Wrongful Death Claim: Is a Hospital Liable for a Negligent Doctor?

Wrongful death refers to the carelessness of an individual that results in the death of another. According to statistics, hundreds of thousands of people die annually due to medical malpractice.

Usually, most of the incidents occur in hospitals. Some of the situations that may lead to wrongful death include:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Birth injuries
  • Defective medical equipment

A wrongful death case seeks compensation for losing companionship, inheritance, and funeral expenses. Although the settlement doesn’t relieve individuals the pain of losing their loved ones, it reduces the burden of their loss.

When a representative of the decedent sues a negligent medical practitioner on behalf of the surviving family members, it is a wrongful death case. To receive compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit, one must prove that the other parties caused their loved one’s death, resulting in a measurable amount of damages.

Should You Sue the Negligent Doctor or Hospital?

According to Louisiana personal injury law firm Laborde Earles, wrongful death can be accidental or deliberate, it can be caused by recklessness, negligence, or intentional conduct, and the liable party can be an individual or a corporation. You can click here for information about filing a wrongful death claim in Lafayette.

Hospitals are held liable for staff negligence during their work. If a patient dies due to a doctor’s negligence and their loved ones decide to file a wrongful death claim, a medical facility may be required to pay for the potential damages.

Personnel like nurses and doctors are hospital employees. Therefore, if they cause death to patients while carrying out their official duties, the patients’ family members can seek compensation for the losses by suing the hospital. For example, if a nurse administers the wrong dose and causes a patient’s death, the medical facility will be held liable.

Who Should File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Usually, the person who files the lawsuit is one of the deceased’s close relatives, such as a parent, child, or spouse. Some people who file claims may be appointed as administrators of the deceased’s estate. In most situations, the surviving families have no disputes over who should sue the negligent parties.

In the event of disputes, the representative with the legal authority to do so files the case. For example, if a deceased had no spouse or surviving parents but had two siblings who are not on good terms, this would mean trouble. Ideally, one of the siblings would be the legal representative and file a wrongful death claim, but the other may object. If that happens, only a court of law can resolve the conflict.

4 Steps for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Coping with the loss of your loved one is a painful experience. If you believe a medical professional’s negligence caused the death, it can be especially challenging. Other than mourning the loss, you will also need to file a wrongful death claim. How does this work? Here are four steps for the filing process:

Preparations for Litigation

This is referred to as pre-litigation. When preparing, the legal representative of the deceased completes some tasks before suing the negligent parties. For example, investigations may need to be carried out to establish the cause of death.

Another task during the preparation phase is identifying and notifying the responsible doctors or health facilities. These tasks are handled by a lawyer with assistance from other professionals.

Negotiations and Settlements

This step is not applicable in all cases. In many instances, the defendants attempt to solve the claim out of court through negotiations with the insurance company. This may be an ideal option in some situations, as you will not need to worry about losing a lawsuit.

Filing the Lawsuit

If you cannot come to an agreement through negotiation, you can still sue the negligent doctors. This involves filing complaints through the courthouse. All defendants are notified about the lawsuit.

Litigation

This includes tasks such as interrogations and requesting the relevant documentation. The pre-trial, trial, and arbitration are done during the litigation stage. You can continue negotiating with the other parties until you reach a settlement all parties accept.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.