You’ll never forget the day you got the phone call: your father died.
He was in a long-term care home, recently recovering from surgery. He was doing better, you thought, but the attendant on the other end assured you that “he was just old.” You hung up, dazed, and went through the motions of funeral arrangements and filing his life insurance claim… but you will always wonder, was there something the people at the care home weren’t telling you?
What is wrongful death?
Wrongful death is the legal term for the actions of a person or facility causing the untimely death of another. It differs from murder and manslaughter because the death is most often caused by error or negligence rather than intentional actions.
For instance, if your elderly relative died while in a care facility, you would naturally collect life insurance benefits. However, if they died because they received the wrong dosage of medication or a fracture that went unnoticed by the staff, you would be able to file a wrongful death claim.
These claims are usually filed by the surviving members of the family to recover damages on behalf of the deceased. If successful, the amount rewarded to the surviving family is often enough to cover the deceased’s outstanding medical bills and costs of care, and may include an additional award for pain and suffering.
How does medical negligence lead to wrongful death?
Unfortunately, there are a number of ways medical malpractice can lead to an untimely death. Sometimes the negligence is evident, but many cases go undetected with no penalty for those responsible.
If a perfectly healthy woman goes into surgery for a hysterectomy and dies days later, medical negligence is fairly obvious. She may have had an allergy to anesthesia that was overlooked by her doctor, or fell victim to a hospital-borne infection while in recovery.
However, if your relative was at an extremely advanced age, doctors may assume that he died of natural causes and not bother investigating further. Seniors in long-term care facilities are often the victims of wrongful deaths, since many retirement homes do not have enough staff to provide full-time attention. Those that do have enough staff may be run by disreputable administrators, or hire employees regardless of background checks for criminal behavior.
What can I do?
If you believe that your loved one passed away as a result of medical negligence, the attorneys at Life Insurance Law can help you file a wrongful death suit. We can get you compensation on top of the amount awarded by your life insurance, and also stop those responsible from harming someone else.
Call us today for a consultation on your case.