Medical Malpractice By The Numbers

Research done by Johns Hopkins Medicine states that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. More and more Americans are dying from medical mistakes on a yearly basis. John Hopkins research further states that over 250,000 Americans die from medical errors each year. The ranking falls behind heart disease and cancer.

Medical Errors

According to the Civil Justice Resource Group, 65,000 to 200,000 deaths occur because of medical accidents per hospital records. The accidents took place because of communication breakdown each time hospitals transfer patients to other departments. In most instances, patients do not die from the diagnosis of a disease but the care the hospital gives them.

Sometimes doctors review the wrong chart and prescribe a faulty medicine for patients. When something goes wrong,hospitals and physicians are responsible. Based on the law, the victim, the family, and their attorney have to show proof of negligence by the doctor or medical facility.

The medical malpractice attorney has to document misconduct to prove negligence. Moreover, a medical expert will have to go over the patient's record to prove that the doctor or hospital was careless. Furthermore, the expert will examine detailed information in the report such as treatment plan, prescriptions, and how the error occurred.

Injuries and Deaths

The family is within their rights to file a medical malpractice suit against the health care provider if a patient dies as a result of an injury while under medical care. The unexpected death of a loved one causes shock and sadness and makes it impossible for anyone to think straight. Family members are within their rights to file a wrongful death claim.

• Law and Wrongful Death Claim

The law states under a wrongful death claim, the victim's family is within their rights to make legal arguments to support their claims. One case says the patient died as a result of a mistake that the care provider could have prevented. Another argument is that the victim and his or her relatives were close.

A third case family members can use is that the family has suffered a financial loss because of the victim's death. A fourth argument states the family can seek compensation from the doctor or medical establishment responsible for the medical error that caused the death of the victim.

The family is suing for damages caused to them due to a loved one's passing. Examples of damages include loss of love and emotional support, financial help, and intimacy and companionship. Other Examples of damages include financial costs for medical care, funeral expenses, and for pain and suffering. The attorney will go over the statutes based on the state in which the family lives.

• Lawful Actions of the Survivor

The deceased family can file a survivor claim. They can use arguments suggesting that the patient died because the caretaker could have taken steps to prevent the death of their loved one. Another legal case the family can use is the family underwent pain and suffering before the patient's death.

A third case that family members can use is the patient would have sued the doctor or the hospital to recoup compensation for suffering had he or she survived. A fourth argument would be the doctor or hospital should not escape punishment because the patient passed away. One more legal argument the family can use is that the medical establishment should compensate the deceased victim's estate.


When a loved one is hospitalized and succumbs to injuries due to negligence, it causes distress on family members. People are distraught and do not know what to do. The best advice is to speak with an experienced malpractice attorney. They are familiar with the statutes for each state and can help the family compile the necessary documents that they need to add closure to their loss. 

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T.J. Smith, Attorney at Law
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