Some patients who are injured by negligent medical or hospital care will tragically succumb to their injuries. A famous Institute of Medicine report from 1999, To Err is Human, estimated that more than 98,000 people are killed every year because of medical errors in hospitals. A lot of these medical errors are entirely preventable, and some believe the number is even higher.
In Atlanta, survivors of a person who has suffered fatal injuries as a result of medical negligence can file a wrongful death claim to recover damages. Under Georgia law, wrongful death is defined as the death of a person because of the negligence, intentional or reckless acts of another person. In the medical malpractice context, negligence is the failure by healthcare providers to provide a reasonable standard of care.
So if a medical professional failed to provide a reasonable standard of care and caused a loved one’s death, then the family may file a medical malpractice wrongful death claim against the negligent healthcare professional.
How can I file a wrongful death claim for medical malpractice?
If you suspect that your loved one’s death was the result of medical negligence on the part of doctors, nurses, medical technicians and other healthcare personnel, you must present evidence to prove medical malpractice. This evidence can include medical records, medical expert testimony, and more. It must show that the defendant did not follow an acceptable standard of care, and this led to the patient’s death.
For example, you may present medical records indicating that a doctor ordered a medication that is known to interfere with a medication the patient was already taking. A medical expert may testify that this led to the patient’s death. Thus, the case would establish that the healthcare professional acted negligently by failing to check the patient’s existing medications, and that this negligence caused the patient’s death.
Your case must also present evidence of damages. When a loved one dies, it can have a financial, as well as emotional effect on the spouse, children, and other family.
Damages might include tangible damages and intangible damages like those listed below.
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income of the deceased
- Lost benefits that the deceased would have earned
- Loss of care and companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of guidance to children
Our attorneys at the Law Office of Jason Schultz will help you establish all of the damages that your family suffered as a result of losing your loved one. If you’re bringing a wrongful death medical malpractice case, act quickly. Under Georgia’s statute of limitations, survivors of the deceased must file a medical malpractice claim within a period of two years from the date of the injury or death.
Who can file a medical malpractice wrongful death claim?
Under Georgia law, a spouse of the deceased may bring a wrongful death claim, and may represent minor children that he or she had with the deceased. If, however, the deceased leaves behind no spouse or children, then the surviving parents or the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim.
If the personal representative of the estate files the claim, the estate retains any damages recovered; they are held for the next of kin of the deceased.
Call Jason Schultz if You Lost a Loved One to Medical Malpractice
Speak to a medical malpractice attorney at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz to begin the process of filing a wrongful death claim. We put together a wrongful death claim checklist to help you gather pertinent information you’ll need, and we’ll help you throughout the legal process.
Call 404-474-0804 to schedule an appointment with attorney Jason Schultz if you’re in the Atlanta area. You can also fill out our online contact form and schedule a free initial consultation.