When medical professionals act negligently when treating patients, patients can suffer serious injuries or even death. When a doctor, surgeon, nurse, or other medical professional’s negligence causes a person’s death, surviving family members can pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Proving that a medical professional’s negligence caused your loved one’s death can be challenging. Taking prompt action to preserve your legal rights and protect important evidence can be essential to preserving your wrongful death claim. The Long Island wrongful death attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC are prepared to advocate for your family and hold the negligent party accountable. Contact Dell & Dean, PLLC to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.
Medical Negligence Is a Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.
According to a Johns Hopkins University study, medical mistakes are the third-most frequent cause of fatalities in the U.S., following cancer and heart disease. More than a quarter of a million individuals in the U.S. die from medical mistakes every year. Other reports indicate deaths caused by medical errors could be as high as 440,000.
Coroners, funeral directors, physicians, and medical examiners rarely indicate on death certificates that human errors and system failures contributed to the patient’s death. Statistics indicate that many of the medical errors that cause patients’ deaths are committed by a relatively small number of medical institutions and physicians.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Due to Medical Malpractice
Many different types of errors and mistakes can cause patients to suffer additional injuries and illnesses when receiving medical treatment. Whatever type of medical malpractice resulted in your loved one’s death, the attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC can help you gather evidence of negligence and pursue compensation. Some of the most common causes of medical malpractice that lead to fatal injuries include the following:
- Inadequately skilled staff
- Understaffed hospitals and clinics
- Delayed diagnosis
- Incorrect diagnosis
- Errors in judgment
- Errors in treating patients
- System-wide defects
- Preventable adverse effects
- Mix-ups related to the types doses of medications
- Surgical complications that go undiagnosed
- Anesthesiology errors
- Surgical errors, such as operating on the wrong body part
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Medical Malpractice in New York?
When a loved one dies due to the negligence of a medical professional, the surviving family members may have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the medical professional, his or her employer, the hospital or clinic, or another negligent third party. Under New York law, only the following parties can bring a wrongful death lawsuit:
- A child of the decedent
- A parent of the decedent
- A spouse of the decedent, and
- The personal representative for the decedent’s estate
Generally, the decedent’s brothers, sisters, and cousins have a right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in New York. However, if they’ve also been named as the personal representative or guardian of the decedent, they may not have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. If the decedent had a surviving spouse, child, or parent, extended relatives might not have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. If you are unsure whether you have a right to pursue a claim, discussing your case with an attorney can help you understand your legal rights.
Proving Liability in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A medical malpractice lawsuit involves a victim who suffered an injury because of a medical professional’s negligent action or inaction. The surviving family members do not have to prove that the party who caused their loved one’s death engaged in intentional behavior for it to be considered “wrongful.” They only need to prove that the at-fault party acted negligently, causing the injuries that resulted in the victim’s death. Under New York law, plaintiffs in wrongful death lawsuits must prove the following elements to establish a wrongful death claim:
- The death was caused by negligent or reckless behavior
- If the decedent had lived, he or she would have a cause of action to pursue a personal injury claim in court
- The decedent was survived by one or more people who’ve suffered economic losses because of their death, and
- The decedent’s estate has suffered damages
Compensation Available in Wrongful Death Accident Cases
The amount of compensation available to families who pursue wrongful death lawsuits in New York depends on the unique factors in each case. The attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC have the professional network needed to carefully estimate all the damages resulting from your loved one’s death. If your loved one was a financial provider in your family, we could work with financial experts to determine the total value of your loved one’s loss of future earnings. Other types of damage available in a wrongful death lawsuit include the following:
- Medical expenses before your loved one’s death
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Lost inheritance
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
The attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC will help you pursue the full and fair amount of damages you’re entitled to. While no amount of compensation can bring your loved one back, obtaining a favorable settlement can help you hold the negligent party accountable and help your family move forward.
If your loved one has died in a wrongful death accident, the steps you take can help or hurt your wrongful death claim. The hospital’s medical malpractice insurance provider may contact you and try to make you a settlement offer that is far too low. You are not required to talk to an insurance adjuster and should consult with an attorney before providing a recorded statement or accepting a settlement offer. Medical malpractice cases are complex. They can involve multiple parties and insurance companies. The sooner you reach out to an attorney, the better.
Contact a Skilled Wrongful Death Attorney
Have you lost a loved one because of negligence by a doctor, nurse, or other medical provider? If so, you may be able to hold the negligent party accountable by pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. The attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC have a proven track record of holding negligent parties accountable for their negligence. When you work with our law firm, you can rest assured that we will handle every aspect of your case in pursuit of the most compensation possible. Contact Dell & Dean, PLLC to learn more about how we can advocate for you.