Each year in the United States there are thousands of cases of medical malpractice and wrongful death. These cases charge a medical professional with doing their job below the accepted standard of care and directly causing the death of your loved one as a result. Most medical malpractice cases and wrongful death lawsuits result in settlements and payouts from the medical facility and the malpractice insurance policy to help pay for the costs and the suffering that comes with losing that individual. If you or someone you know has suffered from wrongful death or medical malpractice case you should see a personal injury attorney.
What is a Wrongful Death Action?
A wrongful death action is a lawsuit that occurs after a loved one dies while in the care of a medical professional. These cases are normally due to medical malpractice, or negligence by the medical professional. Malpractice is when a doctor, nurse or another medical professional provides care much lower than the expected standard. This could even be considered negligence in some situations when very little care is provided by the medical professional.
A wrongful death action is put in place by the family of the deceased individual and any awards from the case will go to the family’s estate.
A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Can Seek Compensation for the Following:
- The total medical bills accumulated
- Lost wages, present, and future
- Pain and suffering up until death
- Loss of consortium (family relationship benefits)
- Punitive damages for very serious errors or intentional negligence
It’s each of these different factors that a malpractice attorney is going to be considering when deciding how much compensation to ask for from the defendant during the case. It’s important to have a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer when filing a malpractice case to ensure that every potential consideration is made to get as much compensation as possible.
Determining Whether the Case was Medical Malpractice
There are tens of thousands of medical malpractice lawsuits filed throughout the United States every year. Not all of those cases actually qualify as medical malpractice. A legal professional can help advise you on when a case is likely to be considered as medical malpractice and when a case won’t qualify for that title.
In most instances, medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or another medical professional is negligent in the care that they offer. That means that the doctor isn’t offering the standard of care that another similar doctor would offer as the medical standard. This doesn’t mean that the doctor needs to do everything perfectly, only that the medical professional must offer reasonably good care.
In some instances, the medical professional could be charged with behaving recklessly, but this is very uncommon and normally only occurs when drugs or alcohol are involved, or when the professional makes a very poor decision, such as administering a lethal dose of a medication.
In some cases that seem like they should be medical malpractice they simply won’t qualify. When medical conditions progress naturally a doctor can’t be held responsible. The same can be said for uncurable conditions that a professional is trying to treat. In these circumstances, the expert can’t be held responsible because they aren’t offering treatment in a negligent way.
Hiring an experienced attorney on medical malpractice cases will help you understand whether your case qualifies as malpractice or not right from the beginning. Getting the right professional also improves your chances of building a successful case and getting the compensation that you should get.
Settlements are Most Common with Wrongful Death Actions
Today most wrongful death actions are settled outside of court with a monetary payment by the individual, the malpractice insurance company or the medical organization the individual works at. It’s up to both sides of the case to come to an agreement about how much should be paid for the case. This agreement requires the defendant to pay a specific amount to the victim’s family to avoid going to trial for the case.
State Malpractice Settlement Caps Affect Negotiations Significantly
Many states in the US are reforming their malpractice laws to put a cap on the total amount of money that can be paid out to compensate an individual in a medical malpractice case. These changes are designed to help lower healthcare costs overall but limiting medical lawsuit payout amounts.
In states where payouts are capped, organizations and individuals won’t agree to a settlement that’s any larger than the capped amount for that specific case, and will often pursue a settlement amount significantly lower than the cap. That’s because even if the case is allowed to go to trial it won’t cost any more than the capped amount and there is a chance that the defendant will win the trial and avoid paying out for the case at all.
The amount of the settlement will determine the circumstances of death for the patient as well as the person’s age and their level of health before being treated. It will also depend on the state’s medical malpractice cap that’s in place currently. Older and less healthy individuals will often command a lower compensation payout than young and healthy individuals would.
Seek Expert Legal Help for Medical Malpractice Cases
If you or a loved one has been severely injured due to the negligence of a medical professional, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice case. Whether the case is for someone that’s been injured, or it’s a wrongful death action for a deceased family member, we offer knowledgeable guidance and help throughout the legal process while seeking compensation. At the Tuley Law Office, we have medical malpractice lawyers that specialize in state-specific malpractice laws and understand how to give you the best chance at a large settlement. Our experts will help you understand your case, they will explain whether there is any evidence of malpractice or not and what your best options are.
Whether your case goes to trial or you settle out of court, the quality of your attorney will determine whether you are compensated or not, and how much you get. No amount of money can ever replace a lost loved one, but without compensation medical bills and life after the death of a family member can be significantly more difficult. Get professional help, win your case and get the compensation you deserve.
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