The public recently discovered that the family of astronaut Neil Armstrong received 6 million dollars as part of a wrongful death settlement. Neil Armstrong was the first person to step on the moon, becoming an American hero and a prominent historical figure. Sadly, his family contends that the astronaut passed away as a result of medical malpractice.
Armstrong’s sons believe that he died due to the negligent post-surgical care provided at an Ohio hospital after a cardiovascular procedure. Instead of being taken to an operating room when he experienced internal bleeding, the medical staff took him to a catheterization lab. His family alleges that this decision resulted in his untimely and avoidable death.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The death of Neil Armstrong reveals that medical malpractice can happen to anyone. When a caretaker’s medical negligence causes the death of a patient, the patient’s family can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in an attempt to receive compensation. Wrongful death lawsuits are not limited to medical malpractice cases. The wrongful death cause of action is available anytime the negligence or recklessness of another person or business causes someone’s wrongful death. In New York, spouses of the deceased, parents of deceased children, as well as children who have lost a parent can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Include the Following:
- Car accidents resulting in the wrongful death of another driver, passenger, or pedestrian
- Medical malpractice, specifically birth injuries, wrongful medication, medical abuse, the use of defective medical equipment, and failure to diagnose the correct disease
- Airplane accidents that result from a pilot’s negligence or negligent maintenance of the engine or a part that is malfunctioning
- Workplace accidents resulting from employer negligence, chemical exposure, unsafe machinery, or a lack of training
- Negligent health care at a nursing home that results in the death of the patient
- Criminal activity such as murder or manslaughter that results in the wrongful death of a victim.
What Does the Family of the Victim Need to Prove in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Family members must prove several elements to succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit. First, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the deceased a legal duty of care. Everyone owes other people a duty to act reasonably under the circumstances. In unique relationships, like in a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor owes a heightened duty of care to the patient.
The plaintiff must also demonstrate that the defendant breached this duty by acting negligently or recklessly. In New York, a person acts negligently when he or she does not use reasonable care under the circumstances. The plaintiff must demonstrate that a reasonable person would have acted differently under the circumstances that caused the death of their family member. Finally, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s negligence caused the death of their family member.
We Help Our Clients Fight for Adequate Wrongful Death
We understand how devastating it is to lose a family member. If someone else’s negligence resulted in the death of your loved one, we can help. We fight on behalf of our clients to receive the compensation they deserve in New York wrongful death cases. Contact us today to set up your appointment.