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How Can I Prove a Wrongful Death Resulted From Medical Malpractice?

Posted on in Medical Malpractice

Waukegan wrongful death lawyerDoctors and other healthcare staff have both an ethical and legal obligation to provide competent care to patients. Doctors cannot always prevent the deaths of their patients. However, there are some situations in which a medical error or negligent act results in an avoidable patient death. If a patient’s death is caused by medical malpractice, a surviving family member may choose to bring a wrongful death claim against the doctor or the medical facility. A wrongful death claim may help the family recover compensation for their loss while holding the responsible party accountable for the tragic loss.

Defining Medical Negligence

A wrongful death occurs when the wrongful, reckless, or negligent action or inaction of a party results in the death of an individual. The terms medical malpractice and medical negligence are sometimes used synonymously, however, medical negligence is only one component of a medical malpractice claim. Four elements must be present to establish that medical negligence has occurred:

  • Duty: If a patient had established a confidential doctor-patient relationship with the medical professional, the professional has a duty to provide capable medical care.

  • Breach of Duty: The medical standard of care refers to the quality of care that a reasonably skilled medical professional with similar training and education would have provided under similar circumstances. If the professional failed to meet the medical standard of care, he or she has breached his or her duty of care.

  • Causation: The plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty led to the patient’s injury, or in the case of a wrongful death claim, the patient’s death.

  • Damages: The final element of medical negligence involves damages, or the losses caused by the injury or death. Damages in a wrongful death claim may include loss of partnership with a loved one, loss of the deceased person’s financial support, medical expenses, and more.

When Is a Patient’s Death Considered a Wrongful Death?

There are a number of ways that a doctor, hospital, nursing home, or another medical facility may be liable for a patient’s death. Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are two of the most common medical errors that lead to medical malpractice claims. Surgical errors, prescription and drug administration errors, mistakes made during labor and delivery, and anesthesia errors may also cause someone to file a claim. Proving that the negligent actions of a medical professional caused the death of a patient is often the most challenging part of a medical malpractice wrongful death claim. A medical malpractice attorney may utilize evidence such as medical records as well as testimony from expert witnesses to prove that a wrongful death has occurred.

Contact a Lake County Medical Malpractice Attorney

Losing a loved one due to the negligent actions of a doctor or medical facility is a horrible experience to endure. If you have lost a loved one and you suspect that medical negligence may have played a role in the death, contact Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. — you may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses. Call our office today at 847-662-3303 and schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Waukegan wrongful death lawyer.




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