What must be proven in a wrongful death suit?
Most Houston residents are familiar with the term "wrongful death," but, fortunately, most people will never have to encounter the tragic situation that the term describes. A wrongful death is generally not a purposeful killing of another, but rather an accidental death that stems from negligence or recklessness. In the medical setting, a wrongful death may result from a single medical mistake, such as an anesthesia error, the misdiagnosis of a fatal condition or a pattern of medical errors over time.
When families experience the loss of a loved one in a medical sitting, countless questions are likely to arise if they suspect wrongful death. One of the primary questions is likely to surround the elements of a successful wrongful death lawsuit. In civil court, what must elements must be proven in order to show wrongful death?
There are several key elements that add up to a wrongful death. The first element is that a person's death must be caused by another's negligence and not by something or someone else. In the healthcare arena, this element can be very complicated, especially if the deceased person had existing health conditions and if the person had undergone numerous treatments from multiple medical professionals. Frequently, expert opinions from those with substantiated medical knowledge must be introduced in order to demonstrate the cause of death.
Another crucial element is that family members, or sometimes those associated with the deceased person's estate, must have been damaged by the death. Of course, the death of a loved one is always emotionally traumatic, but there are often financial damages, as well. If the deceased was a wage-earner and supported the family, for instance, that person's death can throw a family's financial situation into turmoil.
While these important elements must be met in order to bring forth a wrongful death suit, there are countless additional aspects of successful lawsuits. In addition to the complex nature of wrongful death suits, there also are important deadlines for filing such suits; a Houston medical malpractice attorney can help a family understand the timeline for their case, as well as its most important elements.