We all make mistakes, including healthcare providers. Sometimes these mistakes can be something basic and small, easily fixed. These mistakes may be caused by oversight or something inconsequential, or these mistakes may be caused by the negligence of a healthcare provider. Negligence is where a healthcare provider has a duty of care to you, that healthcare provider fails to follow that duty of care and breaches the duty of care, and that breach of the duty of care results in your injuries or damages. Negligence can be something simple and not a big deal, or it can be something very significant and result in serious injuries.
Some of these negligent mistakes can even result in the ultimate injury—death.
These types of medical mistakes and medical negligence cannot be fixed and cannot be healed. These mistakes are not small mistakes, and these mistakes are not able to be repaired. When a medical mistakes results in the death of a patient, there is a cause of action for wrongful death.
A wrongful death cause of action is brought by the deceased’s family members or other enumerated people in the statute, including in some instances those who are dependent on the deceased. Most commonly though are actions brought by a surviving spouse, children, parents, or siblings.
A wrongful death case is meant to do two things. First, it is meant to compensate the family for the loss of services, income, wages, support, love, affection, and ability that the victim did for the family. This includes the salary the deceased one earned, the support given, and even the basic household chores such as cleaning around the yard or home which now may require a landscaper or cleaner. All of these chores can be compensated.
Further, this type of award is also meant to compensate the victim for his or her pain and suffering which resulted in the death. This could be something horrific such as burning to death, or something not horrific such as passing away under anesthesia where there may be no pain and suffering. This is a big, fact-dependent evaluation.
Second, a wrongful death action is also meant to deter the conduct of the negligence party. It is in a sense a penalty or fine to punish the other party’s mistakes. Sometimes this amount is very nominal, but other times it can be quite significant—even more significant than the victim’s earnings and contributions. These types of awards are given to the victim’s family and penalizing the negligence party’s conduct to help to influence new conduct, training, and guidance to prevent this time happening again.
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.