The Difference Between Medical Malpractice And Wrongful Death Claims: What Kind Of Case Do You Have?

This post was written by Andrea Girones:

The difference between a claim for medical malpractice and a claim for wrongful death can be confusing. Sometimes the claims overlap, but not always. The best way to determine for sure what kind of case you have is to consult an experienced medical malpractice lawyer or wrongful death lawyer.

A medical malpractice claim occurs when a medical professional, such as a doctor or nurse, provides a patient with care below a certain accepted standard and the patient’s health is negatively affected as a result. Medical malpractice may, but does not necessarily, result in the patient’s death. Medical malpractice may cause the patient to:

  • remain ill for longer than expected or develop a secondary illness
  • develop scars
  • lose the use of a body part
  • develop complications or infections
  • have a negative reaction to a drug.

In contrast, a wrongful death claim may arise when a family member is killed as a result of someone else’s irresponsible actions or failure to act. The death may have been caused by medical malpractice. A motor vehicle accident, a defective product, or an assault by another individual may also cause a wrongful death.

To have a claim for wrongful death, you must be able to prove that you have sustained some damages. The damages in a wrongful death claim typically include the loss of financial support for a spouse, children or aging parents and out-of-pocket costs associated with the care and burial of the deceased.

Medical malpractice claims are among the most difficult claims to prove in court. They require testimony by medical experts, whose services can be very expensive. The defendant will also have medical experts supporting his position and it can be difficult to predict in advance which medical experts the court will determine are correct.

If you believe that the death of a family member was caused by medical malpractice, you should consult an experienced medical malpractice or wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. No amount of financial compensation will replace your lost family member. However, you may be entitled to some compensation for your damages if your loss was caused by the negligence of a medical practitioner or another individual. Your lawyer will analyze your case and provide you with the advice you need to protect your legal interests.


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