Can You Sue a Doctor for Wrongful Death?
Losing a loved one is a tragedy that no family should ever have to endure. This is especially true when a loved one’s death results from a mistake in a doctor’s office or hospital. Sadly, deaths caused by medical errors are far too common, and far too many families find themselves needing to speak with a lawyer about filing a wrongful death claim against a doctor or medical facility.
If you are wondering whether you can sue a doctor for wrongful death, the short answer is, “Yes.” Just like anyone else, doctors and hospitals can—and should—be held accountable when they make fatal mistakes. But, pursuing a wrongful death claim is a complicated legal process with several steps; and, to protect your family’s legal rights, it will be important for you to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
When Can You Sue a Doctor and a Hospital for Wrongful Death?
Suing a doctor and hospital for wrongful death in Rhode Island requires evidence of medical malpractice. Just because a loved one died while under a doctor’s care, this does not necessarily mean that the doctor (or medical facility) is liable. Establishing liability requires evidence of a mistake, and this mistake must reflect a failure to meet the prevailing standard of care in the medical community.
Determining whether a fatal mistake constitutes medical malpractice requires a thorough analysis of the facts involved. When you speak with a lawyer about your family’s legal rights, your lawyer will meticulously scrutinize the facts surrounding your loved one’s passing; and, if it appears that your loved one’s death was wrongful, your lawyer will engage a medical expert to confirm the cause of death.
While every case requires careful analysis, certain types of medical mistakes are generally indicative of malpractice. Some examples of medical mistakes that can give rise to wrongful death claims against doctors include:
- Anesthesia and medication errors
- Emergency room negligence
- Failure to timely diagnose cancer and other illnesses
- Labor and delivery errors
- Misdiagnosis of health conditions
- Neurological treatment errors
- Surgical errors
To find out if your family has a wrongful death claim involving medical malpractice in Rhode Island, you will need to speak with a lawyer who has significant experience handling these types of cases.
The Process of Suing a Doctor and/or Hospital for Wrongful Death in Rhode Island
As we mentioned above, suing a doctor and/or hospital for wrongful death is a process—and the first step in the process is hiring an experienced lawyer to represent your family. Once you engage a lawyer to pursue your family’s wrongful death claim, your lawyer will:
- Collect the Evidence Needed to Prove Your Family’s Wrongful Death Claim – Your lawyer will collect all of the evidence needed to protect your family’s legal rights. Among other things, this includes obtaining relevant records from your loved one’s healthcare providers on your family’s behalf.
- Calculate the Damages Your Family is Entitled to Recover – Your attorney will also analyze the financial compensation your family is entitled to recover. This includes compensation for your family’s financial costs, loss of future earnings and services, loss of companionship and consortium, and your loved one’s pain and suffering prior to death.
- Contact the Doctor’s (or Medical Facility’s) Insurer – Your lawyer will contact the doctor’s (or medical facility’s) medical malpractice insurer.
- Deal with the Insurance Company – Your attorney will deal with the insurance company to prove liability and work toward securing a favorable settlement. If the insurance company makes a settlement offer, your lawyer will help you decide whether to accept.
- Take Your Family’s Wrongful Death Claim to Court if Necessary – While many medical malpractice claims settle, it is important to be prepared to go to court if necessary. If settling is not in your family’s best interests, your lawyer will fight to hold the insurance company liable at trial.
If you need to know more about suing a doctor for wrongful death in Rhode Island, we encourage you to contact us for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. For over 45 years, Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd. has provided effective assistance to victims of medical negligence. We understand the complexities of these difficult cases and we are committed to helping our clients move forward.
To schedule an appointment today, please call (401) 273-8330 or tell us how we can reach you online today.