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What Are My Rights if a Family Member Died Because of Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death Lawsuits

When your family member dies due to the carelessness or negligence of another person, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death actions often involve medical malpractice, which occurs when any medical professional administers care which falls below the professional standard of care. A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by the family of the deceased patient on behalf of his or her estate.

Types of Damages 

Plaintiffs can ask for monetary recovery of several different economic and non-economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. These include medical bills, loss of past and future wages as well as earning capacity, pain and suffering incurred by the patient prior to death, loss of consortium by the decedent’s spouse, and even punitive damages if the negligent behavior was either outrageous or egregious.

Settlements and Medical Malpractice Awards 

At some point after a wrongful death lawsuit is initiated, the judge will order the plaintiff and the defendant to meet and discuss a potential settlement. If a settlement is agreed upon, the defendant will pay a certain amount in exchange for the plaintiff’s agreement to dismiss the case rather than taking it to trial. The amount of a settlement will depend on several factors, including the circumstances and facts of the case, as well as the age and the health of the deceased person and the nature of his or her death.

In Illinois, prior to 2010, money that could be awarded in a medical malpractice case, once it went to trial, was limited to $500,000 from the doctor or individual professional and $1 million from a hospital or other healthcare facility. However, after the Illinois supreme court ruled this to be unconstitutional in the case of LeBron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, these caps were removed, and no new limitations have been instituted.

Get a Free Claim Evaluation of Your Wrongful Death Claim 

If you have suffered the loss of a family member due to professional negligence, you may have a case for wrongful death. It is important to understand your rights before entering into any type of a settlement—that is why you should speak with a knowledgeable Chicago medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

Our compassionate legal team at Shea Law Group has handled countless medical malpractice cases, including many where the negligence resulted in the death of the patient. We understand what a difficult time this can be, and we are here to help.