Wrongful Death Claims Against Health Care Providers
Our Lawyers Represent Families in Wrongful Death Claims Against Nursing Homes, Hospitals and Other Health Care Providers
When you seek care for yourself or a loved one, you put a great deal of trust in people you don’t know. This is out of necessity—we rely on nursing homes, hospitals, and other health care facilities to provide professional care based on knowledge gained from decades of education and practical experience.
Unfortunately, too often, our trust proves to be misplaced. Health care providers routinely make mistakes that cause harm to their patients; and, in far too many cases, these mistakes lead to death.
If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, we offer our sincere condolences. We also want you to know that your family has clear legal rights under Florida law. The law holds health care providers to certain standards; and, when providers fail to meet these standards, they can be held liable through claims for wrongful death.
Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claims
Deaths in nursing homes can result from a variety of different factors. These factors range from medication errors and other forms of negligence to intentional neglect and abuse.
In the nursing home setting, negligence can take many different forms. Administrative staff, nurses, and other caregivers all play a role in meeting residents’ needs. From recordkeeping issues to failure to provide necessary support and assistance, virtually all forms of negligence have the potential for life-altering or life-threatening consequences when residents rely on their facilities to meet their basic needs.
While most premature deaths in nursing homes are the result of negligence, abuse in the nursing home setting is alarmingly common. In one recent study, nearly two-thirds (64.2 percent) of nursing home staff members surveyed admitted to committing some form of elder abuse.
Elder abuse in nursing homes can have severe physical and psychological consequences; and, in the worst cases, it can lead to death. If you have witnessed, or if you simply have concerns about, any of the following, our lawyers can investigate to determine if your loved one’s death was the result of neglect or abuse:
- Bedsores or other preventable injuries
- Evidence of the use of physical restraints
- Fear or anxiety around nursing home staff
- Missing medications or incorrect medications
- Poor living conditions
- Unexplained weight loss
- Emotional withdrawal
In many cases, nursing homes faced with wrongful death claims will defend against these claims by claiming that it was simply the resident’s time to go. When faced with this type of defense, it may be necessary to prove that the nursing home’s negligence or abuse shortened your loved one’s life expectancy. There are several ways to prove that substandard care or intentional harm led to a shortened life expectancy, and our lawyers are experienced in pursuing these types of claims on behalf of grieving families.
Medication Error Wrongful Death Claims
Medication errors are among the most common medical errors in nursing homes, hospitals, and other facilities. Pharmacies frequently make mistakes when dispensing medications to patients as well. Similar to nursing home negligence and abuse, when medication errors lead to patients’ untimely deaths, eligible family members can pursue claims for financial recovery.
This is true for all types of medication errors. At Searcy Denney, our lawyers handle wrongful death claims against health care providers involving medication errors such as:
- Administering the wrong medication (i.e., pulling the incorrect medication from an electronic storage cabinet)
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Prescribing the wrong dosage of a medication
- Prescribing or administering a medication that has been recalled
- Overdosing a resident or patient
- Underdosing a resident or patient
- Improperly filling patients’ prescriptions (i.e., with the wrong medication or wrong dosage)
- Failing to consider contraindications for a particular medication
From mixing up patients’ medications to not devoting sufficient time to medication-related tasks, various issues can lead to fatal medication errors. But, while there are a variety of excuses for these mistakes, there are few—if any—justifications. When mistakes have the potential for fatal consequences, they must be avoided. When individual health care providers and health care institutions fail to do what is necessary, they (and their insurance companies) can be held financially accountable under Florida law.
Proving a medication error requires evidence of the specific drug and dosage prescribed, administered or dispensed. In many cases, expert medical testimony will also be necessary to prove that the patient’s provider should have avoided the mistake that led to the patient’s death. Our lawyers are experienced in handling these types of cases, and we work with doctors across Florida who are experts in proper medication practices.
Wrongful Death Claims Involving Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice isn’t just a problem. It is one of the biggest problems in our health care system. According to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. This includes all forms of medical malpractice, from diagnostic and triage errors to medical errors and surgical mistakes.
We handle wrongful death claims involving all forms of medical malpractice. We handle cases against all types of doctors and all types of medical facilities. While medical malpractice is more common in some disciplines than others, the data show that all forms of care can potentially present fatal risks for patients.
Based on a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the disciplines with the highest rates of successful medical malpractice claims (from most to least) are:
- General surgery
- Orthopedic surgery
- Thoracic-cardiovascular surgery
- Obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN)
- Plastic surgery
Other disciplines with relatively high medical malpractice claim rates include:
- Diagnostic radiology
- Emergency medicine
- Internal medicine
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation at Searcy Denney
If you have lost a loved one under circumstances in which you believe that a nursing home, hospital, or other health care provider may be responsible, we strongly encourage you to speak with a lawyer about your family’s legal rights. To schedule a free initial consultation at Searcy Denney, please call 800-780-8607 or request an appointment online today.