There is nothing more tragic than losing a loved one who is being treated by a medical professional. In most instances, death is not a result of medical malpractice. There are times, however, when medical malpractice has resulted in death and a wrongful death suit is an option.
Defining Wrongful Death
The law states simply that a wrongful death occurs when a patient dies as a result of medical malpractice. Each state has its own laws and specifics related to wrongful death suits. For instance, in some states, lawsuits can be filed by members of a family who are otherwise part of the deceased’s estate. In other instances, there are just a few surviving family members who may consider these types of medical suits. These are limited to the deceased’s spouse, any children he or she may have, or the deceased’s parents.
In most instances, both the hospitals and doctors can be part of a suit. It’s important that a qualified wrongful death attorney is contacted to understand the specifics of one’s state laws better.
Not only are the laws different from state to the next, but the damages that are allowed can vary greatly, as well. Plaintiffs can usually recover medical costs in a case where malpractice has been found. Often, future learning capacities are not allowed in a wrongful death lawsuit. Again, this is where a qualified wrongful death attorney can provide guidance unique to the plaintiff’s home state.
Damages and Compensation in Medical Malpractice
It is impossible to state definitively any numbers regarding potential wrongful death suits. No two cases are the same. In malpractice suits in Florida, damages are the way the legal sector attempts to discern what a patient or his or her survivors have lost and then quantify it in a dollar amount. Not all damages are the same, though. “Damages capable of exact calculation” or “special damages” or “economic damages” are the lost earnings and the ability to earn, such as the benefits and other financial earnings from a job, as well as medical expenses and other financial obligations that malpractice has caused a breakdown.
There are many problems when trying to calculate lost earnings and lost earning capacity (non-economic damages). Those problems usually arise if a patient is not working at the time of his or her illness or injury; the injury resulted in a lost opportunity (a higher paying job, for instance) or if one is self-employed.
There are also what’s called “special damages,” and usually future expenses fall under this category. When a medical malpractice suit is because of catastrophic injuries, lifetime medical care usually attaches. Of course, no one can predict how much that lifetime of medical care will cost. Lawyers and the legal system will bring in their own experts in order to arrive at an amount, sometimes seven figures, that can be used to cover those expenses.
Clearly, there are several considerations associated with efforts to answer the question, “Can medical malpractice result in a wrongful death?” Your first move is to reach out to a qualified Florida wrongful death attorney who can guide you through the long and often overwhelming path of securing a fair settlement.