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Medical malpractice laws limit who can file claims

Each state legally restricts who is allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. After the tragic loss of a couple's adult son, they have discovered they are not eligible to file a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit in their state's civil Court. Their particular state limits filings to spouses and dependent minor children only, but if they lived in the state of the Louisiana, they might have legal rights to file a claim.

The couple's 31-year-old son was overdosed with pain medicine and became unresponsive just four days following a back surgery. According to the couple, the hospital admitted to the overdose and indicated that it resulted in aspiration of stomach contents, damaging his lungs. Nearly two weeks later, he was discharged to home, and his parents claim that doctors reported there was no evidence of pneumonia in his lungs.

Just 12 hours after his arrival at home, the couple's son was found in distress. His mother reported she found him with his mouth open and eyes fixed. Despite seeking emergency care immediately, her son did not survive. The couple claims to have been told by one physician that their son died with lungs full of pneumonia.

A state investigation into the case did not relieve many of the couple's unanswered questions, as it found no fault with the medical facility's care. They were upset to learn that they do not have much of a chance in their state to address concerns of their son's case in civil court. In Louisiana, because their son did not have a surviving spouse or minor children, they would be eligible to file a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit. If given the chance to present evidence in civil court, and negligence of their son's medical caregivers was established, a monetary award could be given for their emotional loss.

Source:, "Who can file a medical malpractice lawsuit? Contact 6 looks at the limits in Wisconsin", Jenna Sachs, March 1, 2017

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