A wrongful death claim is never an easy thing to deal with, but adding the trust society puts in medical professionals can make it more painful. You'll likely want to hire a medical malpractice attorney who also works and a wrongful death attorney. It's important, however, to understand a few things about what makes these cases legally special. Let's take a look at what families should know before they start wrongful death claims against medical professionals and organizations.
Limits on Medical Torts
It is common practice for U.S. states to impose caps on the damages that can be claimed in medical malpractice cases. Normally, these limits only extended to non-economic damages, such as pain, suffering, and emotional trauma. A few states, however, have imposed caps even on overall medical expenses, especially ones related to long-term disabilities. You should discuss what your state's rules are with a medical malpractice attorney before starting a claim.
What Can You Recover?
Virtually everything that could be recovered in a typical injury or malpractice case can be sought in one involving a wrongful death. This means surviving relatives will be able to seek compensation to cover the person's medical bills from before they died. They will also be able to pursue compensation for the deceased's pain and suffering prior to passing.
Additionally, they may be able to seek damages for loss of parenting or spousal companionship on your part or on behalf of the deceased's dependent, minor children. Funeral expenses are recoverable, too.
How a Claim Works
Your wrongful death attorney will study what happened in order to assemble a claim. When it is time to move the case forward, usually after the lawyer has done sufficient research, a demand letter will be sent to the defendants. In cases involving medical malpractice, this usually means whichever business was involved, such as the hospital, a clinic, or a doctor's practice. Your attorney may also send the demand letter to the insurer for the defendant if that information is available.
The defendants and their insurance carriers will then review the demand. Normal practice is to appoint a claims adjuster who'll impartially assess whether the claim is valid. If the adjuster determines it's a valid claim, they will be authorized to make a settlement offer.
What if There Isn't a Settlement on the Table?
Your remaining options are to drop the case or sue after you've made the best possible effort to pursue a settlement. Bear in mind a settlement can still happen once a suit has been filed.
For further information, reach out to a company like Labine Law Firm.