Every year hundreds of thousands of people die because of medical mistakes. Depending on which study you read, anywhere between 250,000 and 440,000 people die every year due to an error made by a health care provider. Many of these wrongful deaths occur in New York City hospitals during both inpatient and outpatient treatments.
Some of these cases will go to trial, but many more wrongful death claims against hospitals are settled out of court before a trial commences.
At our law firm, we understand the pain and agony people experience when they lose a loved one, especially when the death could have been prevented. The loss victims suffer is immeasurable and we believe victims should have a voice for the wrongs they’ve suffered.
At Raphaelson & Levine, our sympathetic lawyers are here to guide New York families through this very difficult time. To learn more about legal options after this kind of a tragedy occurs, contact the wrongful death attorneys at Raphaelson & Levine at 212-268-3222.
When a loved one dies due to the negligence of a health care provider, the family of the victim can legally pursue justice for their loss. In the State of New York, the law requires proof of five elements to establish a wrongful death claim.
Unfortunately, medical mistakes are more common than they should be. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer in the United States.
Medical mistakes are often attributed to inadequately skilled or trained staff, understaffed facilities, caregiver judgment errors, mistakes made during the course of treatment (incorrect dose, wrong medication, undiagnosed surgical complications, anesthesia mistakes, or other grave errors), or a system problem in a software program, hardware failure, or another type of system defect.
Under New York State law, survivors of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit against a hospital, however, the person filing must be the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This individual can file on behalf of the person’s surviving family members or beneficiaries who are eligible to recover compensatory damages, but family members cannot file a claim themselves.
Beneficiaries can only recover economic losses they suffer as a result of the hospital’s negligence or reckless behavior. New York State law doesn’t permit families and other loved ones to recover losses due to pain and suffering in this type of circumstance.
A wrongful death claim against a hospital can include sought justice for lost earnings and benefits, loss of support, medical bills and other expenses, loss of inheritance, and funeral and burial costs. While emotional suffering is not allowed under NYS law, a claim can place a value on the loss of parental guidance, parental nurturing, and care to surviving children.
Usually, if damages are awarded in a hospital wrongful death lawsuit, the monies are distributed to the decedent’s spouse and children. In some cases, others who might have been financially dependent on the decedent for support (i.e. parents or adult children) can be eligible for recovery. In some instances, a court of law will impose punitive damages on a hospital as a punishment for its negligence that resulted in tragedy.
New York State law does dictate the family members and/or personal representative must file within two years of the date of their loved one’s date of death since there is a two-year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Any cases filed beyond this time limit will not be allowed.
Like many other personal injury claims, wrongful death cases can be settled out of court. Many hospitals can and do settle cases related to medical malpractice before ever stepping foot into a courtroom. Statistics shared by the American Judges Association tell us 84% of pending tort cases settle in the pre-trial period. This would include those claims brought against hospitals.
People who have suffered the loss of a person they care about due to a hospital’s carelessness should speak to an experienced attorney who can evaluate their options. The best option may be to avoid a court trial and seek a wrongful death action settlement instead. Many survivors prefer to settle out of court for different reasons.
A wrongful death attorney is skilled at negotiation and generally knows when hospitals will make lower offers and can determine if the case should go to trial. Victims who turn to attorneys for legal advice will find their legal representation are able to negotiate better offers than the first or even second offers.
Since 1992, the dedicated attorneys at the Raphaelson & Levine law firm have worked to ensure victims of hospital negligence have the best possible chances of success. Money can never replace the loss of a cherished family member but a wrongful death lawsuit means the family can receive justice and closure. It also makes facilities and providers held accountable for their negligence, and this can save future lives.
We understand losing a loved one is a painful experience and our lawyers will handle your case with the utmost sensitivity. Our law office serves all five New York City boroughs, Long Island, Rockland County, Westchester County, and surrounding counties and cities.
To obtain a free consultation, call our law office at 212-268-3222.