Hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities in Texas have the
unfortunate distinction of experiencing death on a routine basis. Most
of these deaths are either expected or unavoidable; in some cases, however,
the death of a patient could have been prevented. In others, the death
is a direct result of a negligent or reckless act on the part of a doctor
or other medical professional. In such scenarios, families of the deceased
may wish to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
A successful wrongful death suit can accomplish several things for those
who have suffered the loss of a loved one. First, it can help a family
obtain compensation for damages suffered as a result of a death caused
by a medical mistake. Damages may include funeral expenses, medical bills,
loss of companionship and loss of the deceased person’s income. In
addition, a wrongful death suit can hold a negligent party accountable
and may even help ensure the individual or entity does not perform the
same negligent action again.
A malpractice suit, however, must demonstrate several elements in order
to show that a wrongful death actually occurred. First, there must be
an actual death of a human being. That death must have been caused by
the defendant’s negligence. In some situations, the defendant’s
intent to cause harm takes the place of negligence in a wrongful death
suit. The third element is the existence of family members who have suffered
financially as a consequence of the fatal accident or intentional act.
Finally, a personal representative must be appointed for the estate of
the deceased individual.
Even if all four elements are clearly present, a wrongful death suit centering
on a doctor mistake can be highly complex. A Houston medical malpractice
firm can offer advice and guidance for families wanting to know if they
have a case and, if so, how to begin a wrongful death suit.