Wrongful death and medical malpractice are sometimes used interchangeably in the same lawsuit. However, these two differ mostly in terms of legal meaning and interpretation.
Doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, surgeons, and hospital staff can together or individually harm the patient. This may be intentional or accidental. Examples of medical malpractices include surgical errors, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, delayed treatment, birth injuries, and so on.
Besides, it is not necessary for the negligence to result in death for it to end up in court. If you feel you have sufficient conviction of a probable medical malpractice, do not hesitate to contact expert attorneys in such cases.
While medical malpractice is specifically for negligence in the medical field, wrongful death can be caused by many circumstances. Some of the cause include medical malpractice, automobile accidents, assault, and much more.
Wrongful deaths resulting from medical malpractice
Due to some unfortunate turn of events, a medical malpractice may lead to the death of the patient. If you are a victim or know someone who is, then there are necessary concepts you should understand.
Who can file a lawsuit for wrongful death?
The person who is eligible of filing the lawsuit is the deceased’s closest relative. He/ she may be a spouse, parent or child. It becomes a little complicated when the only surviving close relatives cannot see eye to eye. In case one files a lawsuit and the other objects, the court determines the dispute.
Who appoints the person filing the lawsuit?
A probate court is responsible for appointing the representative of the deceased. The appointment can be made after a trial or hearing. In case the decision is objected, the court will have a hearing and select the person that best represents the interest of all involved parties.
What is the extent of the burden of proof?
For the defendant to be held liable for wrongful death allegation, the plaintiff has to prove a few things. In case of negligence, he/she has to show beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had the sole responsibility of caring for the deceased. The next task is to prove negligence in the duty and the contribution of the same to the death.
What are the considered damages?
The plaintiff in a medical malpractice wrongful death case is entitled to the customary damages such as loss of earnings, employment benefit, and the suffering of the deceased. Other damages include loss of support, funeral, and burial expenses.
How does the court award loss of support?
First, you need to prove that the deceased supported you and anyone else who claims so. Minor children will receive support until they are 18. It may be extended to college if evidence shows that the deceased could have supported them through college. Spouse and children are also entitled to loss of consortium and guidance and nurture respectively.
Some states, however, have award limits on the damages. You can find out on these caps and more from Fennimore Injury Law. It is the legal practice of one of the leading attorneys in personal injury law, Michael E Fenimore.