Medical malpractice is among the leading causes of death across the United States, with thousands of fatalities reported annually. If you have lost a family member due to medical malpractice, you can sue the doctor or health care provider responsible.
State laws are different when suing for wrongful death, but there are common aspects like who can file a wrongful death lawsuit and what you could receive from it.
Who can sue for wrongful death?
Usually, the closest relative can file a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased. Spouses, children or other relatives, can all sue for wrongful death. Courts typically allow only one wrongful death lawsuit for an individual, and if multiple cases are filed, they are likely to be consolidated into one.
How much time do you have to sue for wrongful death?
Wrongful death falls under personal injury cases, which all have a statute of limitations. This is the legal window period beyond which you cannot instigate civil proceedings, and it varies depending on your state. For instance, in Indiana, you have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Possible damages the court may award for wrongful death
Damages that the court may award you for wrongful death may either be:
- Economic damages. These can be quantified, such as lost income and the cost of medical treatment leading to wrongful death.
- Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before their demise and the mental anguish caused by the wrongful death.
The court may also award punitive damages to deter such medical malpractices. Some damages are financially capped, and the legal caps differ depending on the state in question. While no money can bring back your loved one, getting the justice you deserve can give some closure and ease the grief process.