Medication mistakes alone kill between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans annually, making them the seventh most significant cause of mortality in the United States. This raises the question, “What is the distinction between medical malpractice and wrongful death?”
It might be difficult to tell which one a lawsuit involves; thus, it’s good to know the fundamentals of both. The following article explains the distinction between medical malpractice and wrongful death and advises you on proceeding with your claim.
Establishing Medical Malpractice
Malpractice in the medical field refers to any action or inaction of a healthcare provider that results in patient harm. Medical mistakes can happen for various causes, but they often have devastating consequences for the patient.
Doctors, nurses, surgeons, midwives, hospital personnel, and pharmacists are just some healthcare professionals who might make a mistake and cause injury to a patient.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is possible at any point in the doctor-patient relationship, from the initial consultation to the recovery period. Some typical cases of medical negligence include:
- Not keeping track of a patient’s medical history;
- Misdiagnosis or failure to obtain appropriate diagnostic tests;
- A lack of follow-up treatment or an untimely release from the hospital;
- Wrong medication or incorrect dosage;
- Faulty interpretation of laboratory tests;
- Errors such as unneeded or wrong-site surgery.
Establishing Wrongful Death
Wrongful death is the death of another person due to the neglect, carelessness, wrongdoing, or default of a third party.
Someone can file a wrongful death suit if a family member dies due to medical negligence, providing the family with a means to seek redress and financial compensation for their loss. Additionally, the lawsuit seeks civil damages from everyone at fault for the fatality. Unlike cases involving medical negligence, those involving wrongful death have a far larger legal framework.
Types of Wrongful Death
The legal framework surrounding wrongful death extends beyond that of medical misconduct or personal injury. A wrongful death occurs when someone causes another person’s death via recklessness, indifference, intentional misconduct, or default.
Wrongful death lawsuits arise from a broader range of conditions and can be the result of things like:
- Abuses at nursing homes;
- Accidents caused by carelessness with motor vehicles;
- Injuries at birth;
- Medical malpractice;
- Defective medical gadgets;
- Accidents that happen on the job;
- Murders and shootings by police.
The overlap between the two concepts is the primary source of confusion people have when considering legal options.
Benefits a Lawyer Can Provide
As a kind of negligence, medical malpractice differs from wrongful death, which results from an act of wrongdoing. However, wrongful death litigation may result from medical negligence, and a legal advisor can be helpful in this situation.
You can pursue a wrongful death claim without an attorney, but doing so may be difficult due to the complicated nature of the law. Having an attorney will help you avoid common mistakes and ensure your claim is submitted before the statute of limitations expires.
Consult an Established Legal Professional
Dealing with the injury or death of a loved one is a harrowing experience. When the life of someone close to you has been cut short by negligence or carelessness, it’s entirely within your right to seek compensation.