As explored in a recent Tapalian Law blog, a Vietnam veteran died in July at the Bedford VA Medical Center in Bedford, Massachusetts while his nurse’s aide allegedly played video games on her phone. We questioned the potential of the family to file a wrongful death for medical malpractice lawsuit. When a patient incurs an injury resulting from neglect by a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare professional they may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In order to have a valid medical malpractice case, certain criteria must be met and negligence proven, as discussed in Part 1 of the blog. However, what happens when a patient dies due to medical negligence, such as 68-year-old Vietnam Vet Bill Nutter did? In the unfortunate circumstance of a patient’s death, certain family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. At Tapalian Law, our Providence personal injury firm can assist families of deceased victims who believe their loved one died due to medical malpractice. We also help victims who have incurred injury due to medical negligence with medical malpractice claims in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
What is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is a death caused by another’s act of negligence. The act of negligence could be medical malpractice, a car accident, a motorcycle accident, or a workplace accident, among other causes. When a family member dies due to the negligence of another person such as a doctor, hospital, or drunk driver, surviving dependent’s may qualify to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Proof of injury in a wrongful death claim is essential. In the particular example in Part 1 of the blog, a wrongful death case may arise because a patient, Mr. Nutter, died possibly as a result of medical negligence. His eligible family members may attempt to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible hospital or doctor. Even seemingly straight-forward wrongful death lawsuits can be complex and turn quite complicated. When hiring a wrongful death attorney, you should seek out experience. Attorney David Tapalian is a skilled and tenacious lawyer helping Rhode Island and Massachusetts residents with their wrongful death and medical malpractice legal needs.
Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Typically, the person who files the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased will be their closest surviving relative- such as a spouse, parent, or child. It is common for the family member filing the lawsuit to also be the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate. Sometimes, there is no dispute among family members who will be appointed to this role. However, if and when there is a dispute among family members who have an equal relationship to the deceased’s, such as two children, the situation can get complicated. If this happens, the matter may go to court to be decided who will represent the best interest of the deceased person’s estate. Once that is established, the appointed family member may decide to move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit.
A Rhode Island Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Attorney Can Assist Families Who Have Experienced a Loss
The types of damages recovered in a medical malpractice wrongful death case are similar to the types of compensation recovered in a medical malpractice claim and may include lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Wrongful death specific damages may include funeral and burial expenses as well. In addition, any family members who counted on financial support from the deceased may be entitled to recover damages for loss of support. This could include support for a child up to age 18 and also financial college support if it can be proven that the parent would have provided this. Rhode Island does not have a cap on damages that can be awarded in such a lawsuit, although many other states do have caps in effect. As you can see, wrongful death and medical malpractice cases are multifaceted and can prove to be difficult. Even the simplest claim can become complicated quickly. Rather than make a mistake that could hurt your chance at recovering compensation, put the experience of a Rhode Island Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Lawyer to work for you during this difficult time. Contact Tapalian Law at
to discuss the details of your potential medical malpractice or wrongful death case at no charge. You can also reach us through our website contact form.