Wrongful Death Attorney in Wilmington NC: Understanding Medical Malpractice

At Bain & Rodzik, medical malpractice is one of the most common types of cases tried by our wrongful death attorney in Wilmington NC. Wrongful death is devastating regardless of the cause, but when a death unexpectedly occurs as a result of medical negligence, the toll can be so much heavier on the surviving family members. After all, their loved one was receiving medical care with the intent to improve their health.

Medical malpractice does not always result in the death of the patient. In fact, not many people truly understand what counts as negligence and what qualifies for litigation. Here, we take a closer look at medical malpractice and which types of mistakes most commonly account for wrongful deaths.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is when a doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider harms a patient fatally, or fails to provide the recognized "standard of care" in the treatment of a patient. The types of cases that fall under medical malpractice can vary greatly, but there are certain mistakes that seem to happen more regularly than others. Common examples of medical negligence include:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Childbirth injuries (caused by negligent prenatal care or negligence during childbirth)
  • Medication errors (wrong dosage, wrong medication dispensed, etc.)
  • Malfunctioning medical equipment
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Surgical errors

Why is Medical Malpractice a Wrongful Death?

A death that is caused by medical malpractice is considered a wrongful death because within reason, the victim would still be alive had the medical professional provided the recognized standard of care. The victim was receiving medical attention in order to help improve a health condition and was under the medical professional's care when the negligence that caused the fatality occurred.

What Types of Damages are Available to Survivors in Wrongful Death Cases?

There are three types of damages that may be available to the survivors in a medical malpractice wrongful death suit. These include economic, non-economic and punitive damages.

Economic damages include the value of the financial contributions the victim would have made to the survivors if he or she didn't die. This usually includes loss of the victim's expected earnings, benefits, pension plans, medical coverage, inheritance and other potential income. It also includes the value of the goods and services the victim would have provided and any medical and funeral costs associated with the death.

Non-economic damages include compensation for pain, loss and suffering. Although these are less tangible than economic damages, they can often prove to be more valuable in wrongful death cases. North Carolina does impart a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages, although this cap does not apply in cases where the patient suffered certain disfiguring or permanent injury AND the defendant's conduct was reckless, grossly negligent, intentional or malicious. Starting in 2014, this cap will be adjusted based on inflation.

Punitive damages are damages applied to the defendant specifically for their negligent behavior.

North Carolina Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Cases

In North Carolina, a victim of medical malpractice, or their loved ones in the event of a wrongful death, must file their case within the state's statute of limitations, which include:

  • Three years after the date of injury or death.
  • Two years after the date the injury is discovered, if it could not have been discovered when it occurred. However, cases like these must be brought within four years of the injury or death date.
  • One year after the date of discovery if an object is left inside a person. For instance, during surgery. However, this case must be brought within ten years of the surgery date.
  • One year after the date of the patient's eighteenth birthday, if the patient was a child when the injury occurred.

Contact Our Wrongful Death Attorney in Wilmington NC Today

If you have recently lost a loved one due to medical negligence, Bain & Rodzik's wrongful death attorney in Wilmington NC can help. We can't take away the pain, confusion and anguish you're feeling, but we can help you get the justice your family so rightly deserves.

We understand that nothing will replace the loss that you're feeling right now. However, validating your loved one's wrongful death and proving it was caused by medical negligence can be instrumental in helping you achieve the closure you need so you can start the healing process.

Call the Law Firm of Bain & Rodzik today at 910-762-1199 to schedule a free initial consultation. There is absolutely no obligation in calling us and you pay absolutely nothing unless we win your case.