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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.

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Waukegan wrongful death lawyersIllinois is known for its icy, windy, and often snow-covered winters. When spring finally arrives, many people are eager to get back to the warm-weather activities they love. For motorcycle enthusiasts, little compares to the excitement of the first ride of the season. Unfortunately, riding a motorcycle can be a risky mode of transportation. Because the vehicle offers virtually no protection to the rider in the event of an accident, many motorcycle accidents result in catastrophic injuries or death. Just under 5,000 riders lost their lives in fatal motorcycle accidents in 2018 alone. If your loved one passed away in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent party, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

When is a Motorcyclist’s Death Considered a “Wrongful Death?”

There are two criteria in Illinois law regarding wrongful deaths. A death is considered wrongful when:

  • The death was caused by “wrongful act, neglect or default” and
  • If the deceased person would have survived his or her injuries, he or she would have been entitled to bring an action to recover damages

Wrongful deaths are often caused by the negligent actions of another party. A motorcycle accident may be caused by negligent motorist who is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, texting and driving, driving in a dangerous or reckless manner, or violating traffic laws. It is also possible that fault for the accident lies with a company such as the company that manufactured the motorcycle or constituent motorcycle parts. Because so many different factors can contribute to the severity of a traffic accident, determining fault for a fatal motorcycle accident can be a highly complex process. Therefore, legal guidance from a wrongful death attorney experienced in motorcycle accident cases is essential.  

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Lake County wrongful death lawyersThe death of a close family member is heartbreaking regardless of the circumstances surrounding the death. However, when a loved one is killed due to the negligent, careless, or intentional acts of another party, the loss can be even more tragic. Not only do surviving loved ones have to deal with their personal loss, they must also manage the financial loss caused by the death. Fortunately, surviving family members of the deceased may be entitled to compensation for their losses through a wrongful death claim.

When is a Person’s Death Considered a Wrongful Death?

Not every unexpected death is considered a wrongful death. The Illinois Wrongful Death Act states that a wrongful death is a death caused by “wrongful act, neglect, or default.” If the deceased person, should he or she have survived his or her injuries, would have been able to pursue damages through a personal injury lawsuit, then the representative of the deceased person is permitted to pursue damages through a wrongful death lawsuit. There are almost countless situations that may lead to a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful deaths may be caused by:

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Lake County medical malpractice attorneysLosing a loved one is difficult no matter the circumstances. However, if the loved one’s death was preventable, the loss is especially heartbreaking and infuriating. Sadly, it is estimated that medical errors result in the deaths of over 250,000 people per year in the United States. This makes medical mistakes the third-leading cause of death. 

If you have lost a loved one and you suspect medical negligence played a role in his or her death, you may wonder when a doctor or medical facility is liable for a patient’s death. If your loved one’s death was the result of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss.

Proving That a Wrongful Death Was Caused by Medical Malpractice

Sometimes, a patient passes away and there is nothing that doctors and other medical workers could have done to prevent the death. However, this is not always the case. Failure to diagnose a medical condition or misdiagnosis, medication and anesthesia mistakes, surgical errors, or other forms of substandard medical treatment may result in the injury or death of a patient. 

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Waukegan wrongful death lawyersThe Illinois Wrongful Death Act can be difficult to understand and interpret correctly. As with many pieces of legislation, the way the law should be interpreted is established in large part through case law. Recently, the First District Appellate Court announced a ruling that demonstrates the complex nature of the Wrongful Death Act with regard to unborn fetuses. If you have lost an unborn child due to medical negligence, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn about your options under Illinois law.

Surgeon’s Failure to Recognize Pregnancy Leads to Elective Abortion

According to court records, when the Illinois woman bringing the unprecedented lawsuit was admitted to the hospital for an elective surgery, she did not know that she was pregnant. During presurgical assessment, samples of her blood and urine were tested and lab results showed an increased amount of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HGC), the so-called “pregnancy hormone,” in her system. Although the lab results indicated a possible pregnancy, the woman was allegedly assured that she was not pregnant and the surgical procedure continued. Unfortunately, the woman was, in fact, pregnant. She claims that she later learned that the medications and general anesthesia used during the surgery may have resulted in major fetal abnormalities. Because of this, the woman elected to terminate her pregnancy.  

Liability for Fetal Death May Lie With the Surgeon Who Failed to Recognize Pregnancy

Although the woman’s decision to have an abortion was her own choice, she only made this decision because the fetus could potentially suffer from deformities. These possible deformities would not have occurred if the surgeon had recognized that the woman was pregnant and canceled the original surgery. Because of this, the woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the surgeon.

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