Throughout the nation, far too many medical patients suffer injuries due to substandard health care in hospitals and nursing facilities. This often leads to medical malpractice claims being filed in civil court. Those in Hawaii who have suffered the untimely death of a loved one whose malpractice lawsuit was pending may want to take note of a recent situation where a family member has added a wrongful death claim to an existing lawsuit.
An appeals panel in the state where the lawsuit was pending when the patient died recently ruled that a wrongful death claim may be added to the pre-existing medical malpractice claim. The initial claim was filed in 2011 against a doctor who allegedly misdiagnosed a tumor in the woman’s central nervous system. The doctor reportedly claimed the woman was suffering some sort of eye ailment by mistake.
In 2013, the woman died. Her daughter, as executor of her mother’s estate, became the plaintiff in the case. She then sought to add the wrongful death claim, which the defendants attempted to have dismissed. The appellate court ruled that the wrongful death claim is not subject to the statute of repose because it is, in essence, part of the original claim of medical negligence that is said to have caused the woman’s death.
Any person in Hawaii who has questions about adding a claim to a pre-existing lawsuit will want to discuss the matter with an attorney experienced in handling these types of proceedings. Such issues can be complicated, and an attorney would be able to clarify the governing laws on such matters. Anyone who has suffered injury or has lost a loved one due to medical malpractice is entitled to seek the maximum amount of compensation possible as restitution for damages sustained.
Source: cookcountyrecord.com, “Appeals panel: Families of medical malpractice plaintiffs who die while case pending can add wrongful death claims to lawsuit“, Dan Churney, April 1, 2016