Medical errors cause an estimated 200,000 deaths yearly in the U.S., meaning that around 200,000 families lose loved ones due to preventable mistakes by doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals. Many of those families are right here on Long Island and elsewhere in the New York metro area.
When medical professionals commit acts of negligence so serious that they result in a patient’s death, certain surviving family members may be able to bring a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation.
The loss of a loved one is so painful that navigating the process of a wrongful death lawsuit can be extremely difficult and taxing for the family. If you have the right support from an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, the process can be much easier.
At Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, we believe that it is critical to truly understand a loved one’s death from your perspective. We assist with the immediate hardships and handle all the details of a wrongful death medical malpractice action.
Let us handle everything. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Types of Medical Malpractice Resulting in Death
Some of the most common types of medical malpractice resulting in death include the following:
- Diagnostic errors – These represent the most common forms of malpractice. A doctor might misdiagnose a patient, or find the correct diagnosis too late, when a reasonable doctor would have found it quickly. Commonly, these arise in cases of cancer. If the doctor diagnosis the cancer too late, or fails entirely to do so, the patient may die as a result. Heart attacks, strokes and other coronary problems are often misdiagnosed or diagnosed too late, especially in women.
- Emergency room errors – When patients arrive at the emergency room in need of urgent care, full focus and alertness is required of the emergency room doctors. Sometimes, however, doctors or nurses fail to perform the right tests or give the right kind of care to save the patient’s life. In some cases, the ER medical staff fails to properly communicate with other doctors and nurses when a patient is admitted to the hospital.
- Medication errors – These might include either the type of medication prescribed, or, very commonly, the dosage. Medication errors also include failure to check for adverse drug interactions and patient allergies.
- Anesthesia or surgery errors – Doctors and nurses may be negligent during an operation or during follow-up care. There may be errors in the dosage of anesthesia, which can be even more deadly than the surgery itself. In some cases, surgical instruments are left in the body after an operation. Organs, nerves, arteries and other critical bodily systems may be inadvertently damaged during surgery. In some cases, doctors operate on the wrong patient or operate on the wrong body part.
Who Can Bring a Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Claim?
In New York, when a patient dies as the result of malpractice, only the personal representative (often the executor of the will) of the deceased may bring a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit.
The personal representative must be appointed by Surrogate’s Court. If you are a survivor of someone who died because of medical malpractice, it is important to begin the process of probate so that a personal representative can be appointed.
Damages in Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Cases
Nothing can truly compensate for the loss of a loved one to medical malpractice, but damages may be awarded in two major respects. First, the family may receive damages for conscious pain and suffering that the deceased patient experienced. Second, damages may be awarded to cover economic costs such as added care before the patient’s death and funeral expenses. Surviving children may also be compensated for the loss of parental care and education that would have been paid for had the patient lived.
Proving Liability for a Patient’s Wrongful Death
Medical malpractice cases resulting in death are among the most complicated personal injury cases, but our lawyers know what needs to be done. We have the resources to work with medical experts to review the patient’s medical records and find the necessary evidence of negligence in the patient’s care that demonstrates malpractice that resulted in death. Insurance companies and their lawyers may attempt to hide doctors’ negligence, but we will work hard to uncover what really happened.
How Our Lawyers Can Help Families Affected by Medical Malpractice
The pain of losing a loved one is an earth-shattering experience, and we understand that it is difficult to think about the next legal steps. However, it is better to act sooner rather than later, as New York has a two-year statute of limitations for a wrongful death suit.
Our experienced lawyers are ready to start helping you with the process required to secure the compensation you deserve as you seek justice in your loved one’s death. Contact us now so we can discuss your legal options in a free consultation and claim review.
- Forbes: 10 Things You Want to Know About Medical Malpractice
- Time: Diagnostic Errors Are the Most Common Type of Medical Mistake
- Right Diagnosis: Types of Medical Malpractice
- American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys: What is Medical Malpractice?
- Association of the Bar of the City of New York: Wrongful Death
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Long Island, call 516-358-6900