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Is There a Difference Between a Wrongful Death and Med Mal Claim?

While wrongful death and medical malpractice claims sometimes overlap, they are not the same and these claims have significant differences.

Any time a person dies as a result of medical negligence, it is a case of wrongful death. However, not all wrongful death cases are considered medical malpractice. For example, if a person dies in a car accident caused by another person’s negligence, it is a wrongful death claim but not a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice also does not always result in death. When a patient becomes injured or an illness progresses due to medical negligence, but the patient survives, it is a case of medical malpractice and not wrongful death.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical practitioners are expected to provide their patients with the highest standard of care. When doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals make a mistake or otherwise act negligently, it can lead to a case of medical malpractice. It is important to note that an unsuccessful medical result is not always a case of malpractice.

For example, a doctor may attempt one course of treatment for a specific disease. That treatment may be considered reasonable and acceptable within the medical community. If it does not work, the doctor may try another course of treatment. This is not medical malpractice because doctors sometimes have to use a trial-and-error approach when treating a patient. However, if a doctor acted unreasonably and failed to diagnose a condition properly or did not review the patient’s full medical history as they are expected to, that could be a case of medical malpractice.

In the most severe cases, medical malpractice may result in a wrongful death, but that is not always the case. When a patient survives the negligent act, they must file a medical malpractice claim and not a wrongful death claim.

What is Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death occurs any time another person’s negligence or carelessness results in the death of another person. While medical malpractice can result in a death, other accidents can, as well. Car accidents are some of the most common causes of wrongful death in Murrieta that do not involve medical malpractice.

It is Important to Know the Difference Between Wrongful Death and Med Mal

It is essential that anyone that has lost a loved one or been hurt by medical malpractice knows the difference between the two types of claims. While wrongful death and medical malpractice both fall under the category of personal injury law, they are each governed by different rules.

For example, individuals that have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person usually have only two years from the date of the death to file their claim, sometimes less. On the other hand, when a person is injured due to medical malpractice, they may have one or three years from the date of the malpractice to file their claim depending on the circumstances. When the appropriate claim is not filed within this time, individuals and their loved ones will likely forfeit their chance of recovering any compensation.

Call Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Murrieta Today

Personal injury law is complex and filing a claim requires an in-depth knowledge of the law. If you have been hurt by medical malpractice, or you have lost a loved one, our Murrieta personal injury lawyers at Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP, can assist with your case and give you the best chance of recovering the full damages you deserve. Call us today at (951) 397-0373 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.