Our wrongful death DUI accident attorneys file claims against drunk drivers that cause fatalities in Oklahoma. When someone you love is killed by a drunk driver in Oklahoma, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to obtain damages. Although no amount of financial compensation can erase your loss, but holding the drunk driver accountable can help you and other family members achieve closure and in a small way make the road safer for those who may themselves face a wrongful death at the hands of yet another drunk driver.
Liability in Wrongful Death DUI Accident
Depending on the circumstances of the drunk driving accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against one or more of the following:
At-fault Driver: If the drunk driver caused the auto accident that led to the wrongful death of the victim, the state could file DUI criminal charges against them, while you can file a wrongful death claim for financial compensation. In any case, you can seek wrongful death compensation regardless of what happens in the state’s DUI criminal case.
Employer: If the drunk driver was operating in the course of their job, their employer may have vicarious liability for the wrongful death if they showed negligence in hiring, training, or supervising the drunk employee.
Automobile Owner: If the actual owner of the vehicle is someone else who knowingly allowed the drunk driver to operate their car, they could share the liability in this case.
Social Host: Under the social host law in Oklahoma, a host has the responsibility when alcohol is served on their premises to individuals below 21 years.
Server or Seller: In Oklahoma, it is against the law to provide, deliver or sell alcoholic drinks to someone who is visibly intoxicated. These third parties could be held liable under the state’s dram shop law.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in a Drunk Driving Case?
Wrongful death claim in drunk driving case in Oklahoma may be filed by the “personal representative” of the decedent’s estate. This individual represents both the decedent and their legal beneficiaries. If the personal representative was appointment by the decedent in their estate plan, they may be allowed to file the wrongful death claim in the court.
In the absence of a named personal representative, the court in Oklahoma will appoint this person. This individual would usually be a close family member, such as the spouse, parents, children, or siblings. However, in exceptional cases, the court may appoint someone from outside the close family as a personal representative.
Types of Damages You Can Collect
A drunk driving wrongful death claim in Oklahoma is a civil lawsuit filed to pursue financial damages. Three broad categories of damages in these cases include:
Damages Suffered by the Decedent
· Pain and suffering that the deceased may have endured from the moment of their final injury to their death.
· Loss of income that the deceased was expected to have earned had they survived.
Damages Suffered by the Family
The surviving members of the decedent’s family may be compensated for their damages, such as emotional pain and grief, loss of consortium, and funeral expenses.
A wrongful death caused by drunk driving is a particularly egregious offense, which may lead to punitive damages. These damages are awarded to set an example for the society, and not with the purpose of compensating the victims. In Oklahoma, punitive damages could be substantial in this type of a case.
DUI Wrongful Death Attorney Near You
Across the country death at the hands of drunk drivers is rising at an alarming rate. If you have lost a loved one in Oklahoma due to the fault of a drunk driver, the seasoned wrongful death attorneys at Kania Law Office can help you claim your rightful compensation. Call 918-743-2233 or fill out this online form to request a free and confidential consultation.