What is the Difference Between Wrongful Death and Medical Malpractice?

The difference between medical malpractice and wrongful death can be confusing. But if someone you love was seriously injured or died as a result of medical malpractice, it is important that you understand the difference between these two types of claims.

Lawsuits involving claims of wrongful death and medical malpractice are both notoriously complicated. You should not attempt to file either type of these cases without assistance from a highly experienced personal injury lawyer who has litigated claims of medical malpractice and wrongful death. At Robenalt Law, our lawyers have decades of experience handling these claims and a proven track record of success. Tom Robenalt began his career defending doctors and hospitals against wrongful death and medical malpractice claims. For the last 25 years, he has used that experience to help medical malpractice victims fight for the compensation they deserve.

Medical Malpractice or Wrongful Death

There is considerable overlap between claims of medical malpractice and wrongful death. However, not every wrongful death claim arises from medical malpractice, and not every medical malpractice claim gives rise to a claim for wrongful death.

Wrongful death occurs when someone’s negligence or carelessness results in the death of another person. A wrongful death claim can arise out of many different kinds of negligence. Medical malpractice is a specific type of negligence that can give rise to a wrongful death claim. But a claim for wrongful death can also arise because of injuries caused by a dangerous or defective product, after a car accident, or any situation in which someone’s negligence or carelessness caused someone else’s death.

Medical malpractice is a type of negligence claim that can be filed against doctors, nurses, and other medical providers. Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide a patient with reasonable care, and an injury results. Doctors, nurses, surgeons, members of a surgical team, and other healthcare providers can all be liable for medical malpractice if their conduct fell below the acceptable standard of care and someone was injured as a result.

When Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death Intersect

Two different claims arise when someone dies as a result of medical malpractice.

Medical Malpractice Claim

The victim can file a claim for medical malpractice to recover financial compensation for the injuries and damages they suffered due to a medical provider’s negligence. Even though the victim died, the claim for medical negligence “survives” them. Therefore, a claim for medical malpractice is often referred to as a survival claim when it is accompanied by a claim for wrongful death.

The victim’s family is entitled to recover compensation from the time their loved one was injured until the moment of their death. The victim’s family can seek compensation for the pain and suffering their loved one experienced and the medical bills they incurred due to the medical provider’s negligence.

Wrongful Death Claim

The deceased person’s estate can seek compensation for wrongful death. The wrongful death claim is brought by the deceased person’s personal representative and is filed to compensate the family of the deceased person for their losses.

In cases where medical malpractice caused the victim’s death, the lawsuit will include a claim for medical negligence and a separate claim for wrongful death.

Different Statutes of Limitation for Wrongful Death and Medical Malpractice

The statute of limitations is the law that sets the amount of time you have to file your lawsuit in court. If you do not file your lawsuit within the applicable time limit, your claim will be dismissed as being untimely filed.

In Ohio, claims for wrongful death are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. This means you have two years from the date your loved one died in which to file a lawsuit.

However, claims for medical malpractice are subject to a one-year statute of limitations. This is the shortest statute of limitations in Ohio and one of the shortest statutes of limitations in the country.

Unfortunately, because claims for medical malpractice and wrongful death often overlap, it is easy to be confused about how much time you have to file your lawsuit.

Robenalt Law Fights for Victims of Medical Malpractice

If someone you love died and you suspect they were the victim of medical malpractice, don’t wait. Act quickly to contact the experienced medical malpractice and wrongful death lawyers at Robenalt Law. The initial consultation is free, and we handle most medical malpractice and wrongful death claims on a contingency fee, which means you won’t pay us unless we recover money for you.

We would much prefer that you contact us as soon as possible to discuss a potential medical malpractice or wrongful death claim. We will not think that you are wasting our time, and we would much rather that you discuss your claim while you still have time to act rather than learn too late that you had a claim for medical malpractice or wrongful death that you cannot file because too much time has passed.

To learn more about how we help victims of medical malpractice and their families, read testimonials from other people we’ve helped, then contact us today to schedule a no-cost consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help. Our lawyers are available to meet with you to answer your questions.

Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing doctors and hospitals at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured by negligent healthcare providers.