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Lawsuit for Medical Malpractice Resulting in Wrongful Death

Wrongful death stemming from medical malpractice is a serious problem. The Health and Medicine Division (HMD) of the of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimates that 225,000 Americans die each year due to medical negligence, and another 1.5 million are injured. Medical malpractice, or medical negligence, occurs when a healthcare professional fails to exercise proper care, causing harm to the patient. If the lack of care is severe enough, it may result in the patient's death. Georgia, like most U.S. states, allows a patient's family or the executor of the patient's estate to bring a wrongful death suit if the patient dies due to medical malpractice.

We at Grant Law Office know that there is no justification for a wrongful death, especially one caused by medical malpractice. If you have lost someone you loved due to a negligent doctor or hospital, then you deserve compensation. To speak with a passionate and dedicated medical malpractice attorney, call (866) 249-5513 today. We are waiting to help.

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Surgeon Errors

Surgical errors cause a large number of Georgia medical-malpractice-related deaths every year. Surgical teams are trained not to make errors like leaving surgical tools or sponges inside a patient, but sometimes, that training is not enough to prevent surgeons and nurses from making a fatal mistake. There is no excuse for a surgeon to leave objects in a patient, operate on the wrong area of the patient, or fail to disinfect the operating room and tools, causing infection in the surgery sites. Sadly, many surgeons don’t bother to double-check their work, leading to serious internal damage. This lack of care during surgery can result in internal bleeding or organ damage that can cost the patient his or her life.

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Hospital Malpractice

Physicians aren't the only healthcare professionals who may be guilty of medical negligence. Hospitals have a duty to maintain a sterile environment to keep the risk of infection as low as possible. Unfortunately, the widespread use of antibiotics and anti-bacterial cleaners means that hospitals may harbor "superbugs," disease-causing bacteria that are resistant to treatment. If hospitals do not protect patients from catching one or more of these pathogens, the patient may contract a serious illness and possibly die.

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Nursing Negligence

Nursing malpractice can also have potentially deadly consequences. In both hospitals and physicians' offices, nurses are responsible for administering medications, assembling sterile tools and equipment for procedures, taking patients’ vital signs, and assessing their overall condition. If a nurse administers the wrong medication, fails to notice a symptom, or does not adequately communicate with the rest of the healthcare team, the patient can suffer serious consequences.

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Misdiagnosis and Failure to Diagnose

The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) estimates that 90% of medical malpractice cases filed every year are for wrongful death. Nearly half of those wrongful death cases are the result of a physician failing to diagnose or misdiagnosing an illness or injury. For instance, if a doctor fails to detect and start treating cancer in a patient, and when cancer is discovered it’s too late to treat, that physician can be sued for wrongful death. Likewise, if a doctor diagnoses and treats a patient for indigestion when he’s actually suffering a heart attack, it would be considered malpractice.

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Medication Errors

A medication error may sound like a small slip-up; however, this kind of medical malpractice can easily turn deadly. There are many different forms of medication errors, such as administering the wrong drug, giving the wrong dose, or even giving a medication that the patient is allergic to. Any one of these can lead to death.

For example, there are many medicines that are helpful in a small dose, but deadly in a large one. Even mild painkillers, such as aspirin, could cause an overdose if too much is given at once. On the other hand, giving the wrong medication could cause a patient to die of the disease that the doctor was supposed to be treating. A rapidly spreading cancer will need to be treated properly, so if the wrong medication is given, the patient could end up in critical condition before the mistake is caught. Whatever the exact medication error is, there is no excuse in a hospital setting.

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Maternal Death

Maternal death is when a mother dies during childbirth, or shortly thereafter. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that infant mortality is at its lowest rate in U.S. history, the rate of maternal death continues to rise. In 2015, the maternal mortality rate in America was calculated to be 26.4%, or two or three deaths each day. That’s three times higher than in Britain or Canada, and six times higher than in the Scandinavian countries. What’s truly sad is that an estimated 60% of these deaths could have been prevented. Common causes of maternal death include cardiomyopathy and other heart issues, blood clots, massive hemorrhaging, infections, and preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure).

