Wrongful Death Cases and Medical Malpractice

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

When a medical professional negligently kills his or her patient, survivors of the decedent (i.e. wife, child, and or parent) can start a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent medical professional.  These types of lawsuits seek to compensate the decedent’s estate.  

The decedent’s “estate” is comprised of all things owned by the decedent; money, personal property, real property, etc.  The experienced medical malpractice attorney whom practices law in the Kingston regions of New York knows that a decedent’s estate can be diminished by the untimely death of a medical malpractice victim. 

Whoever is the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate will be the one that starts the wrongful death suit against the offending medical professional.  This person will decide whether to sue or not, and this person will choose the attorney.  The administrator will also decide to either settle the case or take it to trial.  In the event that there is a dispute as to who will administer the decedent’s estate, the court will step in to resolve the dispute.

Even if there is no dispute as to who will administer the decedent’s estate, a court will still have to take formal action to appoint the administrator or executor.  In New York, county Surrogate Courts handle this job.  This means that the Surrogates Court will notify all of the people that are somehow interested in the estate that an administrator will be appointed.  Again, the people who will be notified typically are close relatives like parents, children, and or spouses. 

What should the estate expect to receive in a wrongful death case?  The decedent’s estate will be looking for money as compensation for the decedent’s death.  In general, the amount sought will be the amount of money that the decedent’s estate was diminished by the victim’s death.  Things that will be included are medical bills, lost wages, employment benefits, the family’s lost companionship with the victim, and lost income. 

Funeral and burial costs can be claimed for compensation as well.  What cannot be recovered is any pain and suffering that the decedent experienced from the time that the doctor hurt him or her to the point of death.  Pain and suffering that which the decedent experienced can be obtained through a different types of lawsuit; a survival action. 

To summarize things up neatly, a medical malpractice wrongful death action can be held when:

  • The patient died due to a medical professional’s negligence, and
  • The patient, if he/she lived, could have sued the offending doctor, and
  • Someone from the decedent’s close family experienced some form of loss as a result of the decedent’s death. 

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com

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