Can You Sue a Hospital for Wrongful Death?


August 14, 2020 / Wrongful Death

If you’ve put your trust in a hospital and agree to have your loved one receive medical care there, it’s a horrible shock when they die unexpectedly. You believed you were taking them to a safe, responsible environment only to discover that they died needlessly because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness.

This could be a case of wrongful death, and your grieving family could be entitled to financial compensation. We know that no amount of money could ever replace your loved one, but a financial payout could help with medical bills, lost income that you relied on, and the opportunity to provide for family members in the future.

Indiana’s General Wrongful Death Act is found at Ind. Code 34-23-1. The statute reads, in part: “When the death of one is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another, the personal representative of the former may maintain an action therefore against the latter.” In Indiana, wrongful death is defined as when “the death of one is caused by the wrongful act or omission of another.”

Multiple entities can be sued for wrongful death, including a person (such as a doctor or nurse), an institution (such as a hospital), a corporation (such as a medical device company) and many others. Wrongful death claims range from simple accidents to complicated medical malpractice and product liability cases.

In many instances, you can sue a hospital for wrongful death if your family member died while being treated by hospital personnel and it was due to the negligence, carelessness, willful neglect or incompetence of one or more parties at the hospital. At Stephenson Rife, we have helped countless families get the justice they deserve by filing a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. We are aggressive and successful in these cases, having won substantial financial payouts for our clients. To learn more about how we can help you, call us at 317-680-2501 for a free initial consultation.

Who can sue a hospital for wrongful death?

In Indiana, a wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. This could be a family member or, in some cases, an attorney that the person named as his or her executor.

Damages can be awarded to the following:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Children
  • Other dependents
  • Parents (in the death of a child).

In the case of a child’s death, one or both parents must file a wrongful death claim. If multiple people are eligible to receive monetary damages, then a judge will decide how to divide the money between them.

It’s important to remember that a wrongful death claim is filed in civil court and is designed to recoup monetary damages only. A personal representative initiates these lawsuits. If homicide charges are filed because someone died at the hands of hospital personnel, these charges are filed in criminal court and are initiated by a government prosecutor. If successful, these charges can result in jail time for the guilty party.

If you’re asking yourself, “can you sue a hospital for wrongful death?”, then the answer can be complicated. An Indianapolis wrongful death lawyer can help you sort through the evidence and determine liability. Contact a skilled and experienced wrongful death attorney at Stephenson Rife at 317-680-2501. We are here to help.

How much money can you get if you sue a hospital for wrongful death?

Every case is different, so there is no average amount of money you can get if you sue a hospital for wrongful death. Generally, the more defendants there are (doctor, hospital, medical equipment manufacturer, etc.), the better your chances are of getting a payout from each of their insurance companies.

Indiana statute states that the damages you can recover include “reasonable medical, hospital, funeral and burial expenses and lost earnings of such deceased person resulting from said wrongful act or omission.” There is also the potential for damages covering the loss of consortium or companionship.

To review, here are the types of compensation in a wrongful death case:

  • Reasonable medical and hospital costs
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Lost wages and earnings potential
  • Costs for pursuing a wrongful death claim
  • The decedent’s pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages (in some cases).

What is the process after I hire a wrongful death attorney?

The most important decision you’ll make is hiring a skilled and aggressive wrongful death lawyer. Next, your attorney will guide you through the process of building a strong legal case. Your attorney will meet with you promptly to hear your side of the story. He will also gather evidence, review medical records, take witness statements, examine the hospital’s safety record, and even hire an expert witness if needed.

It’s important to remember that Indiana’s statute of limitations requires that a wrongful death claim be filed within two years of the date the death occurred. Therefore, it’s important not to delay in contacting an attorney if you believe you have a wrongful death claim.

Contact an Indianapolis wrongful death lawyer today

If your loved one has died tragically because of someone’s negligence after being treated at a hospital, you may be entitled to financial compensation. There’s nothing more horrific than trusting a hospital and its staff to care for your loved one only to have your family member die during or after receiving treatment. We know that you’re suffering if this happened to you, and the skilled and aggressive attorneys at Stephenson Rife may be able to help. Mounting medical bills, lost income, and funeral and burial costs are a tremendous burden. For decades we have represented clients in wrongful death cases, and we have a winning track record in securing financial payouts. To find out more about how we can help, call us at 317-680-2501 for a free initial consultation.

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