Enduring the loss of a loved one due to medical malpractice is a painful experience. Besides the grief of unexpected death, families are left with their trust of healthcare professionals altered forever.
One option for families is to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Not only can successful litigation help recoup significant financial losses; it can also bring survivors a sense of closure.
Do you have a case for a wrongful death suit due to malpractice? Read on to find out what you should expect.
Who Can File For Wrongful Death?
The closest living relative of the deceased will often be the one to file. This could be a spouse, parent, or child. This person should also be the administrator or executor of the departed’s estate.
It’s important for the surviving family to agree on a representative to act on the deceased’s behalf. Should there be a dispute as to the chosen representative, a court of law may have to resolve to appoint someone.
Who Is Liable?
Both hospitals and doctors hold potential liability in malpractice cases. Each state has unique laws on medical malpractice. Which party is responsible will rely heavily on the specific situation that led to death.
Medical mistakes are now the third leading cause of death in the US. The umbrella encompassing those responsible is a large one, so there could be many potential defendants in a wrongful death suit. You can read more here about who can be guilty of medical errors in this article from the Law Office of Scott D DeSalvo.
What Damages Can I Claim?
Each state has rules on what damages can be recovered in a wrongful death case. In general, though, there are a few different types of damages that a deceased’s family is eligible for.
Customary damages can be lost earnings and employment benefits caused by unresolved illness. Medical bills and funeral expenses are often covered as well. Some states also allow a dollar amount to be placed on the pain and suffering of the deceased and their family.
If the deceased was a financial supporter of plaintiffs in the case, damages may also be awarded to offset the loss of support and income due to the untimely death. The burden of proof falls on the family to show that they were financially supported, and by how much.
Repayment of the deceased’s “expected contributions” might include college tuition, spousal support for the widow or widower, and other long-term payments.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you’ve lost a loved one due to medical error or negligence, you have a short window in which to file for legal action. Prosecuting the responsible party can ease the financial burden of funeral expenses and protect the family from losses in income and assistance previously provided by the deceased.
Navigating the restrictions of medical malpractice laws can be confusing, especially for a family still grieving. Wrongful death suits are best handled by a law professional with experience in criminal malpractice.
If you need help finding someone to represent your case, check out our guide on how to find the best medical malpractice lawyers.