Depending on where you live, your state may have certain guidelines demonstrating a hospital’s liability in a wrongful death case.
If you live in Florida, Statute § 768.18 allows the following parties to pursue a financial claim for the wrongful death of a loved one:
It can be difficult to file a lawsuit that holds a hospital responsible for the malpractice of an attending doctor or caregiver. For example, if a nurse incorrectly administers medication, and this action led to the death of a loved one, the hospital may deflect responsibility onto the individual caregiver. Some doctors may not be directly employed by the facility at all and are instead “independent contractors.” This means, similarly to the previous example, the hospital may claim that since it is legally not the doctor’s employer, it cannot be held responsible for their negligence.
This does not mean that a hospital is exempt from being held responsible in a wrongful death claim. If a facility violates basic healthcare standards or did not provide the necessary tools to prevent the death of a patient, it can be found liable in a wrongful death claim.
Possible Recoverable Damages
Determining the true cost of living without your family member can prove difficult. Many of the losses that come along with a wrongful death claim include emotional trauma, which qualifies under general damages. It can be difficult to assign value to items that fall under general damages because they are non-tangible items.
Suing a hospital for wrongful death can mean assessing the cost of your family member’s absence from your life in one or more of the following ways:
- Loss of the income they contributed to your home through employment, pension, savings, business income, or other forms of monetary contributions.
- Loss of their personal contributions to your household, such as childcare or chores, that they performed that helped your home run smoothly.
The death of a loved one can change your life, and your family’s forever. A lawyer near you may help to accurately evaluate the economic recovery you may receive when you sue a hospital for wrongful death.
Funeral and Burial Costs May Also Apply
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a hospital is a complicated and time-consuming process. A lawyer can help you understand the full scope of the economic losses you might recover, including funeral and burial expenses for your family member.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, funeral costs and expenses can include the cost of:
- Funeral home expenses.
- The coffin or urn
- The funeral service.
- The hearse.
- The cemetery or mausoleum.
- Grave preparation.
- The headstone or grave marker.
You may have eligibility to get back these costs, and more, when you sue a hospital for wrongful death.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-593-3443
Understanding the Duty of Care Entitled to You
To pursue a wrongful death claim, you must prove the presence of four elements:
- Duty of care. Part of your case will require you to demonstrate the patient-doctor relationship between your loved one and the attending medical professional. All caregivers take on a standard of care when administering treatment to others.
- Breach of duty of care. You will need to identify how the doctor violated their duty of care and contributed to your loved one’s passing.
- Causation. This will require showing that because a caregiver acted either carelessly or negligently, your loved one passed away.
- Damage. You will need to prove that because of your loved one’s passing, you are experiencing otherwise avoidable costs. Emotional trauma, loss of consortium, and loss of inheritance are all examples of what these expenses entail.
In addition to proving these elements of wrongdoing, your lawyer may also help identify expert witnesses to support your claim for compensation when you sue a hospital for wrongful death.
Time Limits for Your Wrongful Death Case
Each state has its own rules for the time limit before which you are allowed to file a medical malpractice or wrongful death claim. For example, if you live in Florida, you have within two years to pursue a civil action in the event of the death of a family member
The ability to sue a hospital for wrongful death involves gathering evidence, proving your claim, negotiating a settlement, and initiating a lawsuit. All these things take time and hiring a lawyer may allow you to grieve your loss without having to also deal with the overwhelming legal process of suing a hospital alone.
Failing to file your claim according to your state’s predetermined timeline means you may accidentally give up your right to financial recovery. You can avoid that risk by working with a lawyer to help your claim abide by the statute of limitations.
Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC for Help
The death of a loved one does not need to cause further stress for your family. You can sue the hospital for wrongful death if the staff failed to meet certain professional standards that resulted in the passing of a family member.
Hold the right party responsible for your loss by calling Ben Crump Law, PLLC at 800-593-3443.