Accident And Injury Attorneys


Abogados De Accidentes


What Is the Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death?

We put a lot of faith in medical professionals, trusting that their years of knowledge and training have made them experts in their field. Unfortunately, trips to the hospital don’t always end with the patient leaving the building completely healthy. Sometimes, mistakes are made, and the negligence of healthcare workers can lead to their patients suffering further injury or even losing their life. 

After losing a loved one to a doctor’s negligence, many people are unsure whether to pursue a wrongful death or a medical malpractice claim. While these two areas may overlap in your case, they are fundamentally different in their execution, making it essential to understand that difference. To successfully pursue legal action, seeking legal counsel from a personal injury lawyer from the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP with extensive experience in both practice areas may be beneficial.

Conditions for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional fails to treat a patient according to the appropriate standards of care, leading to injury or death. A claim for medical malpractice may be made by the patient or their family members even if the malpractice has no fatal outcome. 

There are various types of medical malpractice cases, such as surgical and anesthesia errors. Also, before you can file a lawsuit, you often need to give a “Notice of Intent” to the medical professional and their insurance provider, which informs them of the impending lawsuit. For your situation to qualify as negligent under the law so you can file a medical malpractice claim, the following factors must apply:

  • The medical professional and patient involved had an established professional relationship.
  • The medical professional violated their duty of care to the patient.
  • The medical professional’s inability to give proper treatment contributed to the patient’s injuries.
  • The patient, the patient’s loved ones, or both must have suffered significant damages because of the doctor’s negligence.

With the help of a lawyer, you may be able to prove that medical malpractice occurred and obtain compensation for any financial damages you sustained from your injury.

Conditions for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Wrongful death involves the death of a person due to another person’s neglect or wrongful acts. You can still file a wrongful death claim even if your loved one passed away from an act of negligence other than medical error. For instance, you could file a wrongful death claim if someone died because of an auto accident. If someone loses their life due to medical malpractice, their surviving family members may have a case for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Similar to medical malpractice, establishing negligence is the key to proving wrongful death. You must demonstrate that someone, such as a physician, driver, caretaker, or property owner, had a duty to use reasonable care to prevent damage to your loved one and did not do so to succeed in your claim. Additionally, you must demonstrate that your loved one’s death caused you to suffer serious harm. 

If your situation satisfies these requirements, you may be eligible for financial compensation through a wrongful death case. The party who can file a wrongful death lawsuit is typically the deceased person’s closest relative, such as a parent, child, or spouse. When a will names a personal representative or executor of the decedent’s estate, that person may file a claim on behalf of the estate instead of the next of kin.

When Medical Malpractice Leads to Wrongful Death

While medical malpractice and wrongful death cases have distinct differences from a legal perspective, there are still a few things you should be aware of when the two ideas converge. 

Even though the patient passed away, their estate may still pursue their medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice claims cover the patient’s damages and injuries from the moment of negligence until their death. This would cover all the patient’s discomfort and any associated expenses.

The estate’s personal representative may file a wrongful death claim to compensate for losses incurred following the patient’s death. Plaintiffs may pursue damages such as the cost of a funeral and loss of financial support. 

The types of damages permitted in wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuits will depend on the specifics of your case and any relevant state legislation. It is always prudent to speak with a lawyer before bringing a claim or asking for money from someone else.

Consult a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Lawyer

Malpractice and wrongful death are functionally different areas of personal injury law that may intersect in certain situations. Because of this, victims (or victims’ loved ones) must approach their claims differently. An experienced personal injury lawyer could provide guidance in these areas and help you navigate the complexity of either legal process. 

The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP will assist you in making sure the responsible party is held accountable for their negligence in either a medical malpractice or wrongful death claim. Leveraging our years of experience in these areas, we will devote our time and effort to fiercely defending your rights to total compensation for your damages. Check out and subscribe to the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP Youtube Channel to learn more about our firm and personal injury law. Contact us at (866) 924-1787 or our contact form to schedule your initial consultation.

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