Tens of thousands of Americans die annually from medical errors, which is why many people seek out help when they have a case involving the death of a loved one due to malpractice. To learn more about your legal options in wrongful death malpractice cases in Portland, contact us today. A dedicated malpractice attorney at our office could walk you through the steps to obtaining the compensation you deserve.
How Long Do I Have to Sue?
Maine’s Death Act provides a two-year statute of limitations for pursuing some wrongful death claims, which begins to accrue at the date of death. However, the Maine Health Security Act, which governs medical malpractice claims, is a three-year statute of limitations. This claim accrues on the date that the medical negligence occurred.
What Damages Can You Seek in a Wrongful Death Malpractice Case?
There are generally no caps on damages in medical malpractice cases. Juries determine what is reasonable and necessary to help compensate the injured party if they determine an award is inappropriate. The one major exception to that rule is wrongful death cases. The medical malpractice claims that involve patient deaths are subject to the limitation on damages prescribed in Maine’s Death Act.
The Death Act now allows for recovery of up to $750,000 to the statutory beneficiaries for loss of comfort, society, and companionship of the deceased. In short, this means that compensation because of the emotional distress the family is facing is capped at $750,000. The economic losses (based on medical bills and other tangible and provable losses) is still uncapped. Punitive damages, meanwhile, are capped at $250,000.
One notable feature of the Death Act is a savings clause. This allows the personal representative to bring any personal injury claims that the decedent may have obtained during the period between the injury and death.
The Effect of Damage Caps on Portland Wrongful Death Malpractice Claims
Damage caps imposed on wrongful death claims have invidious effects on medical malpractice actions. Many medical malpractice plaintiffs do not have a viable claim, and even valid claims are more time-consuming and expensive to litigate than other personal injury cases. If the family has no viable survival claim, then medical providers will have little to fear and may be confident to pursue litigation until the plaintiff withdraws. In New Hampshire, our firm has handled many medical malpractice cases and has helped our clients recover.
To conclude, many issues arise when claims involve the interaction between wrongful death law and medical malpractice. Contact our firm today for further guidance on wrongful death malpractice cases in Portland.