Florida Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Attorneys
Medical errors in hospitals and clinics result in approximately 100,000 patient deaths per year in the U.S., while another 150,000 people die annually due to misdiagnoses, medication errors and other types of medical negligence in outpatient settings. According to patient safety experts at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, this makes medical malpractice the third leading cause of death (excluding COVID-19-related deaths) in the U.S.
If a member of your immediate family has been the victim of a fatal medical error or negligence, you may be able to hold the negligent healthcare provider and hospital or clinic liable for the death. With a Florida wrongful death claim, you could potentially obtain substantial compensation for your loved one’s medical expenses, lost income funeral and burial expenses and pain and suffering, as well as for your emotional pain, suffering and losses.
At Paul Knopf Bigger, we are committed to holding negligent healthcare providers and hospitals accountable for the harm and suffering they cause patients and their families. We have many years of successful trial experience as Florida medical malpractice attorneys and have won numerous multi-million-dollar settlements and awards for the families whom we have had the privilege of representing. We are sorry for your loss and would be honored to discuss the Florida wrongful death claim process with you and answer any questions you might have about it.
Florida Wrongful Death Claims for Medical Negligence
According to the Florida Wrongful Death Act, a wrongful death is the death of a person that is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any other person. Medical negligence, such as diagnostic errors, medication errors, surgical errors and other serious mistakes made by healthcare professionals, which result in a patient’s death, could be considered wrongful deaths.
To have grounds for a wrongful death claim due to medical negligence, your attorney must prove that a healthcare provider’s negligence caused the fatal injury. The specific legal standards of proof for negligence vary with the type of negligent or wrongful act and the fatal injuries that occurred, but in all cases, you have to be able to prove that:
- The negligent party or parties had a legal duty to the deceased victim.
- The negligent party or parties failed to meet their legal duty.
- The negligent party or parties’ failure to meet their legal duty caused fatal injuries.
For example, doctors and other healthcare professionals have a legal duty to provide healthcare services that are of the same standard of quality that a reasonably prudent healthcare provider in the same field of medicine would provide. If a doctor does not meet this standard of care, then he could be viewed as having failed to meet his legal duty. When a patient is fatally injured because his doctor didn’t meet the standard of care, the doctor’s negligence could be seen as having caused the fatality, and he could be held liable for wrongful death.
Filing a Florida Wrongful Death Claim for Medical Negligence
According to the Florida Wrongful Death Act, the deceased’s personal representative (usually the Executor of the estate) is the person who has the right to initiate a wrongful death claim to recover damages (compensation). However, both the estate and survivors may be entitled to recover damages.
According to the law, a surviving spouse has the first right to damages, followed by the children of the deceased. If there is no spouse or children, the parents of the deceased may be able to collect damages. Also, other blood relatives and adoptive siblings who were dependent on the deceased for support or services may also be entitled to compensation. Unfortunately, when there is no spouse, children under 25, other dependent relatives, or living parents, the only damages that can be recovered are medical expenses and funeral expenses.
Recovering Damages with a Florida Wrongful Death Claim
In Florida, the deceased’s estate and survivors can both recover damages with a wrongful death lawsuit. The damages given to the estate (and ultimately distributed to beneficiaries and/or legal heirs of the estate) are intended as compensation for injuries that occurred before the death and/or are related directly to the death, including:
- Pain and anguish – compensation for the physical and emotional pain the deceased suffered because of the injuries caused by medical negligence,
- Lost wages and other earnings – compensation for the money the deceased could reasonably have been expected to make if he or she had lived.
- Medical and funeral expenses – The expenses that were paid directly by the estate, including those incurred for medical procedures, time in the hospital or rehab facilities, medical equipment, medication, etc.
Survivors can also pursue additional damages to compensate them for their losses and suffering following their family member’s death, including:
- Emotional pain and suffering – Surviving spouses and minor children may be awarded compensation for their emotional suffering due to the death. If the victim was a minor child, parents may also be compensated.
- Loss of companionship – Survivors may be able to obtain compensation for the loss of companionship, protection and support of their loved one.
- Loss of services – Survivors may be able to get compensated for the value of services their family member would have provided from the time of the injury until his or her death, as well as in the future. These services may include:
- Home maintenance. If the deceased routinely did home repair and yard maintenance tasks, compensation for these expenses may be available.
- Housework. If the deceased took care of the home and cooked the meals, compensation to cover this expense may be possible.
- Childcare. If the deceased took care of the family’s children, compensation for childcare may be available.
- Elder care. If the deceased took care of an elderly family member at home, compensation may be available to pay for eldercare.
Determining the compensation survivors can potentially recover with a wrongful death lawsuit can be complicated, since losses that do not have a definite monetary value must be considered. However, an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney from Paul Knopf Bigger will be able to determine all of the damages you have suffered and advise you on the best course of action.
Trusted Florida Wrongful Death Attorneys with Exceptional Experience Handling Medical Malpractice Cases
Wrongful death cases involving medical malpractice cases can be very complicated, requiring the expertise of experienced trial attorneys and the resources of a successful law firm. The Paul Knopf Bigger attorneys have achieved many multi-million-dollar settlements and awards and have the experience, skill and resources you can trust to win your wrongful death case.
Paul Knopf Bigger is the Florida firm other attorneys throughout the state and country trust to handle their clients’ complex wrongful death claims. We are the attorneys you too can trust to provide the strong advocacy, excellent personal attention and outstanding results you want.
Please don’t delay discussing your wrongful death case with an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney you can trust. Call us today at 855.292.2111 or submit the “Free Case Evaluation” form on our website to begin working on your case.