When people in Houston suffers a serious illness or injury, it can change the trajectory of their life forever. Depending on the severity of their illness or injury, they may be left with lifelong effects due to their medical condition, even after treatment. In the worst of circumstances, the medical condition will be fatal, and the person will pass away.
Sometimes, when a person passes away after an illness or injury it is no one's fault, just bad luck. However, what a person should not have to endure is losing their life due to medical negligence. When a medical professional is responsible for a loved one's death, the victim's survivors may want to pursue a legal claim against the responsible parties. Sometimes, a wrongful death claim is an option, while other times a medical malpractice claim is appropriate. It is important to understand the difference between these two types of claims.
When it comes to a death caused by a medical professional, a wrongful death claim is brought by the survivors of the victim who passed away due to the negligent or intentional actions of the medical professional at issue. In a wrongful death claim, it must be shown that the responsible party had a duty of care that was breached, causing the victim's death and that the victim's survivors suffered financial damages due to the death. Sometimes, a personal representative must bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the victim's survivors.
In contrast, in a medical malpractice claim, it needs to be shown that the medical professional deviated from what are considered the generally acceptable standards of practice for their profession. If the hospital is a party to the claim, it must be shown that the hospital did not properly care for its facilities, inadequately trained it staff or was understaffed, for example.
In certain circumstances, a person can pursue both a wrongful death claim and a medical malpractice claim at the same time. However, many states "cap" the amount of financial compensation a person who pursues both types of claims can receive.