When a person goes to a hospital for an injury or because they have a serious illness that requires special care, they expect to receive treatment to help them recover. They place their trust in the staff to help them get well. However, there are many instances where the patient doesn’t receive the quality of care they expect. In the most serious cases, the person doesn’t recover and instead dies due to negligence or incompetence from the medical providers. Even a minor injury can lead to death if the correct care is not provided.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is basically defined by the title – someone died when it should not have happened. Death was the wrong outcome for the situation. This type of lawsuit often comes about because family members of the person who died question the death or believe that the person died because of negligence or even some type of wrongdoing, such as an incorrect treatment or medication prescribed.
A wrongful death lawsuit could result from the following situations:
- Misdiagnosis – the doctor diagnoses a condition incorrectly or fails to provide any diagnosis or has a delayed diagnosis, which leads to the person’s death
- Surgical errors – the surgical team makes a mistake before or during the surgery
- Errors with prescriptions – the wrong medication or dosage is prescribed
- Lack of care – poor quality of care which leads to death, an example would be an infection from unsanitary supplies or surroundings
These are just some examples of how a hospital can be held liable for the death of a patient. To determine if the death of a loved one is caused by the actions or inactions of a medical provider, contact The Embry Law Firm for a free consultation.
When the Hospital is Liable
Even if you know that poor care or lack of care led to the death of your loved one, you may not know if you can sue the hospital. Generally, the hospital is liable if the death was caused by someone who is employed there. For instance, nurses are often employees of the hospital while physicians may only see patients but not be employed. Other physicians may be actual employees of the hospital, which would mean it would be liable for their actions.
In some cases, the nurse or doctor may be the person responsible for the death of a patient. However, the hospital may also be liable because it failed to verify licensing or check the competence of the employees or failed to fire someone who was deemed to be incompetent or unlicensed. Lack of safety protocols may have led to the wrongful death as well as understaffing.
Who to Sue in a Wrongful Death
In some cases, a wrongful death attorney may advise you to sue the doctor or nurse rather than the hospital. Other situations may call for the hospital to be held responsible or even both parties. They will often make the decision based on the circumstances and the amount of malpractice insurance the physician has.
To win in a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need an experienced law firm that has won similar cases in the past. The hospital will have the best attorneys they can find to represent their interests. You must be able to prove that they were negligent, incompetent or engaged in wrongdoing and that those actions or inactions directly led to the death of the patient.
It’s important to keep good records and maintain all documentation that supports your case. It can be intimidating to go up against a major organization like a hospital, but you can win your case with the right attorney who will fight for you.
If it’s determined that the hospital was liable for the death of your loved one, you may be entitled to compensation for medical care as well as funeral and burial costs. You may also receive damages for pain and suffering and loss of future income if it has placed a hardship on the family.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a hospital is a complicated, often long-term fight. However, you have the right to be compensated for your loss when the hospital is responsible through negligence or wrongdoing. Our personal injury lawyers at The Embry Law Firm can help you understand the process and know when to take the next step. Contact us today for a free consultation at 1-844-4EMBRY.