You can hold doctors, nurses, and health care facilities financially responsible when medical negligence results in injury and death. For example, if your family member was the victim of a fatal medical malpractice injury, you could sue a hospital for wrongful death. In addition, you can seek compensation on behalf of your loved one’s estate and their surviving family members.
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What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider fails to treat a patient according to the medical community’s standards of care. Examples of potentially fatal medical errors include, but are not limited to:
- Missed or incorrect diagnosis of a condition or disease
- Failure to treat an illness or condition
- Medication errors
- Surgical mistakes
- Patient neglect
- Childbirth errors
When medical negligence results in a patient’s death, the surviving spouse, children, or parents can pursue a wrongful death action. Your loved one’s estate can recoup losses your loved one could have pursued in a medical malpractice case had they lived. Additionally, surviving family members can seek compensation for the impact the deceased’s death has on their lives.
Who Is Liable for Medical Errors?
Liability for your loved one’s fatal malpractice injury could rest with a doctor, nurse, or another provider, as well as with the hospital that employs them. Whether or not you choose to sue an individual or a facility often depends on insurance. If the doctor or nurse responsible for your injury does not carry enough medical malpractice coverage to pay for your damages, you may have a better chance of securing an adequate settlement from the hospital.
Sometimes, the hospital’s negligence, rather than a provider’s, is the cause of malpractice. A hospital may be liable for wrongful death if it:
- Hired or failed to terminate incompetent, unsafe, or unlicensed caregivers
- Failed to put proper safety protocols in place
- Failed to sanitize equipment and facilities
- Failed to maintain medical equipment and devices
- Understaffed doctors, nurses, and other caregivers
To win a wrongful death case based on medical malpractice, you must prove that the hospital’s actions caused your loved one’s death and related financial losses. To do this, you must show:
- The hospital and its employees owed your loved one a professional duty of care, or, in other words, establish there was a doctor/patient relationship
- The hospital breached the duty of care, i.e., acted negligently
- The hospital’s breach of duty caused your loved one’s fatal injury
- The injury resulted in monetary damages
A medical malpractice attorney with our firm can help build your case. We will collect evidence including:
- Medical bills and records
- Eyewitness testimony
- Expert medical opinions
- An affidavit of merit from a medical professional
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What Damages Can I Seek for Wrongful Death in Florida?
Family members cannot bring a wrongful death action in Florida; instead, according to Florida Statutes § 768.20, a representative (executor) can file suit on behalf of the estate and the deceased’s surviving family members. The court can appoint an executor if needed. The estate awards any recovered damages to the deceased’s beneficiaries according to the deceased’s will.
According to Florida Statutes § 768.21, wrongful death compensation may include:
- The cost of your loved one’s medical treatment, including hospitalizations, medical procedures, and medications
- Your loved one’s lost wages, benefits, and earnings from the time of injury to death
- Wages, benefits, and earnings your loved one would have saved had they lived
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Surviving family members’ mental suffering and emotional pain
- The loss of spousal companionship and protection
- The loss of parental guidance and instruction
These damages are based on actual, out-of-pocket expenses, while others award survivors for intangible losses. Our wrongful death attorneys can help you calculate potential damages and seek a fair sum for your pain, suffering, and loss of familial support.
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Is There a Time Limit for Pursuing Awards in a Malpractice Case?
According to Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(b), you have two years from the time of your loved one’s death to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit resulting from malpractice. If you did not discover the cause of injury until later, you have two years from the date of discovery to file your case. However, you cannot take action past four years from the time of injury unless the victim is a minor child.
Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help You Get Justice for Your Loved One
When hospitals and medical professionals make mistakes, they should be accountable. We can help you seek the financial compensation your loved one and your family deserve. Our medical malpractice lawyers can handle your insurance claim or lawsuit so that you can focus on your family’s healing.
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today at 1-800-747-3733. We can provide you with a free consultation and speak with you further about how you can sue a hospital for the wrongful death of your loved one.