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How Can I Prove Malpractice and Wrongful Death for My Loved One?

May 1, 2024
Prove Malpractice and Wrongful Death

A prescription error, a mishap during surgery, or a medical misdiagnosis can have devastating, even fatal consequences. A wrongful death lawsuit could help the families of medical malpractice victims seek justice and financial compensation for the loss of their loved one.

However, medical malpractice cases have complications and challenges that are uncommon in typical negligence claims. If a medical error caused the death of a close family member, you may be wondering how to prove your case against the doctor or hospital. 

In this post, an experienced wrongful death attorney discusses what you need to know about proving wrongful death due to medical malpractice.

What’s the Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death?

Not all cases of medical malpractice end in a patient’s death. If you suffered a non-fatal injury due to a medical mistake, you could sue the doctor or hospital for medical malpractice. 

Similarly, not all wrongful death cases revolve around medical negligence. For example, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit against a drunk driver who caused an accident in which your spouse or child died. 

When medical malpractice causes the death of a loved one, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the medical provider or facility. 

What Elements Must I Prove in a Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

To prove wrongful death due to medical negligence, you must show four elements:

  1. Duty: The medical provider or facility had an obligation to provide the patient with proper medical care. Generally, all medical professionals — doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and technicians — owe a duty of care to their patients.
  2. Breach of duty: The defendant’s actions (or inactions) violated that duty or failed to meet the recognized standard of care. 
  3. Causation: The negligence of the medical provider or hospital directly caused the fatal injury.
  4. Damages: The death caused calculable damages for which you seek compensation. These may include economic losses like funeral and burial expenses and non-economic damages like loss of companionship. 

How Can I Prove Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice cases tend to be more complicated than simple negligence cases like car accidents. That’s because of the technical terminology, complex science, and standards involved in proving medical malpractice.  Medical Malpractice is so complex that many states, including both Texas and New Mexico, have special legal requirements that must be met before claims can even be met. 

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide treatment that meets the recognized standard of care. This standard is the care another medical professional would reasonably provide in the same circumstance. This seems simple, but the accepted standard of care depends on all sorts of factors, including the provider’s experience, education, training, field of medicine, and even geographic area. 

To prove medical malpractice, a wrongful death attorney will depend on advice from medical consultants and expert testimony. An independent consultant can review the medical records, explain the science, and testify that the healthcare practitioner’s negligence caused the death. Witness testimony may also prove valuable.

What Damages Can I Seek in Wrongful Death Cases?

In wrongful death claims, you can seek the following types of compensation:

  • Pain and suffering of your loved one before death
  • Medical expenses incurred by your loved one before death, including emergency treatment, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, medical devices, and other healthcare costs
  • Lost wages, including past income your loved one lost because of injury and your loved one’s anticipated income
  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of any inheritance 
  • Emotional distress and pain and suffering the surviving family members experienced
  • Loss of consortium (love, companionship, services, and support of an intimate familial relationship)

Need Help? Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If you have questions about proving your wrongful death case or need legal representation in a medical malpractice claim, contact Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C. online or at 800-433-2408 for a free consultation.