Filing A Claim When Medical Malpractice Results In Death

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to meet the standard of care and a patient is injured or dies as a result of these actions. In cases where an individual is able to make a full recovery from the injuries they suffered as the result of malpractice, determining what course of action to take when seeking compensation for these injuries will typically be rather straightforward. This is because the damages suffered as a result of this type of malpractice are relatively easy to calculate. The same cannot be said of medical malpractice cases that result in death.

When medical malpractice results in the death of a patient, malpractice and wrongful death laws will have a significant amount of overlap. However, the law prevents the surviving loved ones from filing multiple lawsuits as the result of this malpractice. Consequently, individuals will need to choose wisely when deciding whether to file a standard malpractice claim or to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

The Difference Between A Malpractice Lawsuit And A Wrongful Death Claim

There are some key differences between medical malpractice lawsuits and wrongful death claims that families should consider before deciding which type of lawsuit they wish to file. For instance, many states will place a limit on the maximum settlement that can be awarded in a medical malpractice suit. This settlement cap is designed to help protect medical professionals and facilities from being bankrupted by frivolous lawsuits. Wrongful death lawsuits, on the other hand, will not be subjected to these settlement caps.

Another key difference is that malpractice claims are designed to compensate the victim of the malpractice, while wrongful death claims are designed specifically to compensate the surviving family member who filed the suit. As a result, proceeds of a malpractice claim will typically be awarded to the victim's estate, rather than to a single family member. 

Which Type Of Lawsuit Should You File?

There truly is no single answer to this question, since each case of medical malpractice will have its own unique set of facts to consider. This is why it is always best to consult with a lawyer who handles both medical malpractice and wrongful death cases before choosing to move forward with your claim. Consulting with an attorney who has ample experience with both types of lawsuits will allow you to explore the pros and cons of each option as they pertain to the specific facts in your case. 

For more information about medical malpractice law, contact a local law firm.