Losing a loved one due to medical malpractice is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a family.
Even worse, this is not an uncommon occurrence.
More than a quarter-million Americans die yearly from medical errors, many of which might have been preventable.
Most medical procedures are safe.
However, if an error occurs and a person loses their life, the effect on the family is long-lasting.
If you have lost a loved one due to medical malpractice, you may wonder about the average payout for medical malpractice resulting in death.
Our team at Gerling Law Injury Attorneys helps families navigate some of the worst times in their lives.
In this article, we will explain the basics of the average wrongful death medical malpractice settlement and how a medical malpractice lawsuit can help bring your family closure.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider or facility injures a patient through a negligent act or omission.
Usually, the victim can file a lawsuit against the provider or facility to request compensation for their financial and other losses associated with this type of injury.
If the malpractice is so severe that it causes the patient’s death, in some cases, the victim’s family can seek damages. This would be a wrongful death medical malpractice case.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim
It is helpful to know whether you have a medical malpractice claim before asking, How much is the payout for a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit?
Simply put, if you don’t have a case, you will not receive a medical malpractice death payout. So let’s discuss how you prove medical malpractice.
The basic standards of a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit include showing:
- A violation of a medical standard of care,
- An injury to the patient caused by the violation, and
- The injury resulted in significant damage to the patient.
Certain medical standards are recognized as acceptable practice by prudent health care professionals when conducted under similar circumstances.
If a provider or facility fails to follow those standards and you get injured, then you may have a medical malpractice claim.
However, you must also be able to show that significant damages resulted from the injury. Death is obviously the most unfortunate and severe form of damage that could occur.
How Much Is the Payout for a Wrongful Death Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
In Indiana, the average settlement in medical malpractice wrongful death cases starts at about $500,000 and stretches to over $1 million.
These settlements represent individual cases, and each case has its own unique circumstances. Indiana revised its medical malpractice cap as of 2019.
For any medical malpractice occurring after 2019, damages are capped at $1.8 million, and doctors are liable for only $500,000.
Anything recovery beyond that amount is paid by the state Patient Compensation Funds (PCF). These are funded by a surcharge on insurance paid by physicians and hospitals.
Kentucky and Illinois are two states that do not place caps on medical malpractice wrongful death settlements.
Gerling Law Injury Lawyers have experience across the midwest and can help you understand your rights in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois—depending upon where the medical malpractice occurred or where your loved one passed away.
Suppose your loved one was a service member, and you are filing a claim for medical malpractice resulting in death against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
In this case, you need to know that the medical malpractice wrongful death procedure differs from a regular lawsuit. You must file such a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
The caps on recovery will be the same as the medical malpractice wrongful death state statute recovery caps for private institutions.
What Influences the Amount in a Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Settlement?
When calculating the amount of a medical malpractice wrongful death settlement, victims’ families often need to consider the kind of negligence demonstrated by the provider or facility.
If your loved one underwent a routine procedure with a very low risk of complications and died, this may influence your settlement amount.
Medical negligence cases can leave families like yours facing million-dollar hospital bills and thousand-dollar funeral expenses. A medical malpractice wrongful death settlement would take into account these kinds of expenses.
Furthermore, any medical negligence settlement would consider the financial needs of surviving family members, such as young children and a spouse.
If the deceased was the sole breadwinner in a family, that might also influence the amount of a medical malpractice wrongful death settlement. A judge or arbitrator might decide to award exemplary damages if the hospital or provider’s conduct was particularly egregious.
Exemplary damages are also called punitive damages because the intention is to punish the defendant for particularly wrongful behavior.
The hope is that the provider and facility responsible for your loved one’s death learn a lesson from the case and do not repeat their mistakes.
Hiring a Lawyer Can Help
If medical malpractice has taken the life of someone you love, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable medical malpractice wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. Medical malpractice can be difficult to prove, especially if you wait too long.
Cases take a lot of preparation, and different states have statutes of limitations on your claims. Gathering evidence can be time-consuming, too.
An experienced attorney can help take this burden off your plate and allow you the time and privacy to grieve the loss of your loved one.
Contact Gerling Law Injury Attorneys today to discuss how we can help you on the road to recovery.
We Can Make a Difference
The experienced team at Gerling Law understands the complexities of both medical malpractice, wrongful death suits, and coping with the loss of a family member.
We dedicate our time and resources to our clients so you can start to heal from your loss.
We have successfully represented clients in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois in wrongful death and other personal injury matters for over 50 years. Contact us to schedule your case consultation today.