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Lawsuits & Litigation

Wrongful Death vs. Medical Malpractice

— December 22, 2021

If it can be proven that your injury or the death of your loved one was due to the negligence of a healthcare provider solely, you may have a case for malpractice and can recover damages.

No one should have to lose a loved one and no amount of money can replace them. In some situations, the death of a loved one can be caused by the negligence of a third party. Filing a claim against a negligent party can help hold them accountable for their actions and give you and your family the compensation you deserve. 

Depending on your unique situation, there are different types of claims that can be filed. It is important to understand the difference between wrongful death and medical malpractice, as well as how they are similar. Not all wrongful death cases involve medical malpractice while some malpractice claims can lead to wrongful death lawsuits. 

What is Wrongful Death?

According to the Legal Information Institute, wrongful death is a civil action against someone who can be liable for death. An injury that causes someone’s death is included in this. The claim has to be brought by the person’s survivors, such as their spouse or other family members.

A wrongful death lawyer can help you establish negligence in your case in order to get the financial compensation you and your family deserve. The attorney must prove that the negligence of the doctor is what directly caused the death. 

Causes of Wrongful Death

Wrongful death can occur in many ways other than medical malpractice including but not limited to:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Premises liability accidents
  • Workplace injuries
  • Nursing home neglect
  • Product defects

If the death of your loved one occurred for any of the reasons stated above or another reason unrelated to medical malpractice, you may still have a wrongful death claim and need to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The parties liable for your accident can include individuals, organizations, and even large corporations.

Time Limits in Wrongful Death Cases

Excessive Work Hours Lead to Significant Health Problems, Death
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Every state has different laws about how long you have to file your wrongful death claim. Inform yourself about your state’s statute of limitations so you can ensure that you are filing your claim on time. A failure to meet this deadline could mean that you are no longer able to bring forth your claim and you could miss out on all compensation for your losses. The laws of your state could also impact who is able to bring the claim, so it is important to be aware of all of this information before filing a claim.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice does not have to result in fatality to be considered malpractice. If you or a loved one are experiencing an injury after medical treatment, or experienced a fatality, you may have a medical malpractice case. Unfortunately, not all mistakes and injuries that arise from medical procedures are due to malpractice. Medical malpractice must involve a breach of duty of care from the doctor or nurse to uphold in court.

Medical malpractice can look different in every case but can include: 

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Failure to follow up
  • Mistakes during surgery
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Unnecessary prescription of medications
  • Premature discharge from hospital

Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?

If it can be proven that your injury or the death of your loved one was due to the negligence of a healthcare provider solely, you may have a case for malpractice and can recover damages.

Some damages you can recover in a medical malpractice lawsuit in court include:

  • Non-economic damages for pain and suffering
  • Damages for medical expenses
  • Loss of income, past or future

There are many more damages that you can recover and everyone’s situation is different. Talking to a lawyer can help you better understand which type of compensation you will be pursuing.

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