If you’re reading these words because you’ve lost a spouse or relative, please accept our sincere condolences. The death of a loved one is always devastating, especially when it was caused by another person’s careless actions. Take all the time you need, and whenever you’re ready to talk about what happened, the attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook will be here to help you and your family seek accountability, closure, and justice for your tragic loss.
We understand that the death of a spouse or family member is an extremely painful and sensitive matter, and that compensation is the last thing on your mind as you go through this difficult time. We know that dealing with the legal repercussions of a loved one’s passing is something no one ever wants to face. However, failing to take action can leave you and your family burdened with a heavy financial weight. Compensation can help provide for your child’s college education, pay for burial and funeral expenses, and make up lost income necessary to care for your family.
We provide personal, compassionate representation, and will be by your side to answer your questions and guide you through the process.
At Hasbrook & Hasbrook, our lawyers have more than 45 years of experience representing the loved ones of wrongful death victims in Oklahoma City. We provide personal, compassionate representation, and will be by your side to answer your questions and guide you through the process. Our attorneys will handle all of the legal work on your behalf, so that you can focus on spending time with your loved ones. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices at (405) 698-3040. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time of day or evening, including nights and weekends.
What Sort of Compensation is Available to the Families of Wrongful Death Victims?
A wrongful death is a preventable death which was caused by the reckless or negligent actions of an individual or business. More specifically, Okla. Stat. § 12-1053 defines wrongful death as any death “caused by the wrongful act or omission of another,” where an “omission” refers to another person’s failure to take necessary action.
In Oklahoma, wrongful death is not, in itself, a cause of action (cause for a lawsuit). Instead, the plaintiff sues the defendant for personal injury to the decedent, and wrongful death is added to the action. This is provided by the same statute noted above, Okla. Stat. § 12-1053, which states that the plaintiff may “maintain an action” if “the [plaintiff] might have maintained an action, had [the decedent] lived, against the [defendant]… for an injury for the same act or omission.”
In addition to explaining state rules for lawsuits involving wrongful death, the statute also lists different types of compensation available to the decedent’s spouse, children, and/or parents. Certain types of damages may be awarded only to certain people involved in the suit. For instance, damages for loss of consortium (loss of the marital relationship) “shall be distributed to the surviving spouse.”
Compensation may be awarded for the following:
- Medical expenses, such as surgery or medical equipment.
- Burial expenses.
- “Grief of the surviving spouse.”
- Loss of consortium.
- Pain and anguish.
- “Grief and loss of companionship of the children and parents of the decedent.”
In some cases, punitive damages may be ordered. Also referred to as exemplary damages, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for extreme, egregious wrongdoing.
Common Causes of Fatal Injuries in Oklahoma: Cases Our Attorneys Handle
There are many different causes of wrongful death. These causes vary by state, demographic, industry or occupation, and other factors. According to a 2014 report by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, some of the leading causes of death in Oklahoma include:
- Heart Disease (235.2 per 100,000)
- Cancer (191.3 per 100,000)
- Unintentional Injury (60.5 per 100,000)
…fatal unintentional injuries in Oklahoma increased by an alarming 50% from 2000 to 2012.
Sadly, there are many cases where even the most skilled medical intervention is unable to save a patient who is battling cancer or heart disease. However, some patient deaths are attributable to medical malpractice. A doctor commits malpractice when he or she fails to exercise the normal care and precaution which would have been exercised by another doctor under the same set of circumstances, resulting in the foreseeable and avoidable injury or death of a patient.
Failure to diagnose is a common form of medical malpractice, especially with regard to cancer and cardiovascular disease. The doctor may misdiagnose a deadly disease as a minor condition, such as misclassifying a malignant tumor as benign, or may outright fail to detect a developing condition. Some forms of cancer which are commonly undiagnosed or misdiagnosed include:
- Breast Cancer
- Colon Cancer/Colorectal Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Skin Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
The Department of Health report also noted that fatal unintentional injuries in Oklahoma increased by an alarming 50% from 2000 to 2012. Common causes of unintentional fatal injuries include:
- Automotive Accidents – Car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents can all cause fatal injuries, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI), third degree burns, limb amputations, and damage to internal organs.
- Defective Products – The area of personal injury law which deals with defective products is known as product liability. Our attorneys handle a wide variety of product liability cases, including cases involving malfunctioning and defective toys, appliances, dangerous prescription drugs, safety devices, helmets, recalled cars, and automotive products and accessories, such as airbags and ignition switches.
- Industrial Accidents/Workplace Accidents – Fatal injuries have the potential to occur in any type of work environment. However, some of the most dangerous industries and occupations include construction, logging, mining, manufacturing, transportation, and agriculture. Deaths related to farming were the leading cause of occupational deaths in Oklahoma from 1998 to 2001, killing 88 victims. All employers have a duty to create and maintain safe, sanitary working conditions for their employees.
- Nursing Home Abuse – While precise statistics are unknown due to underreporting, the CDC estimates that about one in 10 adults over age 60 have experienced nursing home neglect or abuse. Neglect and abuse often manifest as bedsores, untreated infections, mismanaged diabetes, malnourishment, dehydration, and over-medication.
- Slip and Fall Accidents – Slip and fall accidents can occur in any type of setting, including grocery stores, bars and restaurants, shopping malls, stairwells, parking garages, and city sidewalks. Common causes include unsecured cables, broken banisters/railings, loose carpeting, broken floorboards, and dim lighting. The area of personal injury law dealing with property hazards and unsafe buildings is called premises liability.
If your husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, or father was wrongfully killed in an accident, your family may be entitled to compensation. To arrange a free, completely private legal consultation, call the wrongful death attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 today. We are proud to represent clients throughout Oklahoma City, including Bricktown, Deep Deuce, the Plaza District, Crown Heights, Automobile Alley, Bethany, Heritage Hills, and the Paseo Arts District.