When you lose a loved one suddenly and unexpectedly because of wrongful conduct or negligence, Arizona law allows that person’s surviving spouse, children, parents or estate to file a lawsuit for wrongful death due to medical negligence.
While the claim cannot bring a loved one back, it can help families get both closure and justice by holding the responsible party accountable.
Let’s take a brief look at this type of claim.
Wrongful death lawsuits are typically associated with deaths due to negligence or an intentional act in events such as a motor vehicle crash, workplace accident, homicide or a police-involved killing. However, when medical malpractice results in the death of the patient, it can lead to a wrongful death claim as well.
In very simple terms, if a health care provider is negligent and harms the patient, that is the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit. If the health care provider is negligent and as a result the patient dies, that is the basis for a wrongful death claim.
Medical malpractice is conduct by a physician, nurse or other health care professional that is below the accepted standard of professional care that results in injury to the patient.
Examples of medical malpractice include the following:
- Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose a disease or condition
- Medication errors (too much or too little of a medication, or administered the wrong medication)
- Surgical errors (wrong-site surgery, damaging healthy organs, anesthesia errors during surgery, etc.)
- Medical errors during pregnancy or childbirth resulting in injuries to the infant or mother
- Hospital-related injuries by a doctor, nurse or hospital staff member
Types of damages
It should be noted that in wrongful death cases due to medical malpractice, economic and noneconomic damages can be awarded.
Economic damages are for measurable losses that can include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of financial support
- Funeral expenses
Noneconomic damages are compensation for injuries such as:
- Loss of companionship, guidance and emotional support
Of course, the legal challenges presented by a wrongful death claim arising from medical malpractice lawsuit are determined by the circumstances of each individual case that should be discussed in a confidential consultation with an experienced attorney.