Nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals have a duty to provide patients with competent care. If a medical worker causes an injury to a patient or causes an existing condition to worsen due to substandard or negligent care, the victim will have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
If the patient dies, then a surviving family member can make this claim on behalf of the deceased. This is known as a wrongful death case. Personal injury lawyers generally handle these claims and seek compensation on behalf of the family or the estate, depending on state law.
Proving Medical Malpractice in a Wrongful Death Case
For a medical malpractice claim to be successful, the plaintiff will have to prove that the defendant breached the acceptable standard of care. For example, if a nurse did not deliver the correct dosage of a medication, then he or she—and possibly the facility that employed the nurse—may be liable for any death, worsening medical condition, or injuries that result.
However, just because a patient died or a treatment was ineffective does not necessarily constitute medical malpractice. For example, if a doctor failed to diagnose a rare disease that closely mimics another illness, and a reasonable doctor with the same specialization could have made the same error, then the patient would not have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
Medical Expert Testimony
As you can imagine, proving whether negligence occurred on behalf of a medical professional is often tricky. This is why we generally have to rely on experts to affirm that malpractice caused the injuries and death in these cases.
These experts are usually doctors with similar experience and training as the doctor who possibly caused the injuries. This expert will:
- Review the relevant medical records and other evidence
- Determine what they believe should have happened based on the facts
- Testify if they believe malpractice occurred
- Offer other information about the condition, diagnosis, treatment, and complications
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim Based on Medical Negligence
Filing a successful medical malpractice lawsuit is a complicated process. As the plaintiff, you will have to build a strong case to support your claim and arrange expert testimonies to prove that malpractice did in fact occur. Then, you will need to show how it caused your loved one’s death. As such, it is highly advisable that you enlist the help of a personal injury attorney in investigating what happened and documenting the malpractice.
If you lost a family member due to medical malpractice in Mississippi, our firm can help. An injury lawyer on our team will help you navigate the judicial process and aggressively represent your interests. You can call 800-537-8185 for a free consultation. We are a contingency fee law office with more than 40 years of experience handling injury and wrongful death claims and lawsuits.
Factors to Prove in a Medical Malpractice Case
Like other personal injury and wrongful death claims, medical malpractice cases involve negligence. To win compensation from the doctor, hospital, clinic, or another liable party, you will need to have evidence to show medical negligence occurred, the defendant was legally responsible, and their negligence led to your loved one’s death.
You will have to prove that the defendant breached a duty of care that he or she owed to you—or to your family member in the case of wrongful death. You will also have to demonstrate that a reasonable medical professional with the same specialization would have acted differently in the same scenario, and the result would have been better. You must then link the breach of the standard of care to the death or injury and prove the value of the damages.
When our attorneys manage these cases, we call in experts from our network of medical professionals, obtain the necessary records, interview witnesses, and take other steps to develop a strong argument to hold the defendants accountable and recover compensation for our clients.
Recoverable Damages in a Medical Malpractice Death Claim
The damages your family may be able to recover in a medical malpractice wrongful death case will depend on the state you are in and how the laws work in that state. For example, in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas, the recoverable damages could include the losses and expenses your family experienced, including:
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of income
- Loss of services
- Pain and suffering your loved one experienced before their death
- Intangible losses suffered by you and other family members
In Alabama, the laws are different—Alabama limits the damages recoverable to punitive damages only. Your attorney can help you understand what this means for your case during your initial consultation.
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Medical Errors Are More Common Than Previously Thought
Medical errors are now believed to be the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Research in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) estimated that medical mistakes kill 251,000 people in this country every year—more than respiratory disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s.
This estimate eclipses the previous numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which estimated that medical errors kill nearly 151,000 people per year, according to John Hopkins Medicine, which conducted the study.
Among the leading medical errors that cause injuries and death are:
- Misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis, or failed diagnosis
- Surgical errors, including wrong site, wrong surgery, and items left inside
- Failure to treat or providing the incorrect treatment
- Birth injuries
- Prescription drug errors, such as the wrong drug or wrong dosage
Speak to an Attorney From Morris Bart, LLC About Your Options
If you were injured or lost a loved one due to a negligent doctor, nurse, or pharmacist, contact the Morris Bart law firm. An injury lawyer on our team will handle the legal aspects of your claim so you can focus on recovering. Our team offers free case reviews in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas. We have 15 locations to serve you and your family.
Call 800-537-8185 today to schedule a free initial consultation.
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