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.