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Wrongful Death Vs. Medical Malpractice

A criminal or civil legal action can be filed after the wrongful death of a person or medical malpractice. The facts of each situation and the suffered injuries will influence the applicable type of legal remedy. The terms “wrongful death” and “medical malpractice” are often confused and used interchangeably at times, but there are distinctions between the two.

Both medical malpractice and wrongful death involve an element of negligence but medical malpractices do not always involve death but wrongful deaths must involve loss of life. Also, all wrongful deaths are not medical malpractices. Despite that primary distinction, the two are always interconnected. If you’re a victim of medical malpractice or your kin experienced a wrongful death, you should contact an Alaska accident attorney for legal help.


In medical malpractices that involve loss of life, the bereaved or estate representatives can pursue justice for the wrongful death of their loved one to recover financial awards for their loss. Essentially, all wrongful death are not medical malpractice, although some medical malpractice can result in wrongful deaths. A lawyer could help you pursue legal action involving wrongful death if a medic’s negligence caused the death of your loved one.

Also read, Breach of Contract–An Overview

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death cases are filed by the bereaved or personal representative of the estate of the deceased whose death resulted from the negligence of another party. The following events can trigger wrongful death lawsuits if they cause loss of life:

  • Auto accidents;
  • Intentional homicide;
  • Police brutality;
  • Workplace accidents;
  • Medical malpractice;

The burden of proof lies with the plaintiff in civil cases and is not as intense as in criminal lawsuits where “beyond a reasonable doubt” is required to sustain a criminal trial and a likely conviction. For that reason, wrongful death lawsuits can succeed even if the accused doesn’t admit guilt or takes a not-guilty plea.

The bereaved can resort to filing a wrongful death civil lawsuit when an accused isn’t indicted for a death they are believed to have caused. For example, a recent case pitying an 18-year-old against the police was resolved recently and the parents were awarded $1.5 million. The bereaved filed a wrongful death claim after the state refused to prosecute the issue.

Also, read Aviation Product Liability and Aviation Crime

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice refers to any negligent act by a medical professional, resulting in a poor standard of medical care and exposing a patient to injuries, or death– in extreme cases. Common medical malpractices are:

  • Misdiagnosis of an ailment or disease;
  • Administering wrong medication and anesthesia;
  • Surgical mistakes, such as leaving surgical instruments in the body of a patient;
  • Bedsores;
  • Medical mistakes during childbirth, injuring a child.

Plaintiffs can file a claim under medical malpractice and wrongful death for one medical malpractice that resulted in death, although most jurisdictions “cap” the recoverable damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Damages in Personal Injury Claims

Both medical malpractices and wrongful deaths can be resolved under personal injury and the recoverable awards can include:

Awards for Bodily Injury

The defendant should compensate the plaintiff in successful personal injury claims, according to personal injury law– but what are the specific recoverable damages in personal injury claims?

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses, all expenses associated with your injuries should be included in your claim. Compensation for medical expenses is the primary focus in most personal injury claims. A personal injury lawyer can help you draft a comprehensive claim.

Lost Wages

The recovery process can be longer than expected and you’ll be losing income during this period. Your claim should factor in that loss and the award for the loss must reflect what you should have earned during the recovery period. It should be noted that some states cap the maximum award for lost wages but a personal injury or accident lawyer can help you draft a realistic claim.

Lawyer’s Fees

Most personal injury lawyers will not demand an upfront charge thanks to market competition. The lawyers evaluate their clients’ cases freely and only ask for payment after representing them successfully. In other words, the lawyer will charge you after providing positive results. The good thing is that the lawyer’s fee is not an out-of-pocket expense since it forms part of the claim.

Awards for Property Loss

Awards for property damages help the plaintiff recover or repair damaged personal property. Plaintiffs must furnish the court with supporting documents for money spent on repairing their damaged properties to prove that the property in question was damaged in that accident. The supporting documents are used to verify the following:

The location, name, and address of the garage where the car was repaired.

Car repair cost estimates;

Car repair quotations;

Certified invoices by the service provider.

Medical malpractice can result in loss of life but not always, wrongful deaths are caused by different types of accidents, such as toxic exposure, workplace accidents, among others.

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