What is needed to prove a wrongful death claim that is due to medical malpractice?
The most important issue in any wrongful death claim is the cause of death. To succeed on a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must be able to prove that there was negligence on the part of a doctor or nurse that caused the death of the patient. In almost any hospitalization, there are usually multiple acts of negligence, including medication errors, lab errors, or other treatment errors, that may or may not be related to the cause of death. When a patient dies, the doctors involved in the care of the patient may not ask for an autopsy. Because of the importance of linking the cause of death to negligent care, an autopsy is usually required to be successful in a wrongful death claim. Without an autopsy to establish the specific cause of death and the significance of any underlying conditions, it may not be possible to prove that negligent care was the cause of death.