When someone’s death was avoidable and due to the negligence of another person or entity, the surviving family members may file a lawsuit claiming wrongful death. Wrongful death claims may be filed in cases involving automobile accidents, product defects, and medical malpractice.
Lawsuits seeking compensation for wrongful death must be filed by a representative of the decedent’s estate. The representative may be the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate. If the decedent died with a will, there is a mechanism for naming a special administrator for the purposes of a wrongful death suit.
The family, generally spouses and children, are entitled to recover. The family members are entitled to monetary damages resulting from the wrongful death as well as damages accrued while their loved one was still alive.
Wrongful Death Defendants
There are many situations in which a wrongful death suit may be initiated but, as an example, suits may be filed against:
- A hospital that fails to provide the appropriate medical care for a patient resulting in the patient’s death
- A car manufacturer that produces a vehicle with a defect which causes a fatal collision
- A government agency that employs a police officer who then wrongfully kills a citizen
David A. Axelrod & Associates uses their experience to determine all of the potential defendants that will maximize potential recovery.
Wrongful Death Damages
Compensation may include economic damages such as lost wages from the deceased family member, the value of their benefits and insurance, and funeral expenses.
However, the most significant factors in the value of wrongful death cases are loss of society and companionship. For example, when a wife loses a husband or a mother loses a child, they are entitled to the lost value of those relationships. This will be calculated based on the time period that the decedent was expected to live.
Non-economic damages include the surviving family member’s anguish, loss of care and companionship, and loss of consortium in the case of a deceased spouse. This includes damages from the time of the decedent’s death up to the time the decedent would have otherwise lived.
While it is difficult to put a fixed dollar on the value of grief or pain and suffering, David A. Axelrod & Associates used their experience and knowledge to determine these values in a particular case.
Many wrongful death cases also have a claim under the Survival Act. In addition to damages under wrongful death, the family may also be entitled to pursue damages that their loved one would have been entitled to if he or she was still alive. For example, if someone is in an auto accident, then lives for six months with a brain injury and is in and out of consciousness and in significant pain, then dies as a result, the family is entitled to bring (1) a wrongful death claim but also (2) a Survival Act claim. Available damages under Survival Act claims include compensation for loss of a normal life, pain and suffering, and emotional distress that the decedent experience while he or she was alive.
David A. Axelrod & Associates: Proven Results in Wrongful Death Cases
David A. Axelrod & Associates has successfully represented clients in wrongful death cases. David A. Axelrod & Associates won a jury verdict of over $31 million against Walgreen Co. when a drug-abusing pharmacist placed the wrong pills into a customer’s prescription bottle. This critical error led to the patient’s permanent kidney failure, brain injuries and, ultimately, death.
In another case, David A. Axelrod & Associates recovered $4.5 million from Northwestern Memorial Hospital for failing to diagnose and treat an ongoing surgical infection. This infection caused the patient to suffer septic shock, multi-organ tissue failure, nine years of chronic illness and suffering and, ultimately, death.
David A. Axelrod & Associates also recovered $2.1 million from Lutheran General Hospital and a doctor for the mother and sister of a 22-year-old man who died while in the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) because they failed to ensure he was receiving sufficient oxygen.
David A. Axelrod & Associates procured a $1 million settlement for a surviving spouse from a family practitioner and his medical group who failed to diagnose extreme dehydration in a 52-year-old woman resulting in her death because she had a flu, based solely on loss to society and grief claims.
David A. Axelrod & Associates also recovered $925,000 from Holy Cross Hospital and a surgeon who failed to properly monitor a wound infection in a 76-year-old woman when that infection ultimately spread into her blood stream and caused her death.