A wrongful death may arise from several scenarios including a fatal accident or a doctor's malpractice. In our July 23rd post, we discussed how families of victims of fatal accidents might file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for their incurred expenses, such as loss of family income, medical and funeral costs. While wrongful death lawsuits are commonly for fatal accident victims, they can also be used for negligent medical care, as evidenced by a recent case.
A man recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit after his wife died from congestive heart failure while being detained in a New York county jail. The man claims that his wife took six different types of medications for her heart condition. His suit claims that the last time the couple spoke, his wife complained that she was not receiving the correct amounts of medication, was suffering chest pains and was having difficulty in breathing. The man claims that his wife died as a result of not being given the medication she needed.
Wrongful death results from the negligent or intentional wrongful acts of another. Family members of the victim, typically the spouse or children, or the personal representative of the victim's estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Here, the husband apparently claims that because the officials did not administer the correct medication, they were negligent.
The main source of compensation in wrongful death lawsuits, like this case, is for monetary damages. Factors that may be considered in determining the amount awarded are the victim's life expectancy, age and earning capacity. In severe circumstances, punitive damages may also be awarded when there has been grave wrong.
In cases of wrongful death, such as negligent medical care and fatal accidents, a wrongful death lawsuit provides a financial remedy. It can also provide justice, and perhaps a sense of closure, for loves ones of the victim.
Source: WHDH.com, "Woman dies in NY county jail awaiting deportation," Linda Ergas, July 26, 2012; FindLaw.com, "Wrongful Death Overview," March 26, 2008
- Our firm handles situations similar to that which is discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our New York wrongful death page.