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Can I Sue a Hospital for Wrongful Death?


Wrongful Death Due to Medical Negligence in Philadelphia

Can you file a lawsuit if someone died due to a medical professional’s negligence? The short answer is yes. Even the most competent doctors make mistakes. In this article, our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer at Villari Law answers the following questions:

  • What are the common medical errors in emergency rooms?
  • What are the legal requirements for proving wrongful death?
  • What is the difference between medical malpractice and wrongful death?
  • What types of damages can I recover in a wrongful death lawsuit
  • How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim against a hospital?
  • Where can I talk to a Philadelphia wrongful death attorney?

Not every medical error can be considered negligence. Hence, proving a wrongful death case can be difficult. Call Philadelphia wrongful death attorneys if you lost a loved one unexpectedly after taking them to the emergency room.

Examples of Medical Errors Made in the Hospital

Hospital emergency rooms are places where the risk of error is more significant due to the high stakes involved, the fast pace, and crowded conditions. These are the most common acts of medical malpractice resulting in death in emergency rooms:

Chart errors or omissions

A medical chart is one of the most essential tools for assessing a patient’s condition. It contains their entire medical history, such as illnesses, treatments, and immunizations, among many others. If they ever had a brain injury or taken certain medication, the chart should have it. Inaccuracies in recording or interpreting the chart can lead to substandard medical care and, worse cases, death.

Misidentifying patient

Patient misidentification has serious consequences. If a healthcare provider incorrectly identifies a patient, it may lead them to get treatments they shouldn’t have and miss out on the ones they should. A mistake in patient identification can be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.


Misdiagnosis refers to an error in determining a patient’s condition. This mistake can lead to catastrophic injury or even your loved ones’ death. Call our Philadelphia law office to discuss your malpractice claim if this happens.

Delayed diagnosis

This is a diagnostic error where the medical professional gives a correct diagnosis but takes too much time. If a delayed diagnosis has killed your loved one, consult The Villari Firm for a potential wrongful death action.

Failure to order medical tests or scans

Doctors need lab results to determine what causes their patient’s ailments and or injuries. If your loved one dies from this medical mistake, talk to our PA medical malpractice attorney to discuss possible options.

Failure to recognize a life-threatening event

Emergency room doctors are trained to recognize medical emergencies depending on which conditions, ailments, or injuries could cost someone their life. A doctor failing to see signs of these can often lead to fatal outcomes. Should this happen to your loved one, talk to our Philadelphia attorney about a possible medical malpractice case.

Premature discharge from the emergency room

Picture this: a doctor tells patients they are free to leave the hospital. The family is overjoyed at the thought that their loved one made it. Then all of it comes crashing down because a doctor released the patient early, worsening their condition. If this sounds like something that happened to you, call our law office for help filing a wrongful death claim.

Is There a Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

Medical malpractice happens when a medical professional acts in a way that violates the standards of their profession, providing substandard care to patients. On the other hand, a wrongful death action happens to recover compensation from a person who caused someone else’s death.

A wrongful death lawsuit is based on medical malpractice when the death occurred due to the negligence of anyone on the patient’s medical team, including the hospital. If your loved one died from medical negligence, you could sue and recover damages from all negligent parties.

If your loved one died due to medical malpractice, work with a wrongful death attorney with experience prosecuting medical malpractice lawsuits.

How Do I Prove Wrongful Death?

There are three elements to proving these cases:

  • There was a duty of care. This may be as simple as establishing the existence of a doctor-patient relationship.
  • The doctor breached their duty. To prove this, you must show that a similar medical professional would not have made the same medical mistake under the same circumstances.
  • As a result of the breach, the patient died, and you suffered damages.

Your wrongful death attorney will consult with medical experts to determine what act(s) or omission(s) in the emergency room caused your loved one’s death and will also consult with forensic accountants to determine the extent of your financial loss.

What Are Possible Recoverable Damages in Pennsylvania?

Here are some of the common damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Your loved one’s medical expenses up until the time of death
  • Your loved one’s funeral and burial expenses
  • Your loved one’s pain and suffering up until death
  • The loss of your loved one’s financial support
  • The loss of the guidance and companionship of your loved one
  • Your pain and suffering from this loss, and
  • Punitive damages to punish the negligent party

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Pennsylvania and many other states, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is two (2) years. This means you have two years from your loved one’s death date to file your wrongful death lawsuit in PA.

This may seem like a lot of time. However, your attorney must investigate the cause of your loved one’s death and identify all responsible parties, including the hospital. This can take months. If you miss the deadline, you may not be able to receive justice for your loss.
The longer you wait, the shorter the window for filing becomes. Call our Philadelphia law office today to schedule a case evaluation.

Consult an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney in Philadelphia!

Unfortunately, due to the nature of emergency room practice, the risk of medical mistakes is high. Hospitals recognize this, yet crowded conditions, understaffing, and delays in treatment continue to increase the risk of medical malpractice, causing death in emergency rooms.
If your loved one died in the hospital emergency room or after coming home from the emergency room and you suspect they died due to a medical mistake, call The Villari Firm to discuss your case. Put our over 20 years of experience with medical malpractice and wrongful death to work for you. Call us today!

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