Posted on: 12 May 2016Share
If your spouse recently went under cosmetic surgery and then sadly passed away shortly thereafter, the loss can be hard to bear. After you've taken the time to make the final arrangements and grieve your loss, it's time to find out if someone else is responsible for contributing to their death. Speaking to a qualified wrongful death lawyer will help you gain an understanding into your rights as a surviving spouse. Here are some steps to take and what to keep in mind as you go through the process.
Contact A Reputable Attorney
The very first step you should take is to contact a wrongful death lawyer who has won several medical malpractice cases. Most lawyers will offer a free initial consultation and often don't require an upfront fee if they feel they can win your case. At your appointment, expect to answer some serious questions, including:
- Personal information about your spouse regarding age and previous address
- Any past or existing health problems prior to death
- What type of surgery was performed
- List of medication that your spouse was taking
- Autopsy results if applicable
- If any previous medical malpractice suits were filed by your spouse's behalf
- Name and address of surgeon or doctor who performed the procedures or surgeries
- Why you think someone else is responsible for your spouse's death
These are just a few of the common questions that you should be prepared to answer.
Gather Personal Health Records
Before your first appointment, you should have all of your spouse's medical records both past and present available and ready to view. This may include obtaining records from more than just the doctor who performed the surgery, including prior visits with other medical professionals. Medical records reviewed by your lawyer's legal team will help recognize mistakes. It will also flag any information that may indicate a reason that could have contributed to an unsuccessful surgery or lead to postoperative death.
Create A File
You should have one designated file folder that holds information about your spouse's wrongful death case. This may include:
- A list of questions to ask your lawyer
- Copies of paperwork that you have signed throughout the court process
- Appointment reminders and upcoming court date information
- Numbers, address and information of witnesses and character witnesses
Keeping this information in one place and easily accessible will allow for easy reference throughout the lawsuit process.
Make A Personal Statement
When your lawyer initially files the lawsuit, he will present all of the facts and information to the plaintiff and the court. An important part of the lawsuit will involve your voice in regards to the deceased and how much the entire ordeal has affected you. The court needs to know how you were impacted financially and emotionally because of the fault of the surgeon or doctor responsible for your spouse's care, as well as what you feel went wrong because of the surgery or procedure. Your lawyer will base the financial amount of the lawsuit based on all or one of the following:
- Punitive damages - An amount calculated by your attorney to punish a medical practitioner for bad conduct.
- Economic damages – The amount of money that your spouse contributed to the household and now is lost.
- Non-economic damages - An amount calculated by your attorney pertaining to the mental anguish and loss of companionship you've experienced from the loss of the deceased.
These amounts, as well as the amount of interest and attorney fees will all be combined into a final amount that you're suing for. If the case moves forward, the plaintiff may often offer a settlement, rather than going to court.
For more information, contact Shaevitz Shaevitz & Kotzamanis or a similar firm.