Wrongful Death Lawsuits Against Hospitals
Illness and injuries are an unfortunate part of life, and most people will visit a hospital for treatment at least once in their lifetime. However, sometimes misconduct or mistakes made by a hospital or healthcare professional can result in the premature death of a patient. The law provides a legal remedy for the families of those who are wrongfully killed due to negligence. Read on to learn more about wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals.
About Wrongful Death Lawsuits
A wrongful death case is a lawsuit brought by the surviving spouse or family of someone who has died as the result of negligence. These sorts of lawsuits are frequently filed after an intentional homicide, accident, or injury.
If a hospital is named in a wrongful death lawsuit, then it's likely that the case involves some sort of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider's treatment of a particular patient deviates from the established professional standard of care, and the patient is injured or dies as a result. Those suing for medical malpractice can sue individual doctors, nurses, or other healthcare providers employed by the hospital. The hospital itself can also be named as a defendant. Medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits frequently involve negligent conduct including:
- Misdiagnosis of illness or other condition
- Mistakes in prescribing or administering medications
- Negligence in caring for patients
- Surgical errors
Wrongful death lawsuits are typically filed by the personal representative of the decedent's estate. Each state has its own laws that set forth the requirements and eligibility for wrongful death suits. Plaintiffs can seek different types of money damages, including reimbursement for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, and family's loss of companionship.
The Decision to Sue a Hospital
The decision to include a hospital as a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit is more of a tactical decision than a legal one. This determination often turns on the level of malpractice insurance the individual doctor in question carries. If the amount of insurance is not sufficient to cover all damages, then it may be advantageous to include the hospital in the lawsuit as well.
There may be circumstances where a hospital acts negligently independent of the actions of a medical professional, and for this reason it makes sense to also include the hospital in a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, hospitals can be negligent in hiring and supervising employees, sustaining appropriate levels of staffing, maintaining and repairing equipment, and generally overseeing medical care at the hospital. A hospital may also be liable for the death of a patient as a result of a failure to establish safe protocols for things like hand washing, sanitation, and labelling. In this event, it would make sense to include a hospital as a defendant in a wrongful death action.
Get Legal Help with Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against a Hospital
If you've lost a loved one and you believe that the negligence of a healthcare provider or hospital contributed to the death, you may have the grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. So you fully understand your important legal rights, consider speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney near you.
Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected.