The Institute of Medicine estimates up to 100,000 people die in the United States each year as a result of preventable medical mistakes. Unexpected death is one of the most traumatic and stressful experiences, suddenly forcing you to deal with a funeral, taking over finances and making important probate decisions, all while going through a terrible mourning period.
A lawsuit against the doctor or hospital is probably the last thing on your mind after you have lost a loved one and many people believe that a lawsuit is not worth pursuing as it will not fix the mistake or bring back their loved one. However, you may want to consider a lawsuit if you are struggling to pay for medical expenses, funeral costs and other expenses and a health care provider is responsible for the death.
Survivors may file two types of lawsuits after a loved one dies as a result of medical error: a wrongful death action or a survivor action. In most cases, both of these medical malpractice claims can be filed at the same time with two types of damages.
A wrongful death action occurs when the patient died as a result of a medical mistake that should not have occurred and family members suffered direct losses as a result. In this type of case, the hospital or physician responsible should compensate family members for any damages and loss as a result of the wrongful death. These cases do not allow the family to sue for the harm or injuries inflicted on their loved one but rather they sue for the damages as a result of the loss of their family member. Damages may include loss of qualify of life, love and emotional support or financial support.
A survivor action occurs when the patient died due to medical mistakes that should not have occurred, which caused pain and suffering to the patient before death. If the patient had survived the treatment, they would have had the opportunity to pursue action against the doctor to recover compensation and the doctor should not be allowed to avoid liability because the patient died. In these cases, the hospital or doctor may be required to pay compensation for pain and suffering to the loved one’s estate.
Brady Mertz is a Salem, Oregon wrongful death attorney and fatal accident lawyer. If your loved one has passed due to unfortunate circumstances at the hand of another, contact Brady for a free initial consultation .