Medical malpractice is a serious concern for patients, because missing a diagnosis or failing to treat a patient properly can lead to serious injuries or death. When a patient dies due to a doctor's negligence, it's known as a wrongful death.
There are several parts of a wrongful death lawsuit. For instance, you'll need to show that a human died, that the death was the result of another person's intent to cause harm or negligence, that surviving family members have suffered financially because of the death and that there is a representative for the deceased's estate.
Here's an example. If a man passes away due to medical negligence, leaving a son and widow, then the widow and son could file a lawsuit that shows that a doctor didn't provide an acceptable standard of care. This lawsuit could show how the family now suffers from a loss of their loved one's income. Since the wife is filing the lawsuit, she can be a representative for the estate.
A wrongful death lawsuit won't only cover the expenses accrued from medical care or lost wages. Sometimes, a jury can award more for their suffering. For example, if the decedent had a low income but had many years of work left in front of him, then the jury might award more to the family. The jury could assume that the man could have earned more over time and adjust the award to reflect that.
If your loved one has passed away, it can be a terrible time in your life. There is help, and a wrongful death claim is one possibility.
Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death Overview," accessed Nov. 15, 2016