What You Need to Know About a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against a Hospital

  • January 22nd, 2019

wrongful death lawsuit against hospitalLosing a loved one as a result of a preventable medical error is devastating.

While it can be difficult to consider the possibility of filing a lawsuit in the aftermath of a loved one’s accidental death, it is important to learn more about the ways in which hospitals can be liable in medical malpractice cases and wrongful death claims.

While we often think of medical malpractice as an area of the law in which a plaintiff can sue a doctor or another healthcare provider, hospitals and other medical facilities can also be liable when a patient suffers a serious or fatal injury.

If you are considering a wrongful death lawsuit against hospital, the following are some important things to know about this kind of claim. If you have more detailed questions, speak to a wrongful death lawyer in Louisville.

When is a Hospital Liable for Medical Malpractice?

Kentucky law allows plaintiffs to file medical malpractice claims against numerous parties in the event of a serious injury or death, such as: primary care physician, surgeon, nurse, anesthesiologist, laboratory, lab tech, pharmacist, and hospital. Generally speaking, there are two different types of scenarios in which a family might seek to file a wrongful death claim against a hospital:

  • Hospital was negligent (for example, in hiring a surgeon or nurse, or in failing to take certain precautions after learning that a medical device was recalled); or
  • Fatal injury occurred in the hospital as a result of a mistake made by a healthcare provider employed by the hospital.

When the hospital has been negligent, it usually makes sense to file a claim against the hospital. You can name more than one defendant in your wrongful death lawsuit, which means you can also sue the doctor or other healthcare provider whose negligence may have resulted in your loved one’s death. But should you always sue the hospital when a healthcare provider employed by the facility was negligent?

When the Doctor Employed by the Hospital is Negligent

When a doctor or surgeon is clearly responsible for the medical malpractice death, it may not always make sense to sue the hospital. First, if the doctor was not actually employed by the hospital, then it may not be possible to hold the hospital accountable. Even if the doctor was employed by the hospital, the doctor’s malpractice insurance may be more than sufficient to cover damages in your loved one’s wrongful death case.

You should work with a Kentucky wrongful death lawyer to decide whether to name the hospital in your lawsuit.

The Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Claim Against a Hospital

Like other wrongful death lawsuits, a claim against a hospital has a statute of limitations. Under Kentucky law (Ky. Rev. Stat. § 411.130), the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is one year. The “clock” for the statute of limitations begins “ticking” on the date of the deceased’s death. If you do not file a claim within that one year period, the law may bar you from seeking compensation for your loved one’s medical malpractice death.

Contact a Louisville Wrongful Death Attorney

We know how difficult it can be to think about filing a lawsuit after losing a loved one unexpectedly, but a wrongful death claim can help to bring closure as well as compensation to the family. Given that families only have one year from the date of death to file a claim, it is important to learn more from a Louisville wrongful death lawyer about filing a lawsuit against the hospital where the fatal injury occurred. Contact Harville Law Offices, PLLC today to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.


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