Medical Malpractice vs. Wrongful Death

Whether you’ve been injured by the actions of a medical professional or lost a loved one for the same reason, tort law provides you with several potential claims. In order to recover for the damages you’ve suffered, you may bring a claim against the doctor responsible—but which type of claim to bring depends on the circumstances of your case. So, what is the difference between medical malpractice and wrongful death?

Medical Malpractice

Generally, medical malpractice happens when a doctor or medical professional fails to perform their job according to the standard of care. Through their negligent actions — or failure to act — the doctor or medical professional causes injury to the patient, sometimes resulting in significant losses and damages.

To succeed on a claim for medical malpractice, the patient or, if the patient tragically died as a result of the medical malpractice injuries, their surviving loved ones or estate — must prove both liability and damages. This means proving that the actions of the medical professional proximatelycaused the patient’s injuries, as well as that the patient suffered damages as a result. Many different types of damages can apply in a medical malpractice claim, from the costs of additional medical treatment to pain and suffering to lost wages as a result of the patient being unable to work.

Types of Medical Malpractice Cases

Malpractice can happen under many different circumstances, and it may be committed by a doctor, other medical professional or hospital employee, or even the hospital itself. Some examples that lead to medical malpractice cases include the following:

  • Diagnosis errors, such as misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose a condition
  • Medication errors, such as prescribing or administering the wrong medication or wrong dose, or even failing to prescribe a needed medication
  • Surgical injuries, such as damage to internal organs, operating on the wrong part of the body or leaving an object inside the body
  • Neglect or failure to properly care for the patient during a hospital or medical stay
  • Anesthesia mistakes, such as administering the wrong dose during a procedure;
  • Prescribing or undertaking incorrect or unnecessary medical treatment
  • The denial of necessary treatment that causes the patient increased pain or deterioration
  • Failure to obtain informed consent or failure to disclose important information to the patient

Wrongful Death

A wrongful death lawsuit involves a claim by surviving family members against the party whose negligence led to the death of a loved one. Each state has its own definition of what constitutes wrongful death. In Texas, the law notes that a wrongful death is one caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of another person.

Texas allows wrongful death claims to be brought by a surviving spouse, surviving minor or adult children, surviving parents, or the executor of the estate. Generally, to succeed on a wrongful death claim, you will need to prove that someone else breached a legal duty to the victim, and that as a result of injuries incurred, the victim died.

Whether to bring a claim for wrongful death versus medical malpractice will largely depend upon the unique facts of your case. If medical malpractice by a doctor or other professional has led to the untimely and tragic death of your loved one, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim. As an example, if a doctor prescribes or administers the wrong dosage of medication, and your loved one suffers an untimely death because of it, you may have a valid claim for wrongful death.

Types of Wrongful Death Cases

There are many different tort actions that can give rise to wrongful death claims. For example, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim in the following circumstances:

  • Motor vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accidents
  • Defective product or unsafe merchandise accidents
  • Medical malpractice, including death due to misdiagnosis, surgical or medication mistakes, improper or delayed treatment, or negligence by a hospital employee or other medical professional
  • Workplace accidents
  • Birth-related injuries

How Can Johnson Garcia Help with Your Wrongful Death Claim?

If your claim involves wrongful death resulting from negligence, a complicated lawsuit can result, requiring the careful preparation of claims and extensive investigation of the facts. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help with the process of bringing the proper claim against the person whose negligence has harmed you or your loved one.

We have over 30 years of combined personal injury experience, giving us a keen understanding of the accident settlement process, and we’re well-equipped to handle even the most complicated cases, including wrongful death claims. We are so committed to our client’s success that we won’t take payment unless you win. Contact us today or give us a call at 832-400-6130 to schedule a completely free consultation.