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Who Is Entitled To Compensation When Someone Dies Due To Medical Malpractice?


Medical negligence by a Florida health care provider can have devastating consequences for a patient, but malpractice may be fatal in the most tragic situations. Some studies have even suggested that misdiagnosis, medication errors, surgical mistakes, and related misconduct comprise the third leading cause of death in the US. For surviving family members, the grief is overwhelming in the short term. Over time, many other losses arise from the void the decedent left behind.

It is a comfort to know that Florida’s wrongful death statute gives you options after losing someone close to you, but the circumstances also encompass med mal principles. You may be able to recover compensation in such a case, which many survivors do not expect since damages typically go to the victim. A Miami doctor error lawyer can explain the details, while some fundamentals may help you understand who is entitled to compensation when someone dies due to medical errors. 

Standing for Wrongful Death Claims 

When someone dies because of medical error, there are overlapping concepts from the standpoint of legal liability. Under Florida’s wrongful death statute, claimants must first establish that the deceased victim would have had the right to sue for negligence if he or she had lived. With medical negligence, you must prove that the victim died because the physician deviated from accepted medical principles in providing care.

After assessing whether there is a right to sue, the next component of a wrongful death case relates to WHO is qualified to pursue the claim. By law, only the deceased individual’s personal representative has standing. This may be someone named in the decedent’s will, or the person appointed by a court to handle estate administration.

However, legal standing to sue is very different from who is entitled to compensation from a wrongful death case. The personal representative is empowered to act, but he or she does so to recover monetary damages for:

  • The surviving spouse
  • Minor and adult children
  • Parents
  • Individuals related by blood and adoptive siblings, but only if they were dependent upon the deceased
  • The decedent’s estate 

Monetary Damages in Wrongful Death Claims 

Medical costs for the negligent treatment the decedent received are recoverable, as are the bills for care that was unsuccessful in resolving the error. The personal representative may seek compensation on behalf of the estate for these expenses, as well as lost wages, and funeral and burial costs. Wrongful death damages for survivors may include lost support, services, guidance, instruction, companionship, protection and mental pain and suffering.

Note that it may be possible to obtain compensation for the decedent’s pain and suffering, but only if some length of time transpired from the medical malpractice incident to the point of death.

A Florida Med Mal Attorney Can Provide Additional Details

Our team at Freidin Brown, P.A. focuses on all medical malpractice scenarios, including situations where a health care provider’s error results in death. We can explain how damages work after reviewing your circumstances, so please contact our offices in Miami or Fort Myers, FL today. We can schedule a complimentary case evaluation with an experienced lawyer.



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