Medical negligence can cause serious injuries and death. It includes malpractice by doctors, nurses, technicians, physician’s assistants, and nurse’s aides employed by the hospital.
While suffering an injury due to medical negligence is bad enough, do you know what rights you have if a loved one dies because of this? At The Law Offices of Joseph J. Perrini, III, we understand the impact that losing a loved one can have. We can help you seek justice and recover compensation for your loss.
Learn more about wrongful death due to medical malpractice in Long Island here. You can also call our office to schedule a free initial consultation.
What Is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence, or medical malpractice, occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of care expected in their profession, resulting in harm or death to a patient. This can include errors in diagnosis, treatment, surgery, medication, or failure to provide appropriate care.
In cases of wrongful death due to medical negligence, it means that a loved one has passed away because a healthcare provider’s negligence directly contributed to their demise.
Common Causes of Death Due to Medical Negligence
Several issues may lead to death because of medical negligence. Some of the most common include:
Misdiagnosis and Delayed Treatment
One of the leading causes of wrongful death due to medical malpractice is misdiagnosis or delayed treatment. A healthcare provider failing to diagnose a medical condition or delay necessary treatment accurately can have devastating consequences. Patients may not receive the timely care they need, leading to the progression of their illness or condition to a point where it becomes untreatable or fatal.
Surgical errors are another common form of medical malpractice that can result in wrongful death. These errors can include mistakes during surgery, such as leaving surgical instruments inside the patient, operating on the wrong body part, or damaging vital organs. Surgical malpractice can lead to severe complications and, in some cases, fatal outcomes.
Medication errors, such as prescribing the wrong medication, incorrect dosages, or failing to monitor a patient’s response to medicine, can also result in wrongful death. Inadequate oversight and communication within healthcare settings can lead to patients receiving the wrong medications or experiencing adverse drug reactions that prove fatal.
Inadequate Postoperative Care
After surgery, patients require appropriate postoperative care to ensure their recovery. Medical malpractice can occur if healthcare providers neglect their duty to adequately monitor and care for patients. Complications, infections, or other adverse events can go unnoticed, ultimately leading to a patient’s untimely death.
Negligent Maternal and Neonatal Care
In cases involving childbirth, medical malpractice can affect both mothers and infants. Negligent maternal care can lead to complications during pregnancy or childbirth, resulting in maternal mortality. Similarly, errors during neonatal care can lead to birth injuries or fatalities, often due to inadequate monitoring or improper medical interventions.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Long Island?
Only certain people have the legal right to file a wrongful death claim.
Immediate Family Members
In Long Island, immediate family members are typically the first in line to file a wrongful death claim. This includes spouses, children (including stepchildren), and parents of the deceased.
These individuals are often considered the most directly affected by the loss and have a legal right to seek compensation for their emotional and financial losses.
Personal Representatives or Executors
In cases where the deceased did not have immediate family members or if the family members are unwilling or unable to pursue a wrongful death claim, the personal representative or executor of the deceased’s estate can file the claim on behalf of the estate and its beneficiaries. This can include siblings, distant relatives, or individuals named in the deceased’s will.
Long Island law also recognizes those who were financially dependent on the deceased as eligible to file a wrongful death claim. This may include individuals who rely on the deceased for financial support, such as domestic partners, non-marital children, or other individuals who can demonstrate their dependency on the deceased.
Distributees would inherit from the deceased’s estate if there were no will. In the absence of immediate family members, personal representatives, or financial dependents, distributees may have the legal right to file a wrongful death claim in Long Island.
Putative Spouses and Stepchildren
In some cases, Long Island law may also extend the right to file a wrongful death claim to putative spouses (individuals who believed they were legally married to the deceased) and stepchildren, significantly if they can demonstrate a significant financial or emotional connection to the deceased.
The Importance of Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
When a wrongful death occurs, it’s not just about seeking compensation; it’s about holding those responsible accountable for their actions. Pursuing a wrongful death claim can help prevent similar tragedies from happening to others in the future.
Justice for a wrongful death due to medical negligence often involves:
- Determining Liability: Identifying the healthcare provider(s) responsible for the negligence is a critical first step. It may involve investigating medical records, consulting experts, and gathering evidence.
- Calculating Damages: Wrongful death cases can involve various types of damages, including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and emotional suffering. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help calculate these damages accurately.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, especially during grief. A wrongful death lawyer can handle negotiations, ensuring you receive fair compensation.
- Filing a Lawsuit: A lawsuit may be necessary if a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation. Your attorney will guide you through the legal process, ensuring your rights are protected.
The Role of a Wrongful Death Lawyer
A wrongful death lawyer is your advocate during this difficult time. They have the expertise and experience to navigate the complex legal system and fight for your rights. Here’s how they can assist you:
- Legal Expertise: A wrongful death lawyer specializes in these types of cases. They understand the relevant laws, statutes of limitations, and legal procedures, ensuring your case is handled correctly.
- Investigation: Lawyers have the resources and connections to conduct a thorough investigation. They can collect evidence, consult with medical experts, and build a strong case on your behalf.
- Negotiation Skills: Lawyers are skilled negotiators who can engage with insurance companies and defendants to reach a fair settlement. They know how to protect your interests and maximize your compensation.
- Litigation: If a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer can take your case to court. They will represent you throughout the trial, presenting your case to a judge and jury.
Seeking Closure and Accountability
Losing a loved one due to medical negligence is a traumatic experience, but seeking justice can help provide closure and hold those responsible accountable. It’s essential to act promptly, as there are time limits for filing wrongful death claims in Long Island. The statute of limitations to
file this suit is two years from the date of the person’s death.
Your Right to File a Wrongful Death Claim After Medical Negligence in Long Island
Pursuing justice after a wrongful death due to medical negligence in Long Island is not just about seeking compensation; it’s about making sure the healthcare providers involved are held accountable. A wrongful death lawyer can be your advocate during this challenging time, guiding you through the legal process and fighting for your rights. If you find yourself in such a situation, don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel to pursue justice and ensure the memory of your loved one is honored.
If you have any questions or need assistance with a wrongful death case in Long Island, please reach out to The Law Offices of Joseph J. Perrini, III, where our experienced wrongful death lawyers are ready to help you through this challenging journey.