It is every person’s worst nightmare. A loved one goes into the hospital or a surgical center, and they don’t come back. Medical malpractice happens all too often in the United States, and in the most severe cases, it can lead to death.
According to patient safety experts from Johns Hopkins Hospital, 251,454 patients die each year as a result of medical error. This translates to 9.5% of all deaths each year in the United States. According to the research team responsible for the study, this places medical errors as the third leading cause of death in the United States.
For perspective on just how serious a problem medical errors truly are, in 2015, there were 36,252 people killed by guns in the United States. In the same year, 36,161 people were killed in car accidents. In other words, almost 4 times as many people are killed by medical errors in the United States than by guns and car accidents combined.
Of course, these statistics are irrelevant if it is your loved one who has died as a result of medical malpractice. The Long Island wrongful death attorneys of Winkler Kurtz, LLP understand how devastating such a loss is. Our practice is devoted to helping families like yours recover compensation when negligence has led to the death of a loved one.
For more than 30 years, Winkler Kurtz, LLP has helped victims in personal injury lawsuits, including medical malpractice cases. Call us today at 631-928-8000 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a skilled Long Island wrongful death attorney.
Holding Negligent Medical Professional Accounting for Wrongful Deaths
Medical malpractice is far too common in the United States. While most doctors and other medical professionals maintain the highest standards of case, the pressures of modern practice often mean that quality of care plummets.
Common mistakes that may lead to patient deaths include:
- Equipment malfunction;
- Failure to communicate among treating medical professionals;
- Surgical errors;
- Failure to follow protocols;
- Administering the wrong medication;
- Neglecting to monitor the patient’s condition;
- Delayed treatment of life-threatening conditions; or
- Losing or mixing up patient files.
Surgical errors are an ever-increasing source of wrongful deaths. Even during a relatively minor surgery, patient might die due to:
- Failure to provide insulin to a diabetic;
- Anesthesia mistakes;
- Failure to monitor a patient’s condition while in recovery;
- Excess bleeding during surgery;
- Surgery performed on wrong body part;
- Wrong surgery performed on patient; or
- Leaving surgical tools or instruments in patient.
While many families may be reluctant to file a lawsuit after the death of a loved one, one of the best ways to hold hospitals, doctors and medical staff accountable for their negligence is through litigation. A lawsuit can give families answers about what went wrong, and can help prevent others from experiencing the same tragedy.
Proving a Wrongful Death Case in New York
Medical malpractice cases, including wrongful death, involve negligence. To prove that a medical professional or hospital was negligent, you will need to demonstrate 4 elements:
- That the hospital or doctor owed a duty of care to the patient;
- That the hospital or doctor breached that duty;
- That the breach caused your loved one’s death;
- That you suffered damages or a loss as a result.
Under New York law, doctors owe patients a duty to use reasonable care and his or her best judgment. In addition, doctors and hospitals must provide the accepted level of care that a reasonable doctor or hospital would give under similar circumstances. To prove that the doctor or hospital breached its duty, your Long Island wrongful death attorney will request medical records and other evidence.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, family members may be entitled to a range of damages, including medical bills, funeral costs, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and the future income contribution to the family that the patient would have made. In cases where the doctor or hospital was grossly negligent, the family may be entitled to punitive damages, which are meant to both punish the wrongdoer and prevent further conduct of a similar kind.
There is no cap on damages in a wrongful death case in New York. However, New York does permit an award to be reduced based on comparative fault. If the patient were partially at fault for his death, then a judgment could be reduced by the percentage that he or she was at fault.
Proving a wrongful death case for medical malpractice in New York can be complicated. This is especially true when it comes to showing that a doctor or hospital breached its duty of care and proving damages. In these cases, working with an experienced Long Island wrongful death attorney can help families as they seek justice.
How a Long Island Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help
While no amount of money will bring your loved one back, a legal claim against the parties responsible can bring financial security and give you peace of mind in knowing that you have held the wrongdoers accountable. Winkler Kurtz, LLP understands that filing a lawsuit is not an easy decision. We are here to help.
Since 1987, we have worked with families who have lost loved ones to medical malpractice. We will advocate for your best interests, and help you get the money — and answers — and you deserve. Call us today at 631-928-8000 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with an experienced Long Island wrongful death attorney.