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What Happens When Medical Malpractice Leads to a Wrongful Death?

Published on November 20, 2022

Medical malpractice is a growing problem in the United States. New studies shockingly reveal that medical malpractice is now the third leading cause of death, causing 250,000 deaths annually. Most people believe they are in safe hands in a medical facility and that doctors and medical staff adhere rigidly to the highest standard of care. But unfortunately, medical professionals sometimes breach this duty of care for a variety of reasons.

Medical malpractice occurs in hospitals, emergency rooms, clinics, and nursing home facilities. Some common types of medical malpractice include the following:

  • Medication errors
  • Misdiagnoses and missing a diagnosis completely
  • Faulty medical equipment or poorly placed medical equipment
  • Communication problems, such as failure to send complete records with a patient between departments or hospitals
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Childbirth injuries to newborns from forceps delivery, vacuum delivery, or failure to perform a necessary C-section
  • Surgical mistakes such as wrong site surgery, wrong patient surgery, and surgical tools left behind in a body cavity
  • Failure to diagnose a pulmonary embolism

These are just some of the most common examples of medical malpractice. All medical mistakes have consequences ranging from mild to catastrophic. Some may have serious impacts requiring ongoing medical treatment or causing disability or impairment. Tragically, the worst medical errors sometimes result in wrongful death.

If your loved one died due to medical malpractice you may wonder what to do next to gain justice for the pain and suffering your loved one experienced as well as the anguish suffered by those left behind.

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When Medical Malpractice Ends in a Wrongful Death

Wrongful deaths happen in many different ways, including defective products, car accidents caused by a driver’s reckless behavior, and sometimes by medical malpractice leading to a catastrophic result ending in death. While not all wrongful death claims are due to medical malpractice, some medical malpractice cases lead to a wrongful death lawsuit.

When a medical mistake causes death, family members can make a wrongful death claim against the hospital or against the doctor if he/she is an independent contractor working within a hospital.

Arizona places no caps on the amount of a wrongful death award. While nothing can bring a deceased loved one back, a successful wrongful death lawsuit provides a grieving family with the following compensatory damages they need to move forward:

  • Medical expenses accrued due to the malpractice injury
  • Funeral and burial or cremation expenses
  • An amount to cover the lost earnings for the remaining years the deceased person would reasonably have lived
  • Monetary compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased person before their death
  • Monetary compensation for the grief and anguish suffered by family members due to the loss of their loved one
  • Compensation for loss of consortium (the loss of a close relationship, either a physical and loving relationship with a spouse or the loss of care and love of a parent to their children)
  • Loss of a lifetime of nurturing and guidance toward children in the case of a parent’s death
  • Punitive damages (a sum of money meant as a punishment for particularly egregious actions and as a deterrent to discourage the defendant and others from repeating the action that caused the wrongful death)

A wrongful death lawsuit against powerful alliances of medical professionals and hospitals can be complex and challenging. A skilled attorney with a strong history of success in wrongful death cases and medical malpractice lawsuits can maximize your chances of gaining the compensation you deserve and justice for your deceased loved one.

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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.