natural for survivors to worry about the financial implications of someone’s death and to desire justice. A wrongful death lawsuit can give families closure and provide financial compensation for the economic impact of a tragedy.

An estate representative can take legal action

Those closest to the person who died may have a hard time handling their grief and tackling practical issues in the months after their passing. Thankfully, they can often count on someone else to manage the wrongful death litigation process for the family.

Under Oklahoma state law, the personal representative of an individual’s estate is the only party with the authority to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. The estate representative can take legal action against a person or business whose negligence or misconduct caused the tragedy. If the lawsuit is successful and leads to an award of compensation, the estate representative must then properly distribute the funds received through the lawsuit in accordance with the law.

Proceeds from the lawsuit can help fulfill the financial obligations of the decedent. Funds can also compensate surviving family members for the economic impact the death has had. Spouses, children and parents are typically the main beneficiaries who receive proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit.

The closest family members of the decedent may need to communicate their concerns about the need to take legal action with the party handling the estate to motivate them to consider a wrongful death lawsuit. Seeking justice in the civil courts can potentially provide families with both financial support and a sense of closure after a tragedy.