We can’t deny the fact that death is inevitable for every human being. A time comes when you have to die and there is nothing you can do about it. However, for some people, this might happen before their time is up due to someone else’s fault. One of the most heartbreaking experiences any person or family can encounter is losing their loved one.
The death could be particularly disturbing if the death occurred as a result of medical malpractice such a mistake made by a trained and experienced medical professional such as an anesthesiologist, nurse, surgeon, or doctor. Sometimes, the error can also be made by a medical facility such as a surgical center, hospital, or doctor’s office. Keep in mind that people trust the lives of their loved ones to these medical facilities and medical professionals. They expect these experts to provide proper medical care that can save the lives of their loved ones and not vice versa.
When this trust is broken as a result of wrongful death from medical malpractice, the family of the deceased expects comprehensive answers and compensation. This is the primary reason why we have wrongful death claims to protect the dependents of the deceased. Any individual who files a wrongful death case must prove that indeed there was medical negligence that led to the death of the patient.
What Constitutes a Medical Malpractice?
In simple terms, medical malpractice can be defined as a deviation from the established international standards of medical care that causes a patient to suffer more or die. The international standards of medical care refer to the type and level of care that any skilled and competent health care professional with proper training in the medical field is expected to provide under certain circumstances.
Typically in medical malpractice that led to death lawsuit, it is the testimony of another qualified and competent medical expert related to that particular instance of malpractice that will help to determine what the standard medical care should be. Some of the common medical malpractices include:
- Surgical errors
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Delayed treatment
- Nursing home abuse by healthcare providers
- Birth injuries
- Medication errors
Understanding Wrongful Death
Wrongful death has a broader meaning in legal perspective than just medical malpractice. Wrongful death can be defined as carelessness, neglect, or any wrongful act of one person that leads to the death of another person. Medical malpractice specifically addresses the cases of medical negligence. However, it is good to mention that wrongful death can result from a wide range of other circumstances and not just medical negligence alone.
It’s also essential to understand that family immunity is practiced in most states. Family immunity means that two siblings can’t sue each other for wrongful death. The wrongful death cases in the United States are strictly governed by the state laws.
In a wrongful death case, compensation is usually sought by the heir or family member of the deceased individual. The complainant will imply that their loved one died lost their lives due to medical malpractice that could have been prevented. To prove the wrongful death case, the complainant must establish a connection between the medical negligence and the cause of death.
This requirement usually creates challenges for cases that involve the elderly or patients with complicated underlying medical conditions. In most cases, an autopsy may not be carried out, but instead, the opinion is left to the doctor who treated the patient. Although this scenario may create challenges in proving the wrongful death case, a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer who has a strong medical background can easily prove the connection that is needed.
Wrongful death cases that occurred as a result of medical negligence can be hard to deal with especially those cases that involve the death of a newborn or the elderly. Therefore, it is critical to do a lot of research when choosing your wrongful death attorney. Make sure that the attorney you choose to work with is familiar with all the rules surrounding wrongful death claims.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit on Behalf of the Deceased?
The person who will end up filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased will often be the deceased person’s closest surviving relative such as a parent, spouse, or child. In most cases, the person filing the lawsuit will also be the administrator of the deceased’s estate if (s)he had one.
In most cases, the family of the deceased will not get into disputes when selecting who should act on behalf of the deceased, but in some cases, the family may disagree when choosing who will be the official representative of the deceased person’s estate. Remember the fact that it is the administrator of the estate who will have all the legal authority file, control, and settle the wrongful death lawsuit.
Types of Damages That Can Be Claimed in a Wrongful Death Case
The damages that are allowed in a wrongful death case tend to differ from state to state. Medical malpractices negligence generally consists of medical expenses, disability, lost wages, or other punitive damages. However, the damages claimed in a wrongful death case may either differ or will be an addition to the commonly sought damages in medical malpractice cases. These include:
- Loss of financial support
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral/burial expenses
- Lost employment benefits
- Loss of parental guidance and nurturing which is allowed for the children of the deceased
- Loss of companionship, love and comfort
How to Get Help after Wrongful Death
Losing your loved one is never easy. We all want to see our loved ones healthy and living their full lives but that may not be the case when a case of medical negligence is involved. If your family is suffering from the untimely death of a loved one whose death could be prevented, you don’t have to keep quiet and suffer.
The wrongful death attorneys at Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm can help you determine if you have a valid case that is eligible to recover through a lawsuit. Don’t let medical negligence prevail in disintegrating your family. Go out and seek justice on behalf of your loved one.