sue the hospital for the death of a family member

Families are horrified when a loved one is admitted to the hospital for surgery or illness but never comes and dies there. Things become much more complicated if you believe the hospital was negligent or irresponsible, which led to the death. If your family is asking itself whether you can sue the hospital for the death of a family member, the answer is yes.

A wrongful death case is a lawsuit filed by the surviving spouse or family of someone who died due to someone else’s negligence. Individual doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, aides, and other healthcare professionals employed by the hospital can be named in a medical malpractice lawsuit by a family member. The hospital could also be named as a defendant.

Any time a person dies as a result of negligence, regardless of the original cause – a surgical error, a car accident, or a fall down a broken set of steps – the claim changes. It is now a wrongful death claim rather than an injury or product liability claim. In addition to the wrongful death claim, the victim’s family can file a survival action.

Hospitals are liable for the negligence of their own staff.

  • If the death of a patient occurs in a hospital and the death is determined to be wrongful, the facility is liable if the person responsible is a hospital employee. Technicians, nurses, and other support staff are common examples of these employees.
  • If the person responsible is a doctor, the hospital may only be held liable if the doctor is determined to be a hospital employee.
  • The patient’s family may sue the doctor, but not the hospital, if the medical professional at fault for the medical mistake that resulted in the patient’s death was under the supervision of a physician. The doctor must have been there and could prevent the negligence or mistake from being considered under his or her supervision.

Lawsuit For A Wrongful Death In A Hospital

Most hospital wrongful death cases are based on claims that the hospital’s negligence caused their family member’s death. Therefore, the evidence in a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital would have to show:

  • The hospital or medical provider owes a duty or obligation to do or not do something to the deceased. A healthcare professional must follow the widely accepted health care of a group of medical professionals with similar backgrounds and training.
  • The duty was breached, or the obligation was not met. For example, a doctor may have failed to diagnose a patient with a life-threatening disease, or a nurse may have been distracted and given a patient an overdose.
  • The actions, or lack of action, resulted in a fatal injury.
  • The plaintiff suffered damages
  • Under Texas law, the defendant must compensate the plaintiff.

Possible Damages In A Hospital Wrongful Death Case

In a wrongful death lawsuit against a hospital, which can be compensated? A surviving child, spouse, or parent may seek compensation for the damages caused by the death of a loved one.

What types of damages can you get if you sue a hospital for wrongful death? Another law allows survivors to file a “survival action” for losses caused by the deceased after the accident.

It is a type of personal injury case that lasts after the plaintiff dies. In a wrongful death case, the following damages are available:

  • The loss of inheritance (what the family member would have reasonably been expected to earn and give if the person survived)
  • The loss of companionship, love, society, and comfort
  • The survivors’ emotional pain and suffering
  • The lost value of household services.

When Is A Hospital Responsible For Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death in a hospital can occur for a variety of reasons, but the most likely causes are:

  • Employees at the hospital were negligent (physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers)
  • The hospital’s negligence in supervising and hiring employees, maintaining and repairing its equipment, and managing and overseeing its medical care.
  • Negligence relating to the treatment of non-employee employees or a failure to create and enforce policies to keep patients safe.

When are hospitals responsible for the malpractice of non-employee doctors?

Hospitals may be held liable for wrongful deaths caused by independent contractors’ doctors in some situations. These situations include when a hospital hires an incompetent doctor or when the hospital is aware that the doctor has been found incompetent or unsafe.

Another situation is when the doctor looks to be a hospital employee, and the hospital does not make it clear to the patient that the doctor is an independent contractor.

Negligence By Healthcare Professionals

The following are types of medical negligence by physicians that could turn fatal:
  • Failure to detect a problem, causing it to progress to a point where it may no longer be treatable
  • Diagnosing one condition when it is truly another, resulting in unnecessary treatment and a missing or delayed diagnosis.
  • Correctly diagnosing a problem after it should have been identified, making treatment more difficult or impossible.
  • Negligence affecting pregnancy and childbirth
  • Mistakes in prescribing or administering medication
  • Errors during surgery, 

Nurses can commit malpractice, also. Some of the more common nursing mistakes are:

  • Failing to monitor a patient’s vital signs properly.
  • Failing to enter the patient’s nursing record into the patient’s chart

Medication mistakes, such as giving the wrong type, in the wrong dosage, or at the wrong time

Failing to communicate the symptoms and complaints to the physician in charge.

Negligence By The Hospital

The following are some ways of how a hospital’s negligence could result in a patient’s death:

  • Not verifying to see if healthcare professionals are competent, safe, and licensed.
  • Employees that are incompetent, unlicensed, or unsafe are not fired.
  • Infection control, proper medication handling, and patient safety protocols are not being created or enforced.

Hire Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

A victim has a certain period of time to file a case under the statute of limitations. However, the victim loses the right to file a claim if the lawsuit is not filed within the specified deadline. 

Each medical malpractice lawsuit has a separate statute of limitations depending on the type of malpractice. A lawsuit can be filed if there is an obvious injury or wrongdoing in most cases.

However, it is not so simple in medical malpractice cases because the injuries or damages caused by medical malpractice are complicated to diagnose.

Khashan Law’s Medical Malpractice Lawyers has the experience to stand up and fight for you. Our experienced team will work on your case and assist you in resolving your financial difficulties by seeking compensation from the guilty medical practitioners. Contact us today for a free consultation at (951) 461-2387.