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The wrongful death lawsuit: A tool for families seeking justice

When an Allegheny County resident suffers an injury as a result of a medical provider's negligent act, that resident may be able to hold responsible parties to account through a negligence lawsuit. This provides a forum for both parties to be heard and for compensation to be awarded if appropriate. But what if a medical provider's alleged negligent act results in the patient's death? Obviously the patient himself or herself cannot file a lawsuit in this case.

Fortunately, the law provides a mechanism for the patient's survivors to seek justice on the patient's behalf. This mechanism is the wrongful death lawsuit. A patient's loved ones are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit and attempt to recover from the allegedly negligent medical provider. The family is allowed to step into the shoes of their relative and seek damages for things such as pain and suffering and medical bills. The family may also try to recover for losses suffered by them, such as loss of companionship and loss of income.

A wrongful death lawsuit unfortunately cannot bring the patient back. A successful lawsuit, however, can provide the patient's loved ones with compensation for their loss. It can also provide family members with the justice that may have been denied their loved one, and it can serve as a signal to medical providers that they must take their responsibilities to their patients seriously.

When people suffer wrong at the hands of another, it is right to seek justice using the tools the law provides. Holding wrongdoers to account can help victims' families and society as a whole.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death," accessed on March 25, 2017

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