The legal topic of medical malpractice is a complex area of the law that has its basis in personal injury litigation. Individuals who have lost loved ones in medical accidents or due to medical mistakes may struggle to understand just how they may approach the recovery of their damages when they do not understand the grounds on which health care providers may be sued. In Massachusetts, doctors, nurses, and other health care practitioners may be sued if they cause wrongful deaths due to their negligence.
When a medical care provider accepts another person as their patient then a duty forms between that individual and the person under their care. The duty ensures that the medical care provider will act reasonably given the circumstances of their interaction with their patient, and if they fail to act reasonably they may be responsible for inflicting negligence upon a person under their care.
A wrongful death lawsuit only becomes an option when a person dies. In order to sue a doctor or other health care practitioner for wrongful death, a representative for the decedent's estate must be able to show that the victim died due to negligence committed by a doctor or other provider and that the victim's family members suffered because of their loss.
Medical procedures and treatments may be suggested by doctors and may carry with them certain possible risks. Not every death that occurs in a hospital or under the care of a physician will be the result of medical negligence. However, those deaths that could have been prevented by the use of reasonable care may rise to the level of negligent deaths and therefore give individuals the rights to sue based on wrongful death laws.