Understanding Hospital Wrongful Death Settlements


Even the best hospital staffed with the most competent healthcare professionals cannot save every patient. However, if your loved one passes away at a hospital because the care they received fell below a reasonable standard of care, you may have rights.

Surviving family members can file a wrongful death action against all parties whose carelessness contributed to their loved one’s untimely death. These claims can then lead to hospital wrongful death settlements and compensation for those surviving family members.

Types of Hospital Wrongful Death Claims

When someone receives substandard care at a hospital and passes away because of that care, there are two types of legal claims that can be brought against the hospital. The first is a wrongful death claim, which seeks compensation for certain surviving family members to address the losses they experienced due to the passing of their loved one.

The other type of claim is a survivorship claim. A survivorship claim looks to recover compensation to address the final expenses the decedent incurred and suffered before death. This could include compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Elements That Have to Be Proven in a Hospital Wrongful Death Case

To succeed with a wrongful death claim, the decedent’s personal representative must prove that the decedent received substandard care. This means care that was so unreasonably poor that no other hospital facility in the area would have provided care of the same poor quality.

Next, the representative must produce evidence that this level of care was the primary reason the decedent died. If the decedent would have passed away regardless of the quality of their care, or if there is some other factor that is more to blame for their passing, then the wrongful death lawsuit can fail.

Types of Damages Often Awarded in Wrongful Death Cases

The damages available through a wrongful death lawsuit are meant to compensate the surviving family members for their losses. Such damages can include financial compensation for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of consortium
  • The financial support the decedent could have contributed
  • Other services the decedent provided around the home

You can also recover punitive damages in certain cases. These damages do not compensate you for any loss but instead serve to punish the at-fault party for their wrongful conduct. Typically, these damages are only available when the hospital’s behavior is especially calloused, shocking, or reprehensible. A wrongful death attorney can review your situation and decide whether such damages are available in your case.

These damages can be awarded either through a verdict following a trial or through a settlement reached between you and the other party. Both parties often prefer settlements to a hospital wrongful death case because of the certainty and predictability of the outcome.

Factors That Can Impact Settlement Amounts

No two individuals bringing a hospital wrongful death case are the same, so no two hospital wrongful death cases will settle on identical terms. The facts of each individual case will determine how much compensation you are able to recover through the settlement process. Some of these determinative circumstances can include:

  • How clear the fault of the hospital is in the death of your loved one
  • Available evidence documenting the loss caused by your loved one’s death
  • The desire to avoid trial and instead pursue a settlement
  • Whether other individuals or entities played a role in your loved one’s passing

An experienced wrongful death lawyer will review the facts of your situation and can help you understand what a reasonable settlement might look like. This explanation would include a discussion of the various factors in your case that would influence the size of your settlement.

Why It’s Essential to Hire a Lawyer for Hospital Wrongful Death Cases

If you believe your loved one’s passing is clearly the fault of the hospital, and you desire a settlement, you might wonder what value there is in speaking with a wrongful death attorney. It is true that a negligent hospital might still seek a settlement with you even if you are not represented by counsel, but this does not mean a lawyer is of no value.

Most significantly, a wrongful death attorney can advocate on your family’s behalf and help secure the most beneficial settlement possible. Reaching a settlement involves negotiating, a skill many non-legally trained individuals do not have. Even if they do, it can take considerable time and persistence to reach a fair settlement.

Recognizing the strengths of your case and arguing them to achieve a greater settlement is well within your lawyer’s ability and resources.

FAQs About Hospital Wrongful Death Settlements

Your wrongful death lawyer can provide additional information about hospital wrongful death settlements. Here are answers to a few commonly asked questions.

Will There Be a Settlement Offer in My Case?

Yes, most likely. Settlements offer benefits to hospitals, even if the hospital has a possible defense to your wrongful death case. As a result, many hospitals are open to settling wrongful death claims. However, not every case will result in a settlement.

How Long Will My Case Take to Settle?

Like the value of your settlement, the length of time it takes to settle your case can vary depending on numerous circumstances. Depending on the complexity of your situation, a settlement can be reached anywhere between a few weeks to a few months after you initiate your claim.

What Happens if I Do Not Reach a Settlement?

If you and the hospital cannot reach a settlement, you will need to consider taking your case to trial to obtain compensation. Your wrongful death lawyer can help you do this.

Get Started By Contacting The Moore Law Firm Today

If you are ready to take the first step toward recovering compensation for your loved one’s death from a negligent hospital, reach out to The Moore Law Firm. Our skilled and compassionate team is ready to help you recover the damages you deserve.

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If you have been injured or have lost a loved one as a result of another person's negligence, you deserve to be fully compensated for your losses. The simple fact is that you should not be forced to pay the price for another person's careless or reckless actions.