What’s the Difference Between Wrongful Death and Medical Malpractice?
When a person is injured or dies as a result of the negligence of another, they may be able to file a personal injury claim to recover damages. While both wrongful death and medical malpractice fall under tort law, the appropriate type of claim depends on the circumstances and type of injury. Medical malpractice is a specific subset of tort law that aims to hold professional negligence accountable while wrongful death law is applied in tort cases where the defendant’s behavior resulted in the death of the victim.
What’s the difference between wrongful death and medical malpractice?
Part of what’s confusing about the differences between wrongful death and medical malpractice is that some personal injury lawsuits involve both claims.
Wrongful death law
Wrongful death law is applied in tort cases where the defendant’s negligent or intentional behavior resulted in the death of the victim, where surviving family members and dependents are suffering because of the loss of their family member. Wrongful death lawsuits are filed to provide a fair settlement to the surviving family members to cover losses such as funeral expenses, medical bills, loss of consortium and loss of household services, lost wages and future inheritance.
Wrongful death lawsuits are brought after a variety of situations including car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents or a homicide. In the case of intentional acts such as homicide, a wrongful death lawsuit – which is a civil lawsuit – often follows a criminal trial.
Medical malpractice is a specific subset of tort law that aims to hold professional negligence accountable. The definition of medical malpractice is any act or omission by a medical professional during treatment of a patient that departs from accepted norms of practice in the medical community or the accepted standard of professional care that results in injury to the patient.
Medical malpractice may cause a wide range of injuries up to and including death. Medical malpractice lawsuits are brought for many reasons, including failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, prescription drug errors, surgical errors and birth injuries.
With the understanding that medical malpractice can lead to death, it’s possible that a claim for both medical malpractice and wrongful death may be brought on behalf of the plaintiff. State laws vary with some states capping the amount of damages that a jury can award a plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit so it is best to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights and the best ways to seek justice.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are filed to provide a fair settlement to either the injured party or the surviving family members to cover losses such as medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and lost wages.
Seek the help of a personal injury attorney
If you were injured or lost a loved one due to a preventable medical error or the reckless/negligent behavior of another, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced wrongful death attorney or medical malpractice attorney fight for justice on your behalf. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a personal injury lawyer. Call the most experienced practicing personal injury attorneys Bellingham has at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing grieving family members in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!