Wrongful Death Guide: Proof, Compensation, the Attorney & More

What No Family Should Experience

Every day in the Houston area, children run and tumble on school playgrounds. Recess is a time for kids to be kids. Releasing their pent up energy, kicking around a ball or two, or maybe even playing make believe. Every once in a while though, things get out of hand and accidents occur. Most of the time it’s a minor scrape or cut. At times though, things such as a broken bone or more serious injury occur. A recess romp rarely turns into a fatal accident, but occasionally the unthinkable occurs.

Last spring at John W. Carpenter elementary school, a 6-year-old boy from Dallas collided with a playground pole. His parents took him to the hospital. While there hospital staff performed x-rays and diagnosed him with constipation. They said it was okay to go home.  Several hours later, the boy lost consciousness. His parents called 911, but the boy died before the ambulance could even arrive at the hospital.

Was there a medical mistake or a misdiagnosis of a fatal condition? According to the family, the negligence that took place was deliberate. The hospital, however, denies this accusation. The family claims that the hospital staff misused an enema and tried to cover up the internal damage that was caused.

No parent wants to ponder the idea of wrongful death amidst tragedy, but legal action is one way that parents can hold negligent professionals accountable. In hospitals, misdiagnosis errors can come about in many ways, from rushed lab work to bad communication between staff. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can find the source of negligence in a misdiagnosis incident. They help families in moving forward in the process.

Staggering Statistics

Doctor stands with arms folded while holding a stethoscope

According to a new study published in the BMJ — formerly the British Medical Journal — researchers have discovered that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States*, trailing only heart disease and cancer.

Based on the results of the study, medical errors result in the wrongful death of roughly 251,000 people each year. That is over 100,000 more than the next highest leading causes of death, respiratory disease (147,000), accidents (136,000), and stroke (133,000).

These statistics are alarming. The 250,000 death-toll number means that about 700 deaths occur each day— which is 9.5% of all annual deaths in the nation. Did you know that The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t have any standards in place that require medical professionals to specify medical errors that may have contributed to a patient’s cause of death? Things need to change.

*The study was led by Dr. Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, whose investigation included communication breakdowns, system errors, surgical errors, emergency room errors, medication errors, anesthesia errors, and more. The study also includes medical “never events.”  Events where staff operate on the wrong person, perform surgery on the the wrong body part, or even leave a foreign object in a patient, after surgery.

Who can speak for victims most effectively in a wrongful death?

Stack of books with glasses on top

Families of a deceased victim often present a strong voice for their loved one’s interests, but holding the guilty staff member or hospital accountable can be difficult.

Medical malpractice lawsuits require experts in the medical field. These professionals can confirm whether you have a case or not.  Even the smallest  details can be the difference between getting compensation or not.

In addition, medically-related lawsuits are often against relatively powerful opponents, such as hospitals, medical device manufacturers, or respected physicians. With several decades of experience going up against these tough adversaries in court, the law firm of Hampton & King repeatedly fights and wins – to hold those guilty, accountable for wrongful deaths. Our firm has handled countless types of medical negligence cases over the years, from fatal diagnostic errors to deadly surgical mistakes. This wide range of cases has given the attorneys at our firm the winning edge.  Successfully advocating for a victim’s interests in court, and seeking justice.

Following the loss of a loved one in a medical sitting, it can be hard to consider legal action. Still, getting the right information about the available options after a fatal accident is often a necessary and helpful step.

What we need to prove in a wrongful death suit?

Man extending his hand to help

When families experience the loss of a loved one in a medical sitting, countless questions are likely to arise if wrongful death is suspected.

There are several key components that add up to a wrongful death. First, we figure out if the reason for death was another person’s negligence, or something else. In healthcare, this can be very complex. Especially if the deceased had existing health conditions or if they have had numerous treatments by medical professionals.  Frequently, expert opinions from those with proven medical knowledge must be introduced in order to explain the cause of death.

Another crucial element is the damage of death inflicted on family members. Of course, the death of a loved one is always emotionally traumatic, there’s no question about that. But there’s often financial damages, and other damages as well. If the deceased was a wage-earner, for example, that person’s death can throw a family’s financial situation into turmoil. All harm must be considered.

While these important factors must be met in order to bring forth a wrongful
death suit, there are countless 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.

At Hampton & King, we know the devastation that medical errors causes victims and their families. It is important to have dedicated and committed representation on their side.  To help hold health care providers accountable for their actions. Call our Houston medical malpractice attorneys and discuss your potential claim with our devoted team today. We may be able to help you seek the compensation you deserve and obtain justice on your behalf.

How to Differentiate Between Adverse Events and Malpractice

Emergency sign showing directions to the main entrance of hospital.

Undergoing any major medical procedure can be intimidating. There are inherent risks with some surgeries or treatments that doctors cannot eliminate. They will still recommend the procedures if they believe it is the only solution. Similarly, taking pharmaceutical drugs can also have side effects that are not pleasant. Many individuals believe that because they endured pain and suffering after a surgery or after ingesting medicine, they have grounds for suing. However, it is not that simple.
Continue reading How to Differentiate Between Adverse Events and Malpractice

4 “Never Events” That Could Give Rise to Medical Malpractice Claims

When you walk into a hospital, you expect the physicians and doctors to
be well trained and know the proper procedures. You place your trust in
them, expecting them to know how to best care for your health. Doctors
need to go through extensive schooling and training before they can help
patients.
Continue reading 4 “Never Events” That Could Give Rise to Medical Malpractice Claims

Family claims botched delivery in Texas newborn’s death

 

The loss of a loved one is always deeply hurtful, but often much more so
when the deceased was relatively young. The death of a newborn is almost
unfathomable to most Texas families, but unfortunately that is what one
local family has had to cope with recently. In situations where a loved
one has died unexpectedly due to a medical mistake, a family can obtain
legal advice from a Houston wrongful death attorney.
Continue reading Family claims botched delivery in Texas newborn’s death

What can I expect when discussing a medical malpractice case?

 

A family grieving the loss of a loved one rarely wants to initiate a lawsuit;
however, in many instances a civil suit is the only way to hold a negligent
doctor, hospital or other entity accountable. Still, taking one’s
case to a Houston medical malpractice attorney may be very difficult.
A family is likely dealing with a variety of intense emotions, coping
with ongoing grief and shock and struggling to overcome new financial
challenges. What can families expect when they talk to an attorney about
medical malpractice and wrongful death?
Continue reading What can I expect when discussing a medical malpractice case?

A family’s recovery is possible after a fatal medical mistake

 

Few patients expect that something will go seriously wrong when they receive
any medical treatment. In the United States, most people who work in healthcare
must undergo extensive training, obtain the required licenses and certifications
and even complete continuing education requirements as mandated by their
professions. Nevertheless, doctor mistakes continue to occur and Texas
families may find themselves having to confront the loss of a loved one.
In such instances, a wrongful death lawsuit may be the only way to find
relief for damages caused by medical negligence.
Continue reading A family’s recovery is possible after a fatal medical mistake