Losing a loved one is one of the most painful thing that can happen to a person. When a death occurs due to the negligent actions or wrongdoings of another, the pain experienced with such a senseless and preventable death is felt tenfold. It is an unfortunate reality that every year thousands of families will experience such hurt. The Journal of Patient Safety estimates that anywhere from 210,000 to 400,000 people a year are the victims of wrongful death at the hands of a hospital.
Patients who trust physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other hospital staff have been betrayed by medical errors, prescription medication errors, anesthesia errors, and surgical malpractice, among other forms of medical malpractice. After tragedy occurs, families and loved ones of wrongful death victims are left with unanswered questions, and because all medical treatment comes with some amount of risk, survivors might be unsure whether their loved one’s death was preventable or could be considered wrongful.
What is Wrongful Death?
Pennsylvania defines wrongful death as one caused by the neglectful or unlawful actions of another person. When someone is killed due to gross negligence or wrongful acts at the hands of another party or parties, those actions can become basis for a wrongful death lawsuit. In a medical malpractice context, this type of lawsuit is filed on behalf of designated family members of the victim against any medical personnel and/or facilities that were negligent or incompetent in treating the patient such that their care led to their passing. Wrongful death beneficiaries are defined under Pennsylvania law as the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased. If none of these named persons is eligible or available to recover damages on behalf of the wrongful death victim, then a personal representative of the deceased may bring the action.
Medical personnel are rightfully regarded as some of the most trustworthy and careful professionals due to the nature of their work – healing. When patients receive inadequate/or harmful care, the medical professionals who provided such care have failed their duty to provide quality and proper care to patients. These medical professionals should be held accountable for their actions so that future patients are not harmed and so the loved ones of victims can begin to heal.
Wrongful Death Compensation
A sudden and wrongful death not only comes with a high emotions and stress but also unforeseen financial burdens, which can add stress to an already complex situation and delay much needed peace and healing for loved ones. Wrongful death compensation can cover many expenses, providing financial relief to struggling families and loved ones. Damages recoverable in a civil wrongful death lawsuit for medical negligence include:
- Absence of love and emotional support. Although you can’t place a price on the companionship of a loved one, compensation for the absence of love and emotional support due to a sudden and wrongful death can be awarded to provide relief.
- Compensation for the deceased’s pain and suffering. Patients who suffered at the hands of medical professionals deserve to have their unnecessary pain and suffering recognized. Beneficiaries are eligible to recoup financial damages for the deceased’s pain and suffering experienced prior to their passing.
- Costs associated with filing a wrongful death claim or suit. Pennsylvania law outlines that court costs necessitated by reason of injuries causing death can potentially be awarded as money damages to the victim’s beneficiaries.
- Costs associated with funeral expenses. Family and loved ones of wrongful death victims are often unprepared for the costly expenses associated with a premature funeral. Regardless, families who lose loved ones due to the fault of another should not have to bear the costs of funeral expenses in the event of a wrongful death.
- Deprivation of intimacy and companionship for spouses. Spouses of wrongful death victims have had their lives turned upside down. Spouses are eligible for damages associated with the enormous loss of intimacy and companionship that comes with unexpectedly losing a life partner.
- Financial costs of the medical care that preceded the death. Those who survive wrongful death victims should not have to pay for medical costs that caused the unexpected and painful loss of their loved one.
- Loss of financial support for surviving dependents. Wrongful death beneficiaries could be eligible for additional financial compensation depending on the specific facts of their unique case and a complex economic calculation mandated by law.
Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Lawyer
Sadly, Philadelphia records many medical malpractice wrongful deaths each and every year. Unsanitary conditions, negligent medical professionals, and outright wrong and harmful actions by others inflict pain and suffering (and even death) upon patients who sought healing and care. Philadelphia wrongful death victims and their loved ones deserve justice, and as part of that justice, they should be fairly compensated for their massive losses. If someone you know died as the result of negligent medical care and you suspect malpractice, contact the Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers of Lopez McHugh LLP to discuss your case at no charge. Strict time limitations apply to your potential claims, so do not delay in contacting a lawyer for help.