Can you sue a hospital for wrongful death? The answer to that question is “yes.” If your family member died as a result of medical negligence in a hospital and depending on the specific circumstances, the hospital may be held liable. In addition to the hospital itself, if your loved one’s careless injury was caused by a doctor, nurse, medical technician, or other healthcare practitioner employed by the hospital, that party may be named in the wrongful death lawsuit as well.
Bringing a legal claim for wrongful death can be a complicated undertaking. What follows are answers to some general questions you may have. If you have experienced a devastating loss due to medical malpractice and are considering a lawsuit against the hospital, a doctor or both, this information should help you. One of our experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Terry Bryant Injury & Accident Law can advise you more closely based on the unique facts of your case.
Under What Circumstances Can You Sue a Hospital for Wrongful Death?
There are a variety of circumstances in which a hospital can be held liable or partly liable for a patient’s wrongful death. The hospital may be subject to a wrongful death claim if a doctor, nurse, or other employee’s negligence caused an injury that led to a patient’s death. Some common types of medical negligence by healthcare providers that can lead to injury and death include:
- Surgical mistakes
- Misdiagnosis of diseases or conditions
- Failing to recognize symptoms or signs of diseases or conditions
- Medication errors
- Anesthesia slip-ups
- Errors during childbirth
- Failing to properly monitor vital signs
- Not correctly entering records in patient charts
When one of these mistakes happens and someone dies as a result, potential claims may be brought against the various medical providers and/or the hospital/facility. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will help determine which parties should be held accountable – and help you understand any caps that apply to your claim – and the role of malpractice coverage and insurers.
In addition to being named in their employees’ negligence lawsuits, hospitals may also be sued for their own negligence. Examples of when they can be sued follow below. If a loved one’s death results from these issues, you should contact a wrongful death lawyer:
- poorly maintained equipment,
- failing to provide oversight in ensuring basic safety protocols are followed related to sanitation, or
- administering medications.
When Are Hospitals Probably Not Liable in Wrongful Death Cases?
It’s important to point out that doctors working at hospitals are often considered independent contractors. They commonly use hospital facilities to perform surgeries and other procedures, rather than working as direct employees of the actual hospitals. When doctors who cause wrongful deaths are independent contractors, the hospital itself may not be liable.
There can be a fine line, however, between an independent contractor and an employee of a hospital depending on, among other things, how much control the hospital has over the provider’s day-to-day activities. To determine if a provider who causes an injury or worse is truly an independent contractor is a complex undertaking. It requires a careful examination of the contract between the two parties. A seasoned Texas medical negligence attorney with experience in wrongful death cases can advise you about state laws governing this area.
What Exactly Is Medical Malpractice Leading to a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Sometimes medical errors occur in hospitals and patients suffer injury or death, but not every medical error equals medical malpractice. For a medical mistake to rise to the level of malpractice, negligence must be proven to have taken place. In simple terms, negligence occurs when the doctor, nurse, hospital, or other healthcare entity doesn’t act with the expected standard of care that another medical provider would have under similar circumstances. Medical negligence that leads to injury or death can be extremely difficult to prove. It is advisable to consult with a seasoned attorney if you believe you have a medical malpractice case against a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare provider.
Who Can Sue a Hospital for Wrongful Death in Texas?
In Texas, surviving spouses, children, and parents of the deceased may bring wrongful death suits against medical providers. A single family member can sue or these family members can sue as a group. If none of these family members file a legal claim within three months of the wrongful death, the deceased person’s estate administrator or executor may file a claim on behalf of the estate. Siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins of the deceased cannot bring wrongful death claims. Wrongful death claims in the state must generally be filed within two years of the date of death, unless one of the exceptions to this statute of limitations applies. Beyond the deadline for filing suit, other critical deadlines may apply to your claim. Therefore, it is essential that you speak directly with an attorney to understand the exact deadlines that apply to your potential claims. Or, if you have other questions about the process of a wrongful death case? Call us now at (713) 973-8888.
What Damages Can Be Pursued in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Damages in a wrongful death claim may include things like:
- Lost future earning capacity
- Lost inheritance
- Lost love, companionship, and comfort
- Lost support, care, advice, and counsel
Damage awards in a wrongful death lawsuit are typically divided among survivors in proportion to the amount of harm the court determines each survivor suffered as a result of the death.
Did Your Family Member Suffer a Wrongful Death in a Hospital? We Can Help…
People go to hospitals to be cared for, so it is especially traumatic for survivors when a loved one dies in a healthcare setting. If your family member suffered a wrongful death in a hospital or other medical facility due to negligence, we can help you and your family get the compensation you deserve for your untimely loss.
You can sue a hospital for wrongful death but should consult with an attorney to see if this is possible in your case. If your loved one was the victim of wrongful death in a Houston-area hospital, contact us at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law. You can use our online form or call us at (713) 973-8888 today.