As patients, we trust doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to do what’s best for us. But statistics show that’s not always what happens. The Institute of Medicine estimates that 44,000 to 98,000 Americans die from preventable medical mistakes each year. Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimated that medical errors affect a tenth of all patients. And these statistics don’t account for drug prescription errors, which the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated kills another 100,000 Americans each year. These are preventable deaths caused by the carelessness of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who should know better. Whether it was a surgical error, a birth injury, a wrong or missed diagnosis, an infection or another type of carelessness, medical errors that kill Californians are wrongful deaths that can and should be brought to court.

Families may not think about their legal rights when a loved one dies unexpectedly under medical care. They may be in shock, grieving and unable to worry about seemingly minor details like paperwork. But for medical facilities, deaths are an anticipated part of their routine; they may ask family members to sign papers, admit fault or otherwise try to limit their legal liability for the death. You do not have to sign these papers, and you shouldn’t — you may be signing away your right to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent facility. Instead, you should speak with a wrongful death attorney at Gillin, Jacobson, Ellis & Larsen as soon as you start considering legal action.

A lawsuit can’t bring a prematurely killed loved one back, but it can ease the effects of his or her passing by compensating families for expensive medical bills, funeral costs, loss of income and loss of care and comfort. But you must move quickly because the California statute of limitations on medical malpractice can be as short as one year. Gillin, Jacobson, Ellis & Larsen has decades of experience in California medical malpractice law. We offer free consultations to grieving families, promise to keep you up-to-date on your case, and don’t take a fee until we win. For a confidential evaluation of your case, call any of our 18 Northern California offices today.