The Rights of a Family When a Loved One Dies from Negligent Healthcare
Summary: When your loved one needed medical attention, you assumed he or she would be in capable hands. Unfortunately, healthcare negligence can lead to serious injury and even wrongful death. If you have lost a loved one as a result of possible medical malpractice or negligence, you may be feeling simultaneously devastated and unsure of what to do next. More than likely, you or other family members have also been left with substantial funeral, burial, and related expenses. What are your legal rights? Where should you turn to seek financial compensation? These are just a couple of the many questions you may be asking yourself during this difficult time.
When your loved one needed medical attention, you assumed he or she would be in capable hands. Unfortunately, healthcare negligence can lead to serious injury and even wrongful death. If you have lost a loved one as a result of possible medical malpractice or negligence, you may be feeling simultaneously devastated and unsure of what to do next. More than likely, you or other family members have also been left with substantial funeral, burial, and related expenses. What are your legal rights? Where should you turn to seek financial compensation? These are just a couple of the many questions you may be asking yourself during this difficult time.
Medical Negligence and Wrongful Death
For starters, it can be helpful to understand what is considered medical negligence and wrongful death from a legal standpoint. Any time a patient is injured as a result of medical malpractice, this is known as medical negligence. Injuries vary from person to person, but the legal classification remains the same regardless of the scope or extent of the injuries.
Wrongful death, on the other hand, is the legal term for a situation where a patient dies as a result of negligence or malpractice. Some examples of negligent medical care that can lead to wrongful death of a patient include:
- misdiagnosis or late diagnosis
- incorrect charting
- improperly prescribed/administered medication
- surgical errors.
If any of these occurred to your loved one and resulted in death, you may be able to bring a wrongful death case against the medical professional or hospital/practice where the negligence occurred. In court, however, you will also need to be able to prove that your loved one was treated by the health care professional and that the professional failed to meet the duty of care owed to your loved one.
Damages From a Wrongful Death Claim
If you're thinking about bringing a wrongful death or negligence claim against the health care provider who treated your loved one, you may be wondering what types of damages your family may be entitled to. In general, immediate family members are able to seek compensation for:
- funeral and burial costs
- loss of income
- loss of companionship
- grief, sorrow, and mental suffering.
When to Speak With an Attorney
If you have suffered the devastating loss of a family member as a result of medical negligence, you may understandably be feeling as though you need time to grieve. However, it is also important that you take the legal action needed to ensure that you receive any compensation and benefits to which your family may be entitled. Bringing a case against the responsible health care provider may also help to prevent another family from going through a similar loss.
Before proceeding with any legal action, however, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney who has dealt with cases of wrongful death and medical negligence in the past, preferably attorneys with a medical background or who have received medical training. This way, you can receive the legal guidance you need during what is likely the most difficult time of your life.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney will also be able to assess the details of your loved one's case to determine what kinds of damages your family may be entitled to. From there, you can move forward with confidence, knowing you have the representation you need to seek and obtain the justice you and your loved one deserve.
Going through the loss of a loved one due to medical negligence can be devastating. Knowing your rights and pursuing legal action is an important next step to holding the responsible health care providers accountable and pursuing compensation for loss of income, burial expenses, and other costs. Be sure to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable legal professional who has particular expertise in handling medical malpractice cases.
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