If a loved one has passed away because of negligent care provided by a physician or other healthcare professional, you may be able to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the individual or entity responsible.
Any wrongful death claim requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was at fault for the death of the decedent. In claims against healthcare providers, one must also consider all rules that apply to medical malpractice lawsuits. A wrongful death claim against a doctor is essentially a medical malpractice claim with the added element of a death, rather than just a serious injury. Therefore, the plaintiff must be able to prove there was an element of malpractice involved in the loved one’s death.
Challenges of medical malpractice lawsuits
Adding this medical malpractice element can make the case more difficult for you, as the plaintiff, because of the high burden of proof required in these claims. You will likely have a shorter statute of limitations for filing your case and you will need to have expert witnesses in the medical field to describe what actions a “reasonably prudent” doctor would have taken in similar circumstances. You also might have damages limited by a damage cap for medical malpractice claims in your state.
Remember, just because your loved one died in a doctor’s care does not mean the healthcare professional was negligent. You need to be able to prove that he or she provided a substandard level of care, and that this failure to live up to the “duty of care” directly caused your loved one’s death.
For more information on how a wrongful death lawsuit against a doctor or health care professional might work, reach out to an experienced San Diego medical malpractice lawyer at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire.