Why Do Hospitals or Doctors Get Sued When a Patient Dies?

Death is, ironically, a natural part of the life cycle. Even when it is expected, it is difficult for family and friends to process. What happens, though, when it happens unexpectedly? A person under medical care may wind up dying either due to the illness’s progression or something else. Medical malpractice lawsuits get filed when a patient suffers an injury or illness due to a doctor or hospital’s wrongdoing, as a wrongful death lawyer, like from Hurwitz, Whitcher, & Molloy – Attorneys at Law, can explain. If a patient dies, the malpractice becomes a wrongful death action. Find out more about how a wrongful death lawsuit proceeds in the death of the patient.

The Basics of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit falls under the general umbrella of personal injury law. Under this type of law, when one person is harmed due to someone else’s negligent behavior, a lawsuit can be filed. The purpose of the lawsuit is so the plaintiff of the suit can recover damages. This is a financial award handed down by either a jury or judge, depending on the proceeding. Damages may:

  • Reimburse out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • Calculate future medical needs and advance them
  • Make up for lost wages or future lost earnings
  • Provide excess money for particularly heinous injuries

When the plaintiff dies due to negligence, the lawsuit is filed on their behalf as a wrongful death action. The heirs recover any damages awarded.

Medical Negligence by a Provider

Doctors make mistakes, and not all qualify under personal injury provisions. However, when a doctor ignores medical evidence, goes against the standard of care, fails to act, or acts in a contrary manner, the behavior may rise to negligence. To bring a case of negligence against a doctor, there must be proof that the standard dictated a contrary action or reaction. This is most often done by other medical experts.

Negligence by a Hospital

A hospital may also be negligent and contribute to the injury or death of a patient. The institution itself may have policies that are either not adhered to by staff or fallible. For instance, a hospital may not have proper sanitation guidelines. If a patient dies as the result of an infection, and it is found that the policy was not sufficient to provide protection, the family may file a lawsuit. A hospital may also become involved in a lawsuit if medical workers are negligent.

When a loved one dies because a medical provider or facility acted recklessly, a wrongful death lawyer is a great source of help.