Did you recently lose a spouse, child, or other loved one? Do you believe their passing is due to negligence or malpractice on the part of their healthcare provider? Perhaps an accident occurred during surgery or maybe you feel like the doctor didn't provide the appropriate level of care. Whatever the circumstances, you likely want to find out exactly what happened and hold the provider responsible. You may even have some outstanding costs related to the incident that you feel warrant compensation from the responsible party.
It is possible to sue a doctor or other healthcare provider for wrongful death. However, it can also be a difficult process. In many states healthcare providers are protected by high liability standards. That means the threshold for proving a doctor's negligence may be higher than it would be for other people. Below are the three core elements you'll need to establish to move forward with a wrongful death suit:
In most states, a wrongful death suit against a healthcare provider can only move forward if malpractice occurred. That means you have to prove and establish malpractice before you get to the wrongful death aspect. Proving malpractice can be challenging, but it is possible. In most cases, you'll need a doctor or expert from a similar field who has performed similar procedures or treatments. That doctor will need to testify that the provider in question was negligent and failed to live up proper medical standard of care.
Once you've established that malpractice occurred, you'll need to show that your loved one's death was a direct result of the negligence. This can be challenging. For instance, if a patient suffered serious and likely fatal injuries, a judge may conclude that the individual was likely to pass away even though the malpractice occurred. That would limit the strength of a wrongful death suit. To hold the provider liable for wrongful death, it needs to be clear that your loved one's passing was directly caused by the malpractice.
Finally, you'll need to establish a figure that represents the financial impact you have suffered as a result of the death. If the loved one was a breadwinner in your home, you could consider the loss of their income as a financial impact. You may have outstanding debts and medical bills related to their passing. Some states will allow you to include pain and suffering, but not all. The compensation calculation can be tricky, so it may be wise to consult with an expert.
Ready to move forward with your wrongful death suit? Talk to a wrongful death attorney like those at Patrick Merrick Attorney at Law LLC in your area. They can help you evaluate your case and decide if a suit is the right path for you.