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Home > Blog > Medical Malpractice > What Happens When a Medical Malpractice Victim Dies While Their Claim is in Progress?
by: NPHM | January 16, 2023

What Happens When a Medical Malpractice Victim Dies While Their Claim is in Progress?

Medical malpractice claims are filed after many different types of medical mistakes, and those mistakes have many different types of outcomes. Some patients may require revision surgeries, some may need physical rehabilitation, and some may even become permanently disabled. Thankfully, most medical malpractice victims recover at least partially.

Unfortunately, some medical malpractice victims suffer severe injuries or illnesses as a result of their healthcare providers’ negligence, and those complications may become life-threatening. Many families who seek to file medical malpractice claims do so while their loved ones are fighting for their lives, and sadly, some victims die while their claims are still in progress.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we’ve helped families whose loved ones have passed away while we’re building their medical malpractice claims prove that their deaths were due to a healthcare provider’s negligence. Here’s what happens from a legal standpoint during these tragic cases.

First, We Determine if Their Death Was Due to Medical Malpractice

Some medical malpractice victims are in very poor health when they receive negligent care. So, while they may be worse off because of their doctors’ or surgeons’ negligence, that negligence may not have been the ultimate cause of their deaths.

When medical malpractice victims die with pre-existing health problems, their claims don’t change much. Instead, we continue collecting evidence against the negligent healthcare providers who harmed them. Even with prior health conditions, deaths resulting from infection, delayed or incorrect treatment, and surgical mistakes causing organ or tissue damage still can be and often are due to healthcare provider negligence.

The Medical Malpractice Claim May Change into a Wrongful Death Claim

If we determine that the medical malpractice victim whose claim we’re building died because of a healthcare provider’s or facility’s error, then we may change their claim into a wrongful death claim. This doesn’t involve much, if any, action on behalf of the victim’s family. Instead, it’s something our lawyers and legal team handle to best position the family to get maximum compensation for their losses, both financial and emotional.

When filed against healthcare providers and facilities, wrongful death claims are similar to medical malpractice claims. They both involve proving that negligence led to the injury or illness that resulted in the victim’s health complications and damages. However, medical malpractice claims are designed to help victims themselves get compensation for their medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering, while wrongful death claims are designed to help their families get compensation for all that as well as funeral expenses and loss of companionship.

Both Types of Claims Can Be Filed Under Some Circumstances

Families of deceased medical malpractice victims can have both medical malpractice and wrongful death claims ongoing at the same time if the at-fault parties for each are different. For example, if a surgeon causes a patient to suffer a serious complication, he can be sued for medical malpractice. And if the patient is moved to a new hospital or rehabilitation facility to recover from the malpractice injury, but later dies because of negligent care, a wrongful death claim also may be filed.

In some cases, both medical malpractice claims and wrongful death claims may be filed against the same parties. These situations can occur when a medical malpractice victim suffers for a significant period of time as a result of a healthcare provider’s negligence, incurs expensive medical bills during that time, and later dies due to that act of negligence.

A wrongful death or medical malpractice claim alone may not be enough to compensate the family for their damages, but a wrongful death claim combined with a medical malpractice claim may provide fair compensation.

Contact Us if Your Loved One Died While Their Medical Malpractice Claim is Ongoing

Losing a loved one after filing a medical malpractice claim is devastating. Your trust in the medical profession was already damaged or even broken after your loved one was injured at the hands of a healthcare provider or facility that was supposed to provide great care. Now, they’ve passed away as a result of further negligence. You and your family deserve maximum compensation during this time.

The Ohio medical malpractice lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy handle both medical malpractice and wrongful death claims. We see every day how the two types of claims can intersect in cases where innocent victims are severely harmed by medical professionals and later pass away as a result of that negligence or someone else’s negligence.

When you contact us, we’ll review the facts of what happened and work hard to ensure your family gets the money you need to move forward with your lives after your devastating loss. Reach out to us today for a free consultation. There’s no fee unless we win your claim.

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