Pursuing A Wrongful Death Claim Against A Doctor
If someone you love died while in a doctor's care, you may be wondering what the legal options are for addressing the situation. You'll likely want to discuss the case with someone who works as both a medical malpractice and wrongful death attorney. Beyond retaining counsel, though, there are a few other things you can do before you file a claim or pursue a lawsuit.
Assess Your Legal Standing
In wrongful death cases, the limits on who can sue are pretty tight. Generally, the plaintiff must be someone with a very close relationship with the deceased. Spouses always have standing to pursue wrongful death claims. Similarly, most dependent children may have standing, as do parents of dependent children who died.
Exceptions Regarding Legal Standing
Once you get beyond those groups, the odds a person has to sue drop dramatically. Siblings almost never get to pursue these kinds of claims. Similarly, parents of adult non-dependents usually don't. About the only group with a fighting chance are minors with loco parentis relationships to caregivers.
People will sometimes ask a wrongful death attorney if the loss of, for example, a critical business partner can be compensated. The answer is almost universally, "No." If a business partner was essential to an operation, the court's view is that the company should have purchased a life insurance policy.
Collect All the Available Records
Once legal standing has been established, the bulk of the job is fundamentally the work of a medical malpractice attorney. If you want to make a lawyer's life easier, the best thing you can do is to try to collect all the available medical records regarding the case. Attempt to bring some order to them, such as organizing them into folders from different dates.
Unless the death happened suddenly, such as in an emergency room, expect there to be a lot of paperwork. Folks getting treatment in advance of surgery, for example, usually bring home a ton of documents about the medications they were given and the treatment plans. Purchase several accordion-style folders with solid plastic cases to help you organize things. Make copies of everything you collect, too.
Look at Financial Figures
Many wrongful death judgments include awards for lost earning capacity. You'll want to detail your claim in a structured manner using recent payslips and the last couple of years of tax returns for the deceased. Document the relationship, too, using birth records and marriage certificates.
Reach out to a company like Labine Law Firm today for more information.