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, or so you thought. However, the attendant on the other end assured you that he died of old age.  You hung up, dazed, and went through the motions of funeral arrangements and filing his life insurance claim. You always wonder though: was there something the people at the care home weren’t telling you? 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 intent.

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 could file a wrongful death claim.

These claims are usually filed by the surviving members of the family. They aim to recover damages on behalf of the deceased.  If successful, the amount the surviving family receives is often enough to cover the deceased’s outstanding medical bills and costs of care. The financial recovery 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 negligence is evident. However, many cases go undetected. In those cases, there is 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 her doctor overlooked. Or, she fell victim to a hospital-borne infection.

However, if your relative was at an extremely advanced age, doctors may not bother investigating. Seniors in long-term care facilities are often wrongful death victims, 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 help you seek compensation on top your life insurance benefits. Our team can also stop those responsible from harming someone else. Call us today for a consultation on your case.