The loss of a loved one is always a complex and emotional time. Along with the devastating impact of losing someone close to you, there is the requirement to make funeral arrangements, deal with outstanding medical costs, and consider how to move on with life. While this is difficult under any situation, it is often especially difficult when their death was sudden and caused by a medical professional’s errors.
All medical practitioners have a duty to acts as any other reasonably competent provider would do under the same or similar circumstances. Therefore, a failure to live up to this duty that results in a patient’s death might be the basis for a Michigan medical malpractice wrongful death claim.
However, the process to file a claim is daunting and complex, often requiring legal assistance. If your loved one was killed while under the care of a medical professional, you might wish to reach out to a dedicated and skilled lawyer for help. By consulting a legal professional at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C., you could better understand your rights during this difficult time and decide with your family if legal action is the right choice for you.
When a Medical Error Becomes Fatal
Due to the inherent risks of many procedures and other medical situations, it is important to understand when a medical error that ends with the death of a patient is considered wrongful. For example, if a death results from an egregious mistake made by a doctor, nurse, or hospital error, this would most likely be considered legal grounds for a claim.
However, many circumstances become complex and nuanced, making the determination of fault more difficult. According to state law, a medical practitioner commits malpractice when they breach their duty of care, which they owe to each patient they see—this means that the care they have provided fell below the acceptable standard of care.
Essentially, a lawsuit alleging untimely death is usually appropriate when the negligent actions of another person would have given rise to a personal injury claim—had the victim survived. According to Michigan General Statutes §600.2922, surviving family members may bring a lawsuit forward under these circumstances on behalf of the decedent. A knowledgeable lawyer who is familiar with medical malpractice wrongful death cases could help to investigate the circumstances surrounding a fatal doctor error.
The Necessity of an Expert Witness
To prevail in a claim alleging wrongful death, a plaintiff must be able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a doctor or other care professional’s actions or inaction directly caused their loved one’s death. To prove this in settlement talks or in court, a plaintiff must rely on the reports and testimony of an expert witness. This witness must provide testimony as to the acceptable standard of care present in the case, their opinion as to how the defendant failed to provide this care, and how this failure resulted in death.
In fact, a plaintiff cannot even 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 this expert to complete an affidavit of merit which outlines the plaintiff’s case.
This affidavit must accompany any complaint alleging wrongful death by medical malpractice. A well-versed lawyer could help family members to locate and hire medical experts who may be able to demonstrate defendant-doctor malpractice.
Seek Legal Counsel for a Michigan Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Claim
Cases involving medical professionals are extremely complex, especially when their potential malpractice resulted in the death of a loved one. Because all doctors have an obligation to practice their craft with a certain level of skill and competency, they should be held accountable when their failure to do so has catastrophic results.
Even so, the steps to prove fault in a Michigan medical malpractice wrongful death is an exhaustive legal process. Therefore, you might benefit from retaining an experienced lawyer at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. for help. Whenever you feel ready, call a compassionate attorney to discuss your legal options.
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