Survivors and heirs who have lost their loved ones as a result of the medical negligence can file a wrongful death lawsuit under medical malpractice.
Wrongful death in medical malpractice occurs when a patient is killed as a result of some type of negligence, and that negligence is a direct cause of the patient’s death. In medical malpractice cases, wrongful deaths are most concerning because patients are admitted for the purpose of healing. However, medical malpractice is the leading cause of wrongful death in California, and thousands die every year as a result of preventable medical negligence. The medical malpractice attorneys at Downtown L.A. Law Group understand that the period following a wrongful death can be difficult for the victim’s loved ones. We pursue every medical malpractice wrongful death claim by analyzing the specific medical records, autopsy reports, as well as hospital and medical conduct. Our team employs some of the best medical experts and investigators in order to build the strongest and effective medical malpractice claim possible.
Who May Sue for Wrongful Death in Medical Malpractice?
While for most lawsuits, the potential plaintiffs in a lawsuit are quite easy to distinguish, such is not the case for wrongful death cases. The plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit must be a rightful heir of the decedent. If an individual is married with children, their heirs would include both their spouse and any living children.
If the deceased is a child, then the parent would be the heir, followed by any living siblings. For many wrongful death cases, the rightful heirs can be complicated. However, California law dictates that every heir be named in the potential wrongful death lawsuit.
Types of Medical Malpractice in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Most people are surprised to find that medical malpractice is the leading cause of wrongful death in California. Due to underfunding incompetent care, and the level of risk, patients may suffer death in any number of circumstances, such as:
- Birth Injuries
- Failure to diagnose, or mis-diagnosis or life threatening ailments
- Medication errors
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia complications
- Bacterial infections
- Emergency room negligence
The failure of medical professionals to competently handle their patients often result in devastating consequences. Please contact our law firm for a free case evaluation of your case.
California Wrongful Death in Medical Malpractice Claims Laws
California has taken steps to minimize the amount and time period by which a plaintiff may bring a medical malpractice lawsuit. Although it is best to review these laws with an attorney, the most pertinent rules are: Statute of Limitations All California medical malpractice claims must be filed within 3 years of the date of the injury OR within 1 year the claimant discovered the negligent act, whichever comes first. With wrongful death, the statute is almost always 1 year, as the negligent act should have been discovered at time of death. However, there are certain exceptions. For minors (children under the age of 18), the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is 3 years, unless the child is under the age of six. Here the child has until his or her eight birthday to commence a medical malpractice claim.
Damages Cap – How Much Can I Recover for my Wrongful Death Medical Malpractice Claim?
California places a limit on the amount of non-economic damages a plaintiff may recover in medical malpractice cases. Often referred to as “pain and suffering,” California only allows a maximum of $250,000 for any non-economic damages. One exception to this rule is death as a result of a nursing home abuse, where family members are entitled to the pain and suffering the decedent suffered as a result of the mistreatment. However, California places no limitations on the amount of economic damages suffered as a result of medical malpractice. These damages require skill in order to calculate the amount of loss and include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of potential earnings
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of training or guidance
Our medical malpractice attorneys work diligently in order to procure the maximum amount of non-economic compensation for your loss.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Two potential causes of action may arise from a wrongful death that is a result of medical malpractice: (1) Wrongful death and (2) Survivor claim. Our attorneys generally file on both these actions in order to maximize a claim, as they offer 2 different types of damages:
Wrongful Death Claim A wrongful death claim basically states that a medical professional was negligent, or a medical error occurred, and that negligence was the direct result of the death. In these actions, the family members do not sue for the pain and suffering imposed on the deceased, but rather for the harm inflicted upon them as a result of the death, including:
- Loss of financial support, income or household services
- Lower quality of life which can include the loss of emotional support and intimate relations
- Medical and burial expenses
Medical Malpractice Survivor Action Claim A survivor action arises from the decedents suffering that occurred as a result of the malpractice. In essence, a survivor action is implemented so that doctors and hospitals may not escape damages for pain and suffering simply because the patient was killed.
Contact Our California Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Lawyers
The period after a wrongful death can be very difficult for the deceased family and loved one’s. Allow our California medical malpractice lawyers make it as simple and easy as possible. Schedule a free case evaluation today to speak to an attorney immediately about your rights.