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Understanding Medical Malpractice vs. Wrongful Death

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    Wrongful Death Lawyer

    In the United States, approximately 9.5% of all deaths occur each year due to medical errors, many of which were preventable. If your loved one died from medical negligence, would you file a medical malpractice claim or a wrongful death claim? 

    Medical Malpractice

    You may have a medical malpractice claim if your health care provider acts negligently and you are harmed as a result. You can file a claim against professionals including, but not limited to, surgeons, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, hospital staff or midwives. 

    Common reasons for medical malpractice claims include:

    • Birth injuries
    • Incorrect or delayed treatment
    • Misdiagnosis
    • Failure to diagnose 
    • Prescription medication errors
    • Nursing home abuse

    Wrongful Death

    Wrongful death claims often stem from medical malpractice, but not all wrongful death cases are due to medical malpractice. You can file a wrongful death claim if the loss of life was caused by:

    • Birth injuries
    • Medical malpractice
    • Defective medical equipment
    • Automobile accidents
    • Car defects
    • Nursing home negligence or abuse
    • Assault
    • Food poisoning


    The damages you can seek in medical malpractice cases tend to differ from those in wrongful death cases, though there usually is some overlap, as a wrongful death lawyer like one from Ward & Ward Law Firm can explain. For example, in a medical malpractice claim, damages typically include medical expenses, lost wages and punitive damages. In a wrongful death claim, however, you may be awarded funeral expenses, pain and suffering, loss of financial support and loss of consortium. 

    The claims you can bring against negligent parties, as well as the financial reward you can receive, depend on your specific claim and your state laws. 

    Statute of Limitations

    The statute of limitations on both medical malpractice and wrongful death claims can be confusing, and each state has legal exceptions. However, in most states, you have two years from the death date to file a wrongful death claim.

    Terminal Illness

    Do you still have a medical malpractice case if your loved one was suffering from a terminal illness? The answer depends on your state laws and the specifics of your case, but it is possible that patients who had low chances of survival were the victims of medical negligence. You can argue that medical negligence deprived your loved one of a chance at beating the illness, even if that chance was slim to begin with. 

    Understanding complex medical malpractice and wrongful death laws is complicated, especially when you are grieving the death of a loved one. Consult with a wrongful death lawyer who has the resources and experience to guide you through seeking the compensation you deserve. 

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