Wrongful Death Caused by Medical Malpractice

Protecting the rights of surviving family members in Nashville, Gallatin and Knoxville and throughout Tennessee

A research study in the Journal of Patient Safety reports that approximately 440,000 Americans are killed each year in the United States by a doctor, nurse or hospital error. That means that the equivalent of two 747 airplanes full of people each day are dying in this country because of preventable medical errors. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other health professional’s actions in treating or failing to treat a patient in their care deviates from the accepted standard of care that would be expected from a competent medical professional with similar training in the same specialty under similar circumstances. The family members of those who die due to medical negligence can choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctor or hospital in order to recover compensation to recover their losses associated with the passing of their family member.

At the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm we are Gladiators in Suits who fight against the huge insurance companies on behalf of our clients in Nashville, Gallatin, and Knoxville and throughout Tennessee. You can trust our knowledgeable medical malpractice attorneys to be your advocates and to protect your and your family’s right to compensation when you have lost a loved one due to medical malpractice. We do not stop until we have won compensation for our clients’ losses.

Proving medical malpractice

In a case where your loved one’s death was caused by medical malpractice, there are two issues at play: the first is proving medical malpractice, and the second involves filing a wrongful death action because the cause of death was medical negligence.

In order to prove medical malpractice, you have to prove that the care your loved one received deviated from the accepted standard of care, and that deviation from the standard of care caused the decedent’s death. In order to build a malpractice case, your attorney will work with a medical expert who will review the case files and investigate the circumstances surrounding the death and conclude whether or not what transpired could be considered a preventable medical error and substandard care.

When an individual’s death is caused by the negligent act of another, as in the case of medical malpractice, immediate family members can pursue legal action under Tennessee’s wrongful death laws. There are actually two different types of legal actions that family members might pursue: the first is a survival action and the second is a wrongful death action. (TN Code § 20-5-113 (2014))

Survival action. The personal representative of someone who has been killed can pursue compensation for the damages suffered by the deceased including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical and other expenses incurred by the deceased from the incident until their death

Wrongful death action. The immediate family members – husband, wife, mother, father, child – can file a wrongful death lawsuit to compensate them for the loss of their loved one including:

  • Lost income
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Medical and funeral expenses
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of parental guidance

Causes of death by medical malpractice

A patient’s death from a preventable medical error can be caused by many different conditions such as:

  • Misdiagnosis of a disease/ failure to treat. If a physician misdiagnoses a patient with the wrong disease, give them treatment for the wrong disease while the actual disease which is going untreated causes their death.
  • Hospital acquired infections. An individual can contract an infection and die in the hospital from the infection that is completely unrelated to the reason for their hospital stay.
  • Surgical errors. Mistakes in the operating room can cause unnecessary injury and death to patients.
  • Anesthesia errors. Anesthesiologists can make mistakes in calculating how much medication to administer to a patient, which may result in the patient’s death.

Why you need a medical Nashville malpractice attorney

The compassionate medical malpractice attorneys at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm understand how complicated it can be to prove that a death was caused by a preventable medical error. Cases that involve proving medical malpractice and then pursuing a wrongful death claim involve a cross-section of two different areas of law. You will likely be going up against powerful attorneys for large insurance companies whose chief aim is to pay out as little as they can get away with. Our main goal is to fight for you and to make sure that you get the most favorable settlement possible. We have compassion for you at such a sensitive time while we pursue the responsible party aggressively.

Fighting for fair compensation for our clients throughout Eastern Tennessee

Dealing with the senseless death of a loved one at the hands of a doctor can be devastating. The Rocky McElhaney Law Firm fights on behalf of family members of those who have died due to medical malpractice in Tennessee. We will shoulder the burden with you, and we take on the legal challenges while you heal from your loss. To schedule a consultation with a compassionate wrongful death attorney, please call 615.246.5549 or contact the firm. We proudly represent clients throughout Tennessee, and maintain offices in Nashville, Gallatin and Knoxville.