When you go to the hospital, you expect doctors to tend to injuries properly and that you or your loved one will recover in a short time. However, in some cases, it doesn’t end up that way. Instead of bringing a loved one home to finish recovering, you find yourself making funeral arrangements. If medical professionals or a hospital’s negligence caused the death of a loved one, the answer to the question, “Can you sue a hospital for wrongful death?” is “yes.”
When someone dies as a result of another’s negligence, including wrongful death in a hospital, you can recover compensation for wrongful death. In Texas, the spouse, children and/or parents can take legal action on behalf of themselves or for all of the decedent’s immediate blood relatives. The decedent’s estate can also bring the wrongful death action on behalf of the heirs. The first step is finding an experienced medical malpractice attorney to review your case. You will need copies of your loved one’s medical records to get started. During the initial case evaluation, the attorney will give you a list of documents to procure. If you need help obtaining the documents, the law firm staff can help you.
Medical malpractice often results in injuries from a doctor’s or other medical professional’s negligence or gross negligence. In some cases, negligence could cause the wrongful death of a loved one. In most cases, hospitals are liable because:
You must prove substandard medical care to have a good medical malpractice case. The elements of a medical malpractice case, including wrongful death, are:
In some cases, a medical professional may not be an employee of the hospital. He or she might have privileges to practice at the hospital as an independent contractor. You will most likely not be able to sue a hospital for that medical professional’s negligence.
It is often difficult to determine whether a medical professional is an employee or an independent contractor. Your medical malpractice attorney will determine whether the medical professional is or is not an employee, as that influences whether you can sue the professional and the hospital for wrongful death.
Additionally, in certain situations, the hospital could be responsible for an independent contractor medical professional who caused a wrongful death because of his or her actions or inactions. Generally, this situation arises if the hospital has a doctor who is incompetent on staff or if the hospital has not made it clear to the patient that the doctor is an independent contractor.
Finally, in some situations, the doctor might seem to be an independent contractor. However, if the hospital has a certain amount of control over the doctor, the doctor would be an employee by law. Your medical malpractice attorney will uncover this information during his or her investigation of your case.
A medical professional’s or hospital’s negligence could include certain actions and inactions, including:
After a wrongful death, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney immediately. Most personal injury cases, including wrongful death, have a two-year statute of limitations. However, some insurance companies require that you file a claim much sooner.
In addition to a medical professional’s negligence, the hospital could also be found negligent if a hospital:
You could recover compensatory damages and punitive damages if a person died at the hands of a negligent medical professional and/or hospital. However, to recover punitive damages, you must be able to show that the doctor’s and/or hospital’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent or intentional.
Compensatory damages include economic and non-economic damages and include:
If you lost a loved one because of a medical professional’s or hospital’s negligence, contact our wrongful death attorney at Hanna Law Firm by calling (423) 606-2378 for a free case evaluation.