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Difference Between Wrongful Death & Medical Malpractice

Wrongful Death

When it comes to personal injury, the different types of claims somebody can make coupled with the different laws in each one can get pretty confusing. While medical malpractice can lead to a wrongful death, they are separate claims and only a personal injury attorney can best determine which one your case will fall into if you or someone you know has suffered an injury or wrongful death.

Wrongful Death vs. Medical Malpractice

While medical malpractice can certainly lead to a patient’s death, not all wrongful death cases result from medical malpractice. In simple terms, medical malpractice happens when a healthcare provider acts negligently and causes harm to a patient. Wrongful death occurs when someone dies as a result of negligence, carelessness, or an intentional wrongful act.

Losing a loved one is difficult to experience in the first place. But if the death was a cause of negligence, the devastation increases significantly. And although no amount of money can ever bring a loved one back, if there is a case for wrongful death, you may be entitled to compensation. One form of wrongful death can be medical malpractice but they are not the same. Having an understanding of the differences and speaking with an attorney can help determine which course of action you should take.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death occurs when someone dies as a result of someone else’s irresponsibility and negligence. Medical malpractice can lead to wrongful death but so can any of the following:

  • automobile accident
  • assault and battery
  • food poisoning
  • construction site accidents
  • domestic abuse
  • and much more

In these types of cases, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions directly caused the injuries and death of the deceased. The series of events and cause and effect must be completely clear in order to have a case. The damages in a wrongful death claim can vary depending on your specific case but generally include the loss of financial support for a spouse, children or aging parents, medical bills and funeral costs and in some cases, pain and suffering. Determining whether there is a case to be made should be decided by a qualified Sacramento accident attorney.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice claims are among the most difficult claims to prove in court and they do not always result in the death of a patient. The main focus on these types of claims is the negligence of a medical professional. It has to be proven that the behavior caused harm to the patient. The following are the characteristics that must be present in order for a medical malpractice case to be an option:

  • failure to deliver a good standard of care, according to the state’s standards medical professionals should adhere to
  • an injury was caused by negligence – if medical professionals acted negligently but this did not cause injury or harm, they cannot be held liable. The plaintiff needs to prove that the injury
  • would not have happened should the medical professional not have been negligent.
  • the injury must have severely damaging consequences
  • informed consent must not have been present – if the patient did not provide the medical professional with an informed consent and the procedure was completed properly, a case for medical malpractice may still be present

If you believe the death of a family member was caused by medical malpractice, you need to talk to an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Any type of personal injury case should demand compensation for your financial losses so don’t wait to speak with an accident attorney.

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