Medical Malpractice. In order to prove a medical malpractice wrongful death case, the medical records of the decedent must be obtained. Often this information is protected by the physician-patient privilege unless the patient has waived this privilege to the claimant. Even if a patient is deceased, the doctor-patient privilege is not necessarily removed. The decedent’s spouse or representative (such as next of kin), may waive this privilege in some states.
Even with a patient’s authorization prior to death, health care providers do not want to provide their records to attorneys. Not all public heath laws specify information on disclosure to attorneys. To obtain a court order for records from any provider of medical care for another person is possible, yet formalities have to be in place for a judge to consider allowing the release of these records. A personal representative for the deceased is normally appointed and it must be stated that the representative is considering legal action pertaining to the records due to the possibility of negligent acts, including wrongful death. The healthcare provider would then be required to release requested documentation with the exception of information that may disgrace the memory of the deceased.
Once a malpractice or personal injury case is filed, even prior to death, the doctor-patient privilege is relinquished in regard to all related medical records. The decedent's family may receive settlement for medical and other costs, as well as pain and suffering experienced before death. In order to receive compensation, seek advice from an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible when questions arise to ensure your case is pursued within time limitations action to obtain the best possible outcome.
Transportation Accidents. Wrongful death may certainly occur in an automobile accident, yet they may also occur in any mode of public transportation, such as buses, airplanes, trains, shuttles, trolleys, subways and others. In any case of wrongful death, attempt to keep as many records and notes as possible, including all parties involved (other victims, police, witnesses, drivers, etc.). Again, contact a competent wrongful death attorney experienced with your particular type of wrongful death as soon as possible to ensure appropriate collection of relevant information and records to support your case.
Occupational. Whenever a death occurs due to an accident while “on the clock”, it may be cause for a wrongful death suit. Accidents occur more often in high risk occupations, such as construction, firefighting, etc.; however, they also occur in low risk occupations, such as office positions. Circumstances around a death at the workplace are instrumental in determining the possibility of a wrongful death case. Experienced wrongful death lawyers are able to assist in determining who, whether it is a person or a company, may be liable in occupational deaths.
Other. There may be other causes for wrongful death suits. One of them is if the death was during a supervised outing, such as a camp or conference. If a death has occurred anywhere outside of the home, and the victim was not responsible, reviewing the circumstances with an experienced wrongful death attorney may provide insight to determine if liability may be shown to receive compensation for the loss of a loved one.
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