Death Limits Under OGTCA

I have a case where a father was killed in a wreck caused by a county employee. He left a surviving spouse and several children. Does each claimant receive the OGTCA limit or must all share in one limit?

Answer: Gleason v. City of Oklahoma City, 1983 OK CIV APP 16, 666 P.2d 786 held that each person sustaining damage by reason of the death triggered a separate OGTCA limit but the legislature almost immediately (1984) amended what is now 51 O.S. Sec. 152(5)(c) [but was then 4(c)] to make clear all claims in the aggregate resulting from a single death trigger one OGTCA limit.

Oklahoma Statutes Citationized
Title 51. Officers
Chapter 5 - The Governmental Tort Claims Act
Section152 - Definitions


§ 152. Definitions

5. "Claimant" means the person or the person's authorized representative who files notice of a claim in accordance with The Governmental Tort Claims Act. Only the following persons and no others may be claimants:
c. in the case of death, an administrator, special administrator or a personal representative who shall aggregate in the claim all losses of all persons which are derivative of the death;

Carlson v. City of Broken Arrow, 1992 OK 163, 844 P.2d 152 explains this:

"¶7 The finding that the clear language of 51 O.S.Supp. 1992 § 152 (4)(c) requires wrongful death claims against a political subdivision to be aggregated is supported by the Legislature's amendment of § 152 after the decisions in Gleason and in Crawford. Amendment of a statute once its meaning has been judicially determined indicates the legislative intent to alter the law.9 Here, the Legislature corrected an omission in the Governmental Tort Claims Act to include a definition of claimant that makes it clear that aggregation is required."