What is Wrongful death arising from Medical Negligence?
Wrongful death arising from medical negligence occurs when a doctor or hospital make a misdiagnosis or mistake that leads to patient death. When you go to the doctor or a hospital, you trust the healthcare providers you see to treat you properly. Unfortunately, every year a number of people die due to medical negligence. Sometimes medical professionals make fatal mistakes that kill patients instantly. In other cases, mistakes worsen the patient’s condition and accelerate death. If someone you know has died due to a medical mistake, you may be able to take legal action against the at-fault party.
Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death
A wrongful death claim is a type of lawsuit that can arise from injury cases like those involving car accidents, slip and falls, or medical malpractice. In the medical malpractice context, a wrongful death claim can arise when negligence by a healthcare provider leads to a patient’s death. Medical errors can lead to wrongful death in a variety of ways including, but not limited to: anesthesia errors, surgical errors, post-surgical mistakes, failure to treat properly, drug complications; emergency room negligence, misdiagnosis and more.
A wrongful death claim rooted in medical negligence differs from an ordinary negligence claim in a few important ways. For one, the duty of care owed to a patient by a medical professional is much higher than the duty of care owed from one ordinary person to another. This is because medical professionals are held to an elevated professional standard of care. The standard of care refers to the customary level of care that a healthcare provider in the same profession, with similar training, would use in the same or similar circumstances.
In order to prevail on a wrongful death claim in the context of medical malpractice – it must be shown that the patient’s death occurred because of the healthcare provider’s failure to adhere to the standard of care.
An individual who intends to file a medical malpractice suit against a healthcare professional is required to provide notice of intent to sue at least ninety days before filing the lawsuit. Maryland also requires that a medical doctor sign off on a medical malpractice claim. In any medical malpractice claim, a qualified statement must be filed that states the healthcare professional breached the accepted standard of care and proximately caused the plaintiff’s injury. This pre-suit procedure is intended to parse out frivolous claims and only allow claims with merit to move forward.
An attorney representing an injured patient will help them meet the requirement of finding a medical expert witness to substantiate the medical malpractice lawsuit. The qualifications of the medical expert will vary depending on the facts of the case. There are three basic requirements for an expert witness:
- the expert witness must have clinical experience;
- the medical expert must have provided consultation relating to clinical practice; and
- the medical expert must have taught medicine in the defendant’s specialty or a related field of medical care or in the area of medicine in which the defendant provided care or medical treatment to the plaintiff within 5 years of the date of the alleged medical malpractice negligence.
Wrongful death claims have to be brought within the applicable statute of limitations. The statute of limitations simply refers to the time frame in which a claim must be filed. Under Maryland law, a wrongful death claim brought on a medical malpractice theory by the decedent’s dependents must be filed within three years from the date of death.
Wrongful Death Attorneys Representing Families in Prince George’s County
At Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt, our wrongful death attorneys have helped countless families in the Prince George’s County area pursue the justice and compensation they deserve for the harm they have suffered. We strongly believe in holding negligent medical professionals accountable for their actions. Losing a loved one is never easy, and the experience is even more traumatic when the death is unexpected. We proudly serve clients throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. If you have questions or concerns about your case, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 888-952-9669 for a free case evaluation.