The loss of a loved one is always a complex and emotional time. When the death was preventable, it stirs additional emotions.
All medical practitioners have a duty to acts as any other reasonably competent provider would do under the same or similar circumstances. A violation of this duty that causes a patient’s death can be the basis for a Michigan medical malpractice wrongful death claim.
However, the process to file a claim is complex. It requires the skill and experience of a top-ranked medical malpractice lawyer to find the truth behind what happened.
If your loved one died under suspicious circumstances, you should reach out to a dedicated and skilled lawyer for help.
- Common medical errors causing wrongful deaths
- Can I file a lawsuit for a medical malpractice wrongful death?
- Who can file a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit?
- Medical malpractice wrongful death settlement example
Common Medical Errors Causing Patient Deaths
There are inherent risks and complications to many procedures and other medical situations. The fact that a patient dies after receiving medical care does not mean there was malpractice.
Rather, you must prove that the medical provider was negligent in the care of the patient. You must also prove that the negligence was a cause of death. There are many types of medical errors that cause patient death. Common mistakes include:
- Misdiagnosis of cancer;
- Emergency room negligence;
- Surgery errors;
- Anesthesia mistakes;
- Medication errors;
- Radiology errors, like a misread mammogram or x-ray;
- Failure to diagnose a blood clot or pulmonary embolism;
By consulting an attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C., you will better understand your rights during this difficult time. You can then decide with your family if legal action is the right choice.
Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death?
According to Michigan law, a medical practitioner commits malpractice when they breach their duty of care to the patient. This means that the treatment fell below the acceptable standard of care.
This is also referred to as “medical negligence” and applies to doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical providers.
In addition, you must prove that the death was caused by the medical negligence.
Many times, the death occurs during a surgery or shortly after a discharge from the hospital. Sometimes, a patient lives for many months before passing away.
The cause of death is often established through the Certificate of Death. This is an official government document stating the Manner of Death and Cause of Death.
However, there are occasions when the death certificate does not provide the necessary reasons.
In these situations, our attorneys will get the opinion of a forensic pathologist to prove that medical malpractice was a cause of the patient’s death.
Ultimately, a jury decides if medical malpractice caused a patient’s death. However, most cases settle out of court before a jury trial.
A knowledgeable lawyer familiar with medical malpractice wrongful death cases will review the records to see if there is a winnable case.
Who Can File a Malpractice Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
According to Michigan General Statutes §600.2922, surviving family members may bring a lawsuit on behalf of the decedent. Typically, one family member is appointed the Personal Representative of the deceased person’s estate. This allows the family to pursue the wrongful death claim.
The Personal Representative works closely with the plaintiff’s attorney on the case. However, the other family members are involved from start to finish.
If a settlement is proposed, a judge determines if the fair settlement is fair. The judge will also determine the settlement shares for each family member if there is not an agreement.
The Necessity of an Expert Witness
To prevail in a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must be able to prove care professional’s actions or inaction directly caused their loved one’s death.
Michigan law requires a qualified medical expert to support the case. This witness must provide testimony on three important issues:
- What was the acceptable standard of care in the case?
- Did the defendant fail to provide this required care?
- Was the medical malpractice a cause of the patient’s death?
Many cases have multiple expert witnesses to discuss each issue. In cases with more than one defendant, multiple experts are required.
A plaintiff cannot start a lawsuit for damages without first hiring a qualified expert. This expert must be a medical professional with the same expertise as the defendant doctor.
Additionally, Mich. Gen. Stat. §600.2912(d) requires the expert to sign an Affidavit of Merit stating the opinions in the case. This affidavit must be filed with the Complaint.
Our experienced attorneys locate and hire top nationally respected medical experts for our cases.
Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Settlement Example
A family filed a wrongful death lawsuit for the death of a 71-year-old woman. She underwent elective thyroid surgery.
While in recovery, she had shortness of breath and then went into cardiorespiratory arrest. She coded due to post-surgical bleeding.
Due to the lack of oxygen, the patient suffered significant brain damage. She required 24-hour nursing care. As a result, she died due to the injuries caused by medical negligence.
The medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against the hospital staff and the ENT surgeon.
The main allegations involved the failure to quickly respond to the shortness of breath. The case settled for $1.2 million before trial.
Consult a Michigan Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Claim Lawyer
Cases involving medical professionals are extremely complex. You need a skilled and experienced attorney to investigate your case.
If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees unless you win a settlement. And, we pay all of the case costs and expenses.
There are strict time deadlines for filing medical malpractice cases in Michigan. Call us now before your time to sue expires!
Contact our team of malpractice attorneys today for a free case review. We are eager to help you.
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