Wrongful Death - Medical Malpractice lawyers
A fatal accident lawyer may take legal action for a wrongul death compensation claim whenever someone dies as a result of another person's negligence. The wrongdoer can include someone who broke the law in a motor vehicle and killed a pedestrian, passenger or other motorist or a manufacturer that made a defective product that ultimately resulted in someone's death or a co-worker or employer involved in dangerous practices. There are numerous other scenarios that may form the basis for a wrongful death lawyer to take legal action on behalf of a claimant in a court of law including medical malpractice. The fatal accident lawsuit is usually brought by the family of the victim, especially by those people who had depended on the deceased for financial support. The law in Canada relating to fatal injury cases does vary dependent on the location of the accident that resulted in death.
In fatality cases involving any degree of negligence by any person other than the deceased, you may need to seek qualified legal advice from a wrongful death lawyer with a view to making a financial compensation claim. You should seek the advice of a qualified lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases with expertise in fatal accident settlements. Our medical malpractice lawyers deal with wrongful death compensation claims using a contingent fee arrangement which means that if you don't receive an award of damages you pay nothing at all. Our lawyers offer free advice with no further obligation and will tell you there and then whether or not we believe that you have a viable claim and the anticipated potential financial settlement.
Wrongful death litigation can arise from many different scenarios, including motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice claims and work-related injuries in the absence of a safe system of work. You can file a claim against any person or any company or any organization including the government and the military. In all fatality cases that may involve negligence by someone other than the deceased, if you are a potential claimant or dependent you should discuss your situation with a wrongful death lawyer to establish whether or not you have a potential claim for a compensation settlement.
Those who are entitled to instruct a fatal accident lawyer to file a wrongful death suit are those people who have a legal interest in the deceased and are usually represented by the executor of the dead person's estate. The most common claimants include immediate family members of the deceased, such as the spouse and the children or parents of unmarried children who have died. In addition those who were supported by the deceased or who were entitled to be supported by the deceased including non-relatives have a financial interest in the deceased person's estate and are entitled to file a lawsuit for financial support against the negligent parties.
Prohibitions & Caps
Some lawsuits for wrongful death are prohibited in certain circumstances. Exactly who is prohibited varies from state to state. In addition, some states will limit or "cap" the amount a person can receive in a wrongful death suit and will limit the type of damages allowed, particularly in wrongful death claims involving medical malpractice.
There are basically three types of damages allowed under medical malpractice wrongful death cases. The first is economic damages and is the easiest to calculate and predict. It represents the amount of money lost to the family and dependants because the primary caregiver has died. This can be a tricky determination if there were expected changes in the person's income over the years. Included in this part of the settlement are any medical expenses the decedent incurred and any funeral expenses involved. Any pension plans or other work benefits lost in the death of the patient are included in the claim. In addition, a claim can include the amount of loss of inheritance the decedent lost by dying early and the value of any goods or services the deceased person would have given the family.
Non Economic DamagesThere are also non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, which are harder to just calculate and must be inferred in some way. These include damages the family gets for their emotional pain and suffering, damages from the loss of care, guidance, advice, protection and nurturing the deceased person would have given the family. In addition, companionship and place in society can be lost by the survivors and a value can be put on these things and put in the compensation claim.
Punitive damages are hardest to tease out. These are the "punishment damages" and are given as part of the claim when the negligent party committed a particularly egregious act that caused the death of the decedent. Things like elder abuse causing the death of a nursing home patient can be especially harsh, leading to tripling of the asked-for punitive damages.
Miscellaneous items that can be included in wrongful death claim settlements include the interest that has accrued on the damages from the time of asking to the time of receiving the amounts due and reimbursement of the survivors lawyer's fees and expenses.
The calculation of the amount of the claim can become extremely complex requiring expert witnesses including forensic accountants and those people who are experts in areas such as costs of daycare and other services, cost of keeping the house clean, cost of hiring a family shopper, cost of medical care and transportation for the family for the rest of their lives.
There are time limits for fatal accident settlements and you should contact a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after the incident that resulted in the death of the victim. Each state has its own "statute of limitations" for wrongful death lawsuits. The exact amount differs from state to state and represents the amount of time a fatal accident lawyer has to file the claim. Failure to properly deal with a fatal accident compensation claim settlement prior to the expiration of the limitation period may mean that the opportunity to claim damages is lost forever.
If you suspect you have a case of wrongful death in your family, you should either contact your own lawyer or have the executor of the estate contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in wrongful death cases. These can be very complicated cases that require a specific kind of expertise. Gather information related to the decedent's income, medical expenses and document other impacts on your lives as a result of the person's death and share those things with your lawyer.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here