When you lose a loved one to the doctor’s carelessness or lack of skill, your family wants both justice and financial compensation simultaneously. If you can prove medical malpractice, you can get justice in the form of financial compensation.
Estimates of fatalities from medical errors show exactly how troubled the medical system in both California and the overall country can be for patients. One estimate claims that over 250,000 people die each year from medical mistakes.
When your loved one is harmed by a care provider, your family can do something about it. You can seek justice for medical malpractice with the help of a California wrongful death lawyer at One Law Group. Contact us to learn more about your legal rights.
Types of Medical Errors That Cause Death
Doctors can make a number of errors that can lead to the death of your loved one, including:
- failure to diagnose an illness that costs valuable treatment time
- surgical errors
- failure to provide sanitary conditions that leads to a fatal infection
- medication errors that lead to a fatal reaction
- negligent failure to treat a patient
The Role of Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Claim
Not every fatal medical outcome is considered medical malpractice. In order for your family to receive financial compensation, the physician had to meet the standard of negligence.
A doctor is not expected to be perfect, and the law recognizes that patients may die. Negligence means that the doctor has not upheld their standard of care. A doctor is expected to act as a physician of reasonable training and education. You will need to compare the actual care that your loved one received versus the decisions that an average doctor will have made.
Your medical malpractice attorney will obtain your loved one’s medical records and reconstruct what happened with the help of expert witnesses. The experts will give their own opinion about what the doctor should have done to show that the doctor was negligent.
Challenges to a Medical Malpractice Case
There are a number of challenges when you are filing a medical malpractice wrongful death case that requires the skill of an experienced lawyer:
- Juries tend to respect doctors because they are conditioned to believe that they are experts and may hesitate to second-guess what a doctor did.
- The defendant might argue that your loved one may have died anyway, regardless of what the doctor did.
- The doctor and hospital can make it difficult for you to get medical records, even though you have a legal right to them.
Medical malpractice cases can be hard-fought legal matters since your family may be owed a large sum of money. The doctor and hospital likely have millions of dollars of malpractice insurance coverage, but the insurance provider does not want to write the check. If they do offer you money, you can be certain that it is far less than your family deserves since your loved one died from medical negligence.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits for Medical Malpractice
If a loved one has died through medical malpractice, the family can file legal action for wrongful death. California law allows the following family members to file wrongful death lawsuits:
- The surviving spouse of the decedent
- If there is no surviving spouse, the children of the deceased can file a lawsuit
- If there are no spouses or children, the parents may file a wrongful death claim
- If none of the above exist, other heirs can file a lawsuit
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Regarding medical malpractice damages, California has recently changed its law to increase the amount of non-economic damages that plaintiffs can collect, both in wrongful death cases and those where death is not involved.
Now, the cap on non-economic damages in wrongful death cases has been lifted to $500,000, and it will increase by $50,000 each year until it reaches $1 million.
In addition, your family can recover the following in wrongful death cases:
- Lost wages that your loved one would have earned had they lived and continued to work
- Grief and trauma that your family has endured in tragically losing a loved one
- The loss of the close, loving relationship that you had with your family member
The hospital and doctor may try to deny responsibility for your loved one’s death. They may try to drag out settlement negotiations. What can hold them accountable is a tough lawyer who is not afraid to take the case to trial.
Many defendants end up settling the case when they realize that a determined attorney has built a case against them and is fully prepared to take it to a jury. That is precisely what we can do at the One Law Group.
Contact a California Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Attorney Today
The One Law Group is here for your family when you need a skilled attorney to get justice for the negligent death of a loved one. Doctors and hospitals will realize that we mean business when representing you.
To schedule your free initial consultation, you can email us or call us at (844) 626-1529. You owe us nothing unless we can help you win your case.
Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death FAQs
Will my medical malpractice case go to trial?
Most cases do not go to trial. The defendant may be more motivated to settle when they realize you have built a strong case against them.
Should I accept a settlement offer?
The initial settlement offer will likely be very low, and you can get far more money if you negotiate with the defendant. We can do that on your behalf.
What is the statute of limitations in a California wrongful death case?
You have one year after discovering that your loved one’s death was caused by medical malpractice to file the case.