When someone is injured as a result of medical negligence, he or she may file a medical malpractice claim. In cases where the patient died, though, the family may have grounds for both a malpractice claim and a wrongful death lawsuit. Ohio residents should know how the two differ.
Wrongful death cases can involve any type of negligence: a doctor’s, a driver’s, a business owner’s, et cetera. They oftentimes follow a criminal trial. For example, a person put on trial for intentional homicide may be found guilty, but this does not affect the chances of the murder victim’s family recovering damages. Civil lawsuits require only a “preponderance of evidence” to be successful, not evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Medical malpractice claims only involve conduct by a doctor, nurse or other medical professionals that did not adhere to a generally accepted standard of care. Examples of malpractice include diagnostic errors, particularly misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses; medication errors, such as the administration of the wrong drug or wrong dosage; errors during delivery; and surgical errors, where the wrong patient or the wrong side of the body is operated on.
Wrongful death lawsuits and medical malpractice claims may differ in their statutes of limitations. Therefore, families are encouraged to not delay in getting legal assistance.
Hiring a medical malpractice lawyer could be beneficial in various ways. An attorney may determine how strong a case a family has and how much compensation they might be eligible to receive. A successful claim could cover things like pre-death medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of support and consortium. A lawyer may also negotiate for a settlement, taking the case to court only as a last resort. Third parties, like investigators, may come in to assist as well.