Can You Sue a Doctor for Wrongful Death Caused by Medical Negligence?

BIKLaw Medical Malpractice Lawyer > Wrongful Death > Can You Sue a Doctor for Wrongful Death Caused by Medical Negligence?

Although doctors, surgeons, and others in the medical field aim for positive results in all cases, the human body is unique and complex. A procedure or course of treatment that works for one patient may not have the same effect on another patient with the same condition.

When a treatment does not have the desired results, symptoms can worsen, or new symptoms can appear. In some cases, the outcome can be fatal. If your loved one has recently died after undergoing a medical procedure or course of treatment, you may wonder what your legal options are in California.

Here is what you need to know about suing a doctor on your loved one’s behalf and how a wrongful death attorney can help.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In a wrongful death action, the plaintiff is either a close family member or the personal representative of a person who is deceased. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that another person committed a reckless or negligent act and, in so doing, caused the decedent’s death.

Careless driving, manufacturing defects, and other similar actions can all support a wrongful death claim. Medical care can also support a wrongful death claim if available evidence shows that the care your loved one received was unreasonably deficient and contributed to their death.

What Is Negligent Medical Care?

Just because your loved one died after receiving medical care does not necessarily mean that you have a viable wrongful death lawsuit. The care your loved one received must be objectively deficient and less than what someone in the medical field would consider to be reasonable.

Determining whether the care your loved one received was deficient requires carefully analyzing the facts. Factors that a court may consider include:

  • The education, background, and experience of the medical provider
  • The resources available to the hospital or clinic where the decedent was treated
  • Whether the condition being treated was well-known or novel
  • Other conditions your loved one had that contributed to their passing

If a reasonable doctor faced with the same circumstances the provider in question encountered would have chosen the same treatment protocol your loved one received, then your loved one did not receive deficient care.

Conversely, if no other reasonable medical provider would have rendered the sort of care your loved one received, you may have a viable wrongful death lawsuit.

How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Proves Deficient Care

If you believe your loved one received negligent care that caused their passing, your wrongful death attorney will need to gather evidence that can prove this claim. There are several common sources of evidence available, including:

Medical Records

Your loved one’s medical records will show not only any diagnoses they had but also their vital statistics and other information that would have been available to their medical care team. Experts can review this information to determine whether your loved one’s medical team reached reasonable conclusions and took appropriate actions.

Expert Testimony

Medical experts are often needed to convince a judge or jury that your loved one received deficient care. These individuals are familiar with the medical field in general, as well as local practices, protocols, and norms in your area.

Your wrongful death attorney may use the testimony of a credible medical expert to support your claim that your loved one should have received better care than they did.

Autopsy and Forensic Examinations

Even if your loved one received care that was unreasonably careless, you will not receive any compensation unless it can be demonstrated that the care your loved one received caused their death. For this, post-mortem toxicology examinations and an autopsy may be necessary.

You may not prefer for these examinations not to be performed on your deceased loved one. By working with a skilled wrongful death attorney, you and your attorney can determine whether such evidence is truly necessary in your case or whether the necessary causal link can be proven in some other way.

Contact a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If you believe your loved one died due to negligent medical care in California, it is crucial to discover what rights you may have. The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. can fight aggressively to recover the compensation you and your family deserve.

As both a licensed physician and attorney, Dr. Kramer is uniquely qualified to evaluate the circumstances of your case and determine the best path forward. To learn more, contact our team to schedule your free consultation today.

Questions? Contact us