Each year, hundreds of thousands of people receive negligent medical care that results in a fatality, making medical malpractice one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Millions more are injured yearly, building distrust between the public and the healthcare industry.

Fatal instances of medical malpractice may occur more frequently than people realize. If a loved one dies due to the negligence of a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider, it is imperative to understand your rights and how to initiate legal action to achieve justice and complete compensation for your losses. Here is what you need to know about when medical malpractice causes wrongful death and the importance of working with an experienced wrongful death attorney.

The Scope of Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death

Research compiled in the last decade paints a grim picture of understaffed hospitals, ineffective patient reporting platforms, and other systemic issues that contribute to high rates of avoidable deaths. These sobering statistics greatly emphasize the need for increased accountability in the medical field:

  • Medical errors cause about 250,000 fatalities each year, accounting for 9.5% of all deaths in the U.S. annually.
  • Diagnostic error has emerged as a predominant contributor to medical malpractice lawsuits, accounting for 40,000-80,000 deaths annually in the United States.
  • A 2022 study by the US Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates that 7.4 million misdiagnosis errors are made every year.
  • More than 100,000 deaths each year are likely related to improper medications.
  • The wrong medical procedures and unnecessary surgeries account for approximately 12,000 deaths per year.

Common Medical Malpractice That Leads To Wrongful Death

A National Library of Medicine report states that instances of medical negligence with serious consequences are more likely to occur in intensive care units, operating rooms, and emergency departments. Negligence in medical malpractice cases can occur in a variety of ways, including:

  • Delivery errors causing birth injuries
  • Delay or failure in diagnosing a disease or urgent condition
  • Surgical or anesthesia-related mistake during an operation
  • Failure to gain the informed consent of the patient for an operation or surgical procedure
  • Physician made the correct diagnosis but then fails to provide proper treatment
  • Misuse of prescription drugs or a defective medical device or implant
  • Wrongful amputation
  • Surgical errors
  • Medication errors

Wyoming Wrongful Death Act

Every state has its own laws about wrongful death. For example, Wyoming has specific laws governing wrongful death lawsuits, known as the Wrongful Death Act, Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 1-38-101 to – 105. These laws govern who can file a lawsuit and who can recover damages for the death of a relative. The statutes also set out what kinds of damages can be recovered and the time frame for filing a lawsuit.

Wyoming Statute of Limitations

Waiting to seek damages for wrongful death can be detrimental to your case. Every state has strict time limits called the statute of limitations in which wrongful death lawsuits can be filed. Once this time has passed, you can no longer bring your case. States govern these laws to maintain specific filing standards and protect defendants from stale claims.

In most cases, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case in Wyoming is two years from the date of the individual’s death. It is important to recognize that statute of limitation laws vary by state, and many additional factors arise on a case-by-case basis.

While two years may seem like a substantial time, waiting too long to speak to an attorney can be detrimental, and you may not be able to pursue your case in court due to loss of evidence. To address the needs of your specific case, contact an experienced attorney immediately.

Contact a Wyoming Wrongful Death Attorney

Losing a loved one due to the negligence of a medical professional is devastating. No one should have to experience this kind of tragedy alone and without justice. The team of wrongful death attorneys at the Fitzgerald Law Firm has decades of experience with wrongful death cases related to medical malpractice and knows what it takes to get their clients the justice they deserve. The Fitzgerald Law Firm has been involved in nearly half of all the verdicts in Wyoming of one million dollars or more. Our guiding principle is to find the truth in every case to help our clients heal.

Contact us today to discuss your case with an expert wrongful death attorney.