Can I Sue for Wrongful Death After My Loved One Dies from Cancer?


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It’s the word that we are all terrified of hearing from a doctor, yet so many individuals are diagnosed with some type of this condition each day – cancer. While many medical advances have been made in treating various forms of cancer, the reality remains that a staggering number of individuals are dying from cancer each year. In fact, according to an annual report from the American Cancer Society, the U.S. had about 1.7 million new cancer cases and 600,000 cancer deaths in 2017.

The reality of the matter is that death is always a possibility when cancer is involved. Even with early detection, proper treatment, and excellent medical care, an individual can still pass away from this horrible disease. However, what is even more difficult to handle is when a cancer patient receives negligent care from medical professionals.

How Does Negligence Occur with Cancer?

The majority of doctors are competent medical providers who successfully provide the expected standard of medical care. This means that they thoroughly review each patients’ medical history, perform thorough exams, run any tests that may be necessary, and are able to provide patients with an accurate medical diagnosis in a timely manner. Since an individual’s health may not always be so black and white, there is the possibility that it could take some time to really figure out what is going on.

When it comes to negligent medical care, this means that a doctor or other health care provider acts or fails to act in a way that deviates from the accepted standard of medical care. If this transpires with an individual who has cancer, wrongful death can occur. How does this happen?

  • Delayed Diagnosis – A cancer patient can receive a delayed diagnosis if a healthcare provider does not perform the necessary exams or tests, which other competent doctors would have performed. Additionally, a delayed diagnosis can also occur if tests are not performed properly. For example, there was a woman who underwent a Pap smear in 2011, and doctors were negligent in detecting and diagnosing the presence of cancerous cells. As a result, she developed a tumor on her cervix, which could have been prevented if the lab had accurately identified the abnormalities. This patient died because of her delayed diagnosis.
  • Misdiagnosis – A cancer misdiagnosis can occur if an individual is being treated by a healthcare provider, but the doctor fails to identify the cancer. For example, let’s say that an individual is being seen for severe abdominal pain. The doctor indicates that the pain is from ovarian cysts and calls it a day. Fast forward, and that severe abdominal pain was actually an indication of ovarian cancer. Maybe this misdiagnosis could have been prevented if other essential screenings had been performed. Unfortunately, a lengthy misdiagnosis can have dire consequences for many cancer patients who lose valuable time during which they could have been receiving proper treatments.

Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligent treatment of cancer, you have the opportunity to pursue legal justice by filing for wrongful death. Spouses, parents of minors, and minors are eligible to collect wrongful death damages in all states. It starts to become a little more complicated when you have adult children, grown siblings, or extended relatives who are looking to file a lawsuit and collect compensation. If you have any concern about your ability to sue for wrongful death, the first step is to contact an experienced attorney.

Some of the damages that you may be able to receive compensation for include:

  • Loss of past and future income
  • Loss of love and companionship
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Pain and suffering experienced by the victim before death
  • Medical costs associated with the condition

Regardless of how obvious your case may seem, it is imperative to hire a wrongful death attorney with experience in this type of situation. When you are suing for compensation that will likely help to support both you and/or your family, you need a professional on your team who knows what type of compensation your case warrants and how to get those results.

Ross Feller Casey is the leading personal injury law firm in Pennsylvania and beyond, and our attorneys have won some of the nation’s largest wrongful death recoveries. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your wrongful death case.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.