The last thing you need to think about when you’re grieving from the unexpected loss of a loved one due to the malpractice of a trusted healthcare professional is preparing a wrongful death lawsuit.

But if you are concerned that there may have been malpractice that contributed to your loved one’s death, you may want to pay the issue some attention as soon as you are able. We’ve put together a list of the most important things you need to do in order to preserve the right to file a claim on behalf of the deceased.

Obtain Records

Start by requesting and obtaining all of the medical records, including any radiology studies, for review. An experienced malpractice attorney can evaluate your claims of malpractice leading to wrongful death and, if malpractice is thought to be a possibility, a medical expert will do a similar review. Often, in order to obtain the deceased person’s medical records, the person requesting the records must have been qualified or appointed by the court as an administrator, executor, or personal representative of the estate.

If the death is very recent, you might consider requesting an autopsy. Autopsies can be useful in establishing a specific cause of death but are not always necessary if the case can be proven through other means. Unfortunately, however, sometimes it is not possible to know right away whether an autopsy would be helpful.

Have Case Evaluated by a Wrongful Death Attorney

As attorneys experienced in all aspects of malpractice law, Wallace Wason, PLLC evaluates cases legally, medically and financially. We also consider the overall ability of the surviving family members to navigate a lawsuit successfully.

Legal considerations include jurisdiction, existence of an established patient-doctor relationship, deadlines (such as the applicable statute of limitations and the District of Columbia’s 90-day filing rule), and other aspects of a case, such as the available evidence and what defenses that might be raised by defendants.

Expert Evaluation

In addition, as required by law, in order to medically evaluate your claims, we locate and hire medical and dental experts qualified to review the circumstances and the facts of the treatment provided. This review might require the services one or more medical or dental specialists, such as an oral surgeon, an oncologist, a pathologist, an anesthesiologist, an infectious disease specialist, surgeon or other healthcare professional who is qualified to provide relevant testimony.

We also evaluate and take into account all related expenses and financial factors, including the medical expenses, any insurance liens, the funeral expenses, and, in certain situations, other documents available to prove any loss of income to the family.

File a Wrongful Death Action

All of these factors help to determine if a wrongful death could lead to a viable wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit is one of the most challenging types of cases to bring and requires knowledge of both the medical and the legal aspects unique to this type of case.

If you believe you have a wrongful death case to be evaluated by an experienced attorney in Virginia, Maryland or the District of Columbia, contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.