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Wrongful Death from Medical Malpractice

Ocala Lawyers Assisting Families in Health Care Negligence Claims

Families trust doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to provide knowledgeable care to loved ones who are suffering from an illness or injury. However, in some cases, a doctor or other professional's negligence causes a patient's wrongful death. If you believe that a loved one's wrongful death resulted from medical malpractice, you should consult the experienced Ocala medical malpractice attorneys at the Dean Law Firm.

Take Legal Action After a Wrongful Death from Medical Malpractice

In Florida, when a death is caused by someone else's wrongful act, negligence, breach of contract, or warranty or default, such that the decedent could have sued for damages had they not died, it may be possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If a doctor or other medical professional's wrongful act or negligence causes a patient's death, such that the patient could have sued for medical malpractice had they lived, you will need to establish the elements of both medical malpractice and wrongful death.

Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider's actions deviate from the accepted professional standard of care, and the deviation causes injuries and damages. In most cases, it is necessary for an attorney to retain an expert to provide an opinion about what the standard of care was, whether the health care provider in question deviated from it, and whether that caused damages. When a patient dies, the expert will need to provide an opinion about whether the deviation from the standard of care caused the death.

This can be a challenging element to establish. For example, if a patient dies from cancer, the expert may need to be able to say that the patient died as a result of the malpractice, rather than the cancer running its course. In some cases, a patient would have improved had cancer or another illness been timely diagnosed, while in other cases, a patient would have died regardless of whether a timely diagnosis was made. An expert's testimony can be crucial to this issue.

The decedent's personal representative brings a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. If liability for medical malpractice is established, the personal representative recovers damages for the benefit of the decedent's survivors. The damages are usually made up of both economic and noneconomic losses.

Also, whichever survivor paid medical or funeral expenses because of the decedent's injury or death can recover those expenses. Minor children of a decedent can recover damages for loss of instruction, guidance, and parental companionship, as well as for mental pain and suffering from the date of an injury. Parents of a decedent who was their minor child can recover for mental pain and suffering from the injury date. However, even when there are no other survivors, the parents of the adult child cannot recover damages for mental pain and suffering.

The decedent's personal representative can recover certain damages for the estate, including lost earnings from the date of injury to the date of death, the loss of reasonably expected prospective net accumulations of the estate, and medical or funeral expenses that were paid on behalf of the decedent by the estate. Any awards for a decedent's estate can be subject to creditors' claims when the creditor complies with probate law requirements related to claims.

Sometimes multiple health care providers are at fault for a wrongful death from medical malpractice. Generally, liability for medical malpractice is apportioned among defendants on the basis of each defendant's degree of fault. The jury can also apportion liability to any non-defendants who are found culpable. The exception is when one of the culpable parties' liability is greater than that of the plaintiff. In that case, the culpable party is jointly and severally liable for the economic damages.

Consult a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Ocala or Surrounding Communities

At the Dean Law Firm, our experienced trial attorneys may be able to sue a health care provider on your behalf if a family member suffered a wrongful death from medical malpractice. We serve the families of patients harmed by medical malpractice in Ocala, The Villages, Crystal River, and other areas of Citrus, Levy, Sumter, Marion, and Lake Counties. Contact us at 352-387-8700 or through our online form to set up a free appointment.