Montana residents, like people across the country, trust their doctor(s) to do what is best for them. They believe that while doctors cannot prevent accidents and injuries resulting in a hospital stay, they can and will treat their patients appropriately and the patients will leave the hospital in a much better condition than when they entered it. Such beliefs and trust are understandable, but unfortunately, they are not always warranted.
As reported in The Washington Post, medical errors have become the third leading cause of U.S. deaths. They may account for as many as 251,000 deaths every year, more than strokes, accidents, respiratory diseases and Alzheimer’s combined.
Bsfdea.com explains that when patients die as a result of medical errors, their family and/or beneficiaries can file a wrongful death action. This is a civil suit seeking financial compensation for such things as the following:
- Loss of the decedent’s financial support
- Loss of the decedent’s love, companionship and emotional support
- The decedent’s pain and suffering before death
- The decedent’s funeral and burial expenses
For the suit to be successful, the plaintiff(s) generally need to prove the following four things:
- The decedent died as a result of a preventable medical error caused by the negligence of the defendant(s).
- The plaintiffs had a close relationship with the decedent.
- The plaintiffs have suffered and are suffering specific losses (damages) as a result of the decedent’s unexpected death and those losses are compensable.
- The defendant(s) owe such compensation to the plaintiffs to cover their damages associated with the decedent’s death.
While no amount of money can truly compensate the family and/or beneficiaries for their loss, a wrongful death award can help them cover the associated expenses. It also can provide them a sense of justice and closure.