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Filing a Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia

When Georgia medical malpractice causes the death of a loved one, the family needlessly suffers a devastating and untimely loss. Surviving family members also have unanswered questions, such as "What would have happened if the doctor had made the right diagnosis sooner? What if the surgery team had been paying attention? What if the nurse had stopped to double-check the name or dose of the medication before giving it? Would our loved one still be alive today?" In cases of malpractice, had proper care been rendered, death would not have occurred.

A wrongful death suit is one way the family of the deceased can cope with their loss and feel a sense of justice, as well as secure their future. With the help of an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice wrongful death attorney, the loved ones of the deceased may receive compensation for the following damages:

  • Full value of life damages – This includes lost economic damages (some of which are set forth below) and non-economic damages. Non-economic damages represent the intangible aspects of the decedent’s life and include lost enjoyment of life. This would include missed experiences such as a mother watching her children become adults or get married. Enjoyment of life damage is always individual-specific.
  • Funeral and burial expenses.
  • Medical bills.
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased before death.
  • Loss of future income.
  • Loss of future benefits, such as medical benefits and retirement benefits
  • Loss of household services the deceased performed, such as childcare, property maintenance, bookkeeping, etc.
  • Punitive damages.

Every family that loses a loved one due to medical malpractice deserves to get compensation from the responsible parties. However, only certain family members are allowed to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia.

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Wrongful Death Eligibility

Wrongful death claims are meant to make sure that family members do not have to carry excessive financial burdens following the sudden loss of a loved one. As these deaths should not have happened in the first place, a claim allows a family to receive compensation from the one at fault. In Georgia, you may be eligible to file for wrongful death if you are the deceased’s:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent or sibling, if there is no spouse or children
  • Personal representative

If you are not in one of these groups, then chances are you are not legally able to file a wrongful death claim. It is important to note that the spouse of the deceased always has the first right to file a claim, and must never receive any less than one-third of the settlement amount, no matter how many children the deceased may have.

That being said, no matter who you are to the deceased, you do have a clock ticking when it comes to filing a claim. For wrongful death claims, there is a two-year statute of limitations. You have just two years from the date of death to start the claims process. If you wait any longer than that, then your right to compensation will be forfeit, and you will no longer be able to file a claim.

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Offering Legal Help to Families in Need

Losing a family member to medical malpractice can be devastating. You brought your loved one to a medical professional, and trusted that professional to make your family member healthy again. Instead, you lost that family member forever. We understand that feeling of betrayal, and we understand your pain. That is why we at Grant Law Office in Atlanta work hard to make sure families in your position get the representation they need. To find out more about your legal rights and options in filing a wrongful death claim, contact our team at (866) 249-5513 for a free consultation.

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Medical Malpractice Death Recent Verdicts and Settlements

  • $1.25 Million - Failure to respond to medical emergency in intensive care unit.
  • Confidential Settlement - 16-year-old child was treated by a psychiatrist with prescriptions resulting in respiratory arrest and death.
  • $1.8 Million - Failure to timely treat sepsis.
  • $2.5 Million - In-hospital pain medication overdose and failure to monitor resulting in patient death.

Click here for more verdicts and settlements.

Additional Information

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What you need to know about the 2-year statute of limitation law

Worried that the 2-year statute of limitations is rapidly approaching on your serious injury or medical malpractice case? Contact us and we can talk to you about the Judicial Emergency declared by the Supreme Court of Georgia and how it affects the statute of limitations for your case (in a good way.) Please call or email us through our web contact form and we would be happy to discuss your case.

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Georgia Medical Malpractice Death Lawyer Disclaimer: The legal information offered herein by Grant Law Office, is not formal legal advice, nor is it the formation of an attorney client relationship. In order for our firm to be considered your attorney there must be a signed agreement between the client and the firm. Any results set forth herein are based solely upon the circumstances of that particular case and offer no promise or guarantee on the outcome of any other case. Please contact an attorney for a consultation.

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*Wayne Grant has been practicing law since 1979. Grant Law Office was founded in 2000.