Wrongful Death Lawsuits Against Hospitals

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Losing a loved one is never easy. It can be even more excruciating when the death could have been prevented.

Sometimes, even a death in a hospital could have been prevented. Grieving family members may wonder if there is a way to hold the hospital accountable through a wrongful death claim.

In South Carolina, the answer may be yes. Here is what you need to know.

Can you bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a hospital?

Yes. You may bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a hospital. A hospital can be liable for wrongful death based on negligence or another wrongful act. They may owe the victim compensation.

(See Fields v. Regional Medical Center Orangeburg, 354 S.C. 445 (2003). The case alleged wrongful death and medical malpractice for failing to diagnose a heart attack.)

Wrongful death in a hospital, negligence, and medical malpractice

A wrongful death claim based on a hospital death may be based on negligence or other wrongful conduct, or it may specifically be based on medical malpractice. The two types of claims are slightly different. Damage caps may apply in medical malpractice claims.

There are many ways that a preventable death may occur in a hospital. Some of these involve inadequate medical care, like a wrong diagnosis or operating on the wrong body part. Other reasons have to do with the daily care that a person receives. For example, if a wet spot on the floor causes a fall, that may be ordinary negligence.

If your loved one dies because of a lack of reasonable care, either in general or specifically medically, you may have a claim. The victim’s personal representative must bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a hospital on behalf of beneficiaries (See Dickey v. Clark Nursing Home, unpublished opinion 2007-UP-098 (2007), dismissing a claim brought in an individual capacity rather than by a personal representative).

Succeeding in a Wrongful Death Claim Against the Hospital

When bringing a wrongful death claim against a hospital, there are several considerations necessary for success:

Expert witnesses

Expert witnesses are often used to evaluate the standard of care and the actions of the parties involved. In litigation, the parties may contest the use of these experts. Understanding when to use an expert and what procedural requirements must be followed is critical to success in a claim.

Statute of limitations

A three-year statute of limitations applies to wrongful death claims. If the claim is late, the merits are not considered. The time limit is two years if the defendant is a government agency, which is often the case in hospitals.

Naming the right parties

It may be a doctor, nurse, or medical assistant that is responsible for your loved one’s death. It may also be an employee who is not directly involved in medical care. There may be multiple organizations that these parties work for. It’s important to investigate all the people and entities involved in what happened. Naming the right parties in the claim can ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Proving all the elements

The plaintiff has the burden of proof. It’s important to be prepared to prove all the elements needed to win the case. This evidence can be gathered directly or by using the discovery process to receive information from the defendant.

Types of damages

You will only receive compensation for the damages that you claim. It’s important to understand what your damages are and what they may be worth. In a wrongful death claim, you can claim financial losses, loss of income, funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and more. Punitive damages may be available. Winning your case means proving liability and receiving the compensation you deserve.

Each wrongful death claim involving a hospital will have its own set of legal issues and challenges. The hospital will not volunteer information about what went wrong or admit its liability. To successfully bring a wrongful death claim against a hospital, you must understand and address these issues. An experienced lawyer can represent you and handle everything.

Greenville Lawyer for Wrongful Death Lawsuits Against Hospitals

A wrongful death lawsuit against a hospital is a special wrongful death claim. You must prove the facts of what happened, which may include detailed medical information. Bobby Jones is a skilled lawyer who wants you to receive the compensation you deserve. Our team answers all your questions and handles all the steps needed to make your claim successful.

We are sorry about the loss of your loved one. We want to help you get justice. Contact us today to talk about your case.

The team at Bobby Jones Law LLC works tirelessly for the injured in South Carolina. His achievements include:
  • More than $60 million collected for our clients
  • Multiple recoveries exceeding $1 million, including an eight-figure settlement
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America
  • Named among the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report
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  • Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Selected as Legal Elite of the Upstate 2021–2023
We’re humbled to be considered one of the top firms in the Upstate and invite you to learn what sets our award-winning legal services apart. Call or request a consultation online.
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