Differences Between Wrongful Death and Medical Malpractice

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Have you ever heard someone talk about a wrongful death or medical malpractice case and not know what they were talking about? Do you have a loved one at risk of being wrongfully harmed and need to know the differences between wrongful death and medical malpractice?

First, let’s establish what is wrongful death. Wrongful death refers to any injury leading to accidental or intentional death, while medical malpractice refers to cases where a healthcare provider’s negligence leads to injuries or death.

This article will cover the basics of each concept so that you can better understand how wrongful deaths are treated differently from medical malpractice cases.

What Separates Medical Malpractice from Wrongful Death?

The same incidents may give rise to different legal claims for medical misconduct and wrongful death. For example, a claim by the heirs of a deceased person brought against another person or entity is called “wrongful death.”

A wrongful death could result from negligence, irresponsibility, or purposeful misconduct.

In addition, pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases account for the loss of companionship and financial support, as well as funeral costs, which are all claimed in this type of litigation.

An example of a wrongful death case could be an at-fault car accident causing a death.

Meanwhile, medical malpractice is a claim against a healthcare provider for failing to provide proper care, resulting in injury or death. It could be due to an error in diagnosis or treatment, failure to obtain informed consent, or failure to meet accepted standards of care.

Both wrongful death and medical malpractice claims require proof that the defendant’s actions were negligent or reckless to succeed.

The Definition of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a severe problem that patients may experience life-changing effects. It occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide the appropriate standard of care, resulting in harm to the patient.

Medical malpractice includes misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, surgical errors, birth injuries, nursing home abuse, delayed treatment, and medication errors.

Such negligence might occur during the diagnostic, therapeutic, or post-treatment processes.

Healthcare providers must take all necessary steps to ensure that they provide the best possible care for their patients.

Patients should also be aware of their rights and know what steps to take if they believe they have been a victim of medical malpractice. Legal action may be necessary to receive compensation for damages caused by medical negligence.

What Is Wrongful Death?

A legal claim known as “wrongful death” may be made when someone dies due to another person’s carelessness. You can make this kind of claim against a person or an organization whose negligent or irresponsible behavior caused the death of another person.

Medical malpractice, inattentive driving, and neglecting to maintain the property in a safe condition are just a few instances of carelessness that might give rise to wrongful death claims.

In medical malpractice cases, you may bring wrongful death claims against doctors or other healthcare providers for failing to provide adequate care and treatment.

In cases involving distracted driving, you may bring wrongful death claims against drivers who were not paying attention to the road and caused an accident that resulted in fatalities.

When Medical Errors Cause Wrongful Deaths

Even though medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits are two separate legal matters, they may be connected.

When medical malpractice leads to a wrongful death, the deceased’s family may be able to pursue legal action.

In these cases, families may be entitled to damages for their losses, including funeral expenses and lost wages from the deceased person’s job.

Families who have suffered a wrongful death due to medical malpractice may speak with an experienced attorney to understand their rights and options for pursuing legal action.

Who May Bring a Case for Wrongful Death?

Who can sue for wrongful death when someone passes away from another person’s carelessness or purposeful act?

Usually, the claim is made by the deceased’s closest family, such as a parent, child, or spouse.

If named in a will, the executor of the decedent’s estate may, in some circumstances, also submit a claim. Next of kin have the authority to administer the estate and bring a wrongful death lawsuit if no executor is named in a will.

Again, consulting an experienced attorney when filing a wrongful death claim will help navigate this difficult process.

Restitution for Wrongful Deaths

In a wrongful death litigation, compensation for expenses is possible. These expenses include medical bills, burial costs, and missed support payments.

The deceased’s family may also be entitled to compensation for financial assistance, care, companionship, training, education, personal advice, or other services provided.

Damages are typically awarded to the surviving spouse, domestic partner, or the nearest relative without a will or other verdict instructions.

These factors may determine the number of damages awarded in a wrongful death claim:

  • The deceased’s age
  • Their earning capacity
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • The emotional distress of the remaining family members

Limitations in Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful death cases can be difficult to pursue, as there are several limitations to consider.

A wrongful death claim must typically be brought within two years of the decedent’s death, according to most jurisdictions’ statutes of limitations. So if the case is not filed within this window of time, it could be dismissed.

Additionally, the kind of damages claimed and any limitations set out by state law may limit the amount you can seek in these claims. For example, Texas has a $250,000 maximum on non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, mental distress, or loss of companionship or consortium.

Before filing a wrongful death claim, it is important to familiarize yourself with the applicable laws to see if you have all of the wrongful death elements required.

Therefore, you are strongly advised to speak with an accomplished lawyer before deciding whether to proceed with a wrongful death claim.

Personal Injury Attorneys in Dallas, Texas

As you work with the Dallas personal injury attorneys at our firm, we will ensure that you earn a sufficient amount through an insurance claim or lawsuit to pay for any damages you may have sustained from the assault.

We are a seasoned personal injury law firm that handles both medical malpractice and wrongful death cases.

We will work to ensure that you receive fair compensation for the damages you have sustained.

Get in touch to take advantage of our free consultation, or call (214) 295-2900.


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