If someone you love died as a result of something that someone else did or, did not do but should have, you may be wondering if you have any legal recourse. Depending on the situation, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit, but not all circumstances qualify. Speaking with a skilled attorney who can review your situation will help you to understand what qualifies as wrongful death.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a type of lawsuit brought against a party when someone dies as a result of the action of someone, whether that action was intentional or not. If someone intentionally kills another person, a wrongful death suit can be brought against that person in civil court. A charge of murder may also be applicable in such cases; however, murder is a criminal charge and is, therefore, tried in a separate court.
Incidents Which Qualify As Wrongful Death
Wrongful death is not limited only to instances where one person kills another on purpose; negligent acts also qualify. In addition, many other types of decisions leading to the death of a person may also fit under the broad category of wrongful death. Read on to dive deeper into what qualifies as wrongful death.
Intentional killing is one of the most clear-cut examples of wrongful death, as one person intentionally ends the life of another. If a criminal murder charge is brought in a case of intentional killing, trials for both murder and wrongful death can occur at the same time, although they are heard in separate courts.
Negligent Car Accident Fatalities
Negligence is another factor to consider when examining a wrongful death situation. When the deceased is the result of a fatal car crash in which the actions of the other party were accidental, this does not mean that the responsible party is immune from a wrongful death suit. If the other person acted negligently, such as by driving drunk or under the influence of a substance, that person is still liable for the death, even if the collision itself was not intentional.
Death As A Result Of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is a widely recognized area for wrongful death lawsuits. However, it is important to note that a negative outcome in patient care does not necessarily mean that a practitioner was negligent. If a person’s health deteriorates, they pass away or they experience worsening symptoms as a result of a suggested treatment, this does not mean that the medical professional who treated them is responsible for medical malpractice.
Medical Malpractice Negligence
In broad terms, medical malpractice typically refers to instances in which a healthcare professional does one of two things: performs or suggests treatments that are inordinately risky when more conservative treatments have not been tried first, or fails to provide a standard of care that similarly educated and skilled practitioners in the same local area would provide. This may include incorrectly performing surgery, suggesting treatments that are not peer-reviewed or failing to alert a patient of potential risks of a treatment, among many other criteria.
Failure To Diagnose Or Prescribe Medication(s)
If a physician fails to diagnose a condition that a similarly skilled medical practitioner would be able to diagnose, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be an option. This means that if someone you know died as a result of a failure to receive the appropriate diagnosis, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death suit for malpractice. Similarly, if a physician does not prescribe necessary medication that a duly diligent doctor would and a patient dies due to the lack of medication, you may be eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Negligence When Caring For The Patient
Patient care is widely defined but medical practitioners who fail to uphold a reasonable standard, caring for patients as others in their situation would do, may be liable for medical malpractice. This can include negligence in giving advice, reporting or failing to report critical information or test results and documenting information from a patient as a part of their medical history.
Errors during surgery, such as leaving an instrument inside a person, typically come to mind when thinking of medical malpractice, but they are not the only type of surgical negligence. If a doctor operates under the influence of a substance or does not correctly administer surgery, such as failing to sterilize instruments, and a patient dies as a result, this may qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Speak To An Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
Not all deaths that happened as a result of someone else will qualify as wrongful death; therefore, it is important to speak to an experienced wrongful death attorney about your situation. An attorney can help you to understand what qualifies as wrongful death. The attorneys at The Brown Firm will review your case, create an action plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit and pursue the justice your loved one deserves. Reach out today by phone at 703.828.0900 to speak to our talented team. We look forward to hearing from you.