Can you sue a hospital for wrongful death?
- August 18, 2020
- Wrongful Death
It is devastating to lose a loved one when they enter a hospital for routine treatment or surgery but die. The situation is made even more catastrophic if you suspect that they died due to the negligence or incompetence of a doctor, medical technician, hospital staff or medical device manufacturer. You are entitled to sue the hospital and win damages if you can prove that the hospital was at fault.
Texas Statutes section 71.001 states, in part, that a wrongful death claim can be filed if the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of one party causes the death of another person. There can be multiple defendants in a wrongful death case, including a person (such as a doctor or nurse), an institution (such as a hospital), a corporation (such as a medical device company) and many others. Wrongful death claims range from simple accidents to complicated medical malpractice and product liability cases.
In many instances, you can sue a hospital for wrongful death if your family member died while being treated by hospital personnel and it was due to the negligence, carelessness, willful neglect or incompetence of one or more parties at the hospital. These cases are complicated, though, and a Dallas wrongful death attorney is the most qualified to answer legal questions about your specific case. At Guajardo & Marks, we have helped countless families get the justice they deserve by filing a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. We have a winning track record in these cases and have won substantial financial damages for our clients. To learn more about how we can help you, call us at 972-774-9800 for a free initial consultation.
Who can sue a hospital for wrongful death?
A wrongful death claim can be brought only by specific persons, typically family members. Also, those eligible to file a wrongful death claim can vary from state to state. In Texas, the following parties are allowed to file wrongful death claims when a loved one dies:
- Surviving Spouse
- Minor Children
- Adult Children
- Adopted Children (many file due to the death of an adoptive parent, but not a biological parent)
- Adoptive Parents
- Personal Representative or Executioner
The personal representative or executor of a deceased person’s estate may file a wrongful death claim if the surviving spouse, children or parents have not filed a claim within 3 months of the date of death. However, a personal representative or executor may not file a claim if a surviving family member specifically requests that a wrongful death action not be pursued.
Surviving siblings may not file a wrongful death claim in Texas for the loss of a sister or brother.
It’s important to remember that a wrongful death claim is filed in civil court and is designed to recoup monetary damages only. Family members or a personal representative initiates these lawsuits. If homicide charges are filed because someone died at the hands of hospital personnel, these charges are filed in criminal court and are initiated by a government prosecutor. If successful, these charges can result in jail time.
If you’re asking yourself, “can you sue a hospital for wrongful death?”, then we can help. Our decades in the courtroom – more than 50 years of combined legal experience – have honed our skills and sharpened our ability in these cases. We have a winning track record of securing financial payouts for clients. Contact a skilled and experienced wrongful death attorney at Guajardo & Marks at 972-774-9800. We can review the particulars of your individual situation and give you an answer.
How much money can you get if you sue a hospital for wrongful death?
Every case is different, so there is no average amount of money you can get if you sue a hospital for wrongful death. Generally, the more defendants there are (doctor, hospital, medical equipment manufacturer, etc.), the better your chances are of getting a payout from each of their insurance companies. Some damages can be awarded because of the decedent’s losses, and some damages are awarded because of the surviving family’s losses. Here are the types of compensation in a wrongful death case:
- Past and current medical bills
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings potential
- Loss of relationship for spouse, children or parents
- Lost care, guidance, advice, maintenance, counsel and support the deceased would have provided to their surviving family members
- Mental and emotional anguish, pain and suffering
- Lost inheritance, including any money or property the deceased would have likely saved and passed on to family members had he or she lived a normal expected lifetime.
In some Texas wrongful death cases, a court can award “exemplary damages” that are designed to be punitive and cautionary in cases where the wrongful death was caused by a willful act or omission or by gross negligence. The purpose of exemplary damages is to punish the wrongdoing and send a cautionary message to other similarly situated individuals or companies who might be tempted to pursue similar behavior.
One thing we do know for sure is that families represented by attorneys generally receive much higher payouts than do families who try to file their own claims. You don’t want to try to represent yourself in court in these kinds of cases because they are complicated, time consuming, and require an intricate knowledge of the legal system. To find out more about how Guajardo & Marks can help, call us at 972-774-9800 for a free consultation about your case.
What is the process after I hire a wrongful death attorney?
The most important first step you’ll take is hiring a skilled and aggressive wrongful death lawyer. Next, your attorney will guide you through the process of building a powerful legal case.
Your attorney will meet with you promptly to hear your side of the story. He will also gather evidence, take witness statements, review medical records, research the relevant law, examine the hospital’s and doctors’ safety records, and even hire an expert witness if needed. Guajardo & Marks has the financial resources necessary to conduct robust research and employ expert witnesses to help prove your case. You will not find any other Dallas wrongful death lawyers who spend the countless hours and resources that Guajardo & Marks does to build a powerful case on your behalf.
Contact a Dallas wrongful death lawyer today
If your loved one has died tragically because of someone’s negligence after being treated at a hospital, you may be entitled to financial compensation. There’s nothing more devastating than trusting a hospital and its staff to care for your loved one only to have your family member die during or after receiving treatment. If this describes your situation, a Dallas wrongful death lawyer at Guajardo & Marks may be able to help. We understand that you’re likely facing mounting medical bills, lost income, funeral and burial costs, and overwhelming pain and suffering. We aggressively represent clients in these cases to get the justice they deserve. To find out more about how we can help, call us at 972-774-9800 for a free initial consultation.