In the past, under the common law, if either the plaintiff or defendant of a tort claim died, the action would be ended. This is because one of the parties, who either deserved compensation or who was liable, would no longer be around. A simple example would be if a patient was injured by a doctor due to medical negligence, the action would end if either party passed away. Also, historically there was no right to recovery for survivors of a patient who was negligently killed by a doctor’s medical malpractice (and the patient’s family could not recovery pecuniary losses or for the loss of companionship). Today, every state has altered these rules by statute which allows medical malpractice attorneys to bring lawsuits in search of compensation, even if their client or the defendant has passed away.
The Types of Actions
The first types of laws that have been implemented are generally referred to as “survival” statutes. Under these statutes, a lawsuit will not come to a halt simply because one of the parties has passed away prior to the litigation. This means that lawsuits, including those for medical malpractice, will survive the death of either party. Alternatively, there are also laws in place known as “wrongful death” statutes. These statutes create a cause of action for the family who has been left behind following the death of a plaintiff. An example of a wrongful death situation may be if a doctor’s tortious activity, such as negligence or malpractice, leads to the death of a patient. In that case, the family of the patient may still bring a lawsuit against the doctor even though the true victim of the tort, the deceased patient, is no longer around. Lawyers have found that although some states have elected to combine the two types of actions into a single statute, every state provides this type of protection for patients and their loved ones.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys in New Jersey and Philadelphia
If you or a family member have recently been the victim of medical negligence, it is possible that you would like to speak with our professionals. Please contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation, or call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.