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Hospitals are supposed to be places of healing. Most patients admitted to hospitals have expectations of recovering from the injuries or illnesses. Unfortunately, sometimes a patient who enters a hospital with a fair prognosis can meet an unexpected and untimely death. When this happens, the family left behind undoubtedly has questions about what happened. In some cases, the investigation into the matter turns up evidence of possible medical malpractice.
When the circumstances of the patient’s death points to a health care provider’s mistake or equipment malfunction, the patient’s surviving family may try to hold the hospital liable for the loss of their loved one by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
A lawsuit alleging a wrongful death is similar to a personal injury claim, the difference being that the injured person has died from the encounter. There are many kinds of defendants in wrongful death cases. For example, a person responsible for a fatal car accident can be sued for a wrongful death, or a company that manufactured a lethal product can be held liable for a wrongful death.
In accidental deaths of patients that occur in hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals are sometimes named in wrongful death lawsuits that allege medical malpractice. The hospitals where the patients died may also be sued.
The hospital can be held responsible for a wrongful death if staff or the hospital acted negligently. As mentioned, the malpractice of a hospital employee can be cause for a claim against the hospital. Examples of negligence that may be demonstrated by the hospital itself may have to do with negligence in hiring or managing its employees, supervising the medical care provided on site, or maintaining safe and effective hospital equipment.
A hospital can be on the hook for failing to ensure that its employees are properly licensed and safe to work with patients. Hospitals must be attentive during the hiring process as well as with the ongoing supervision of employees. The hospital can also be sued for failing to enact safety protocols, such as instituting appropriate handwashing practices, sanitation guidelines, and proper labeling and administration procedures for medications. The hospital may also be liable if they neglected to have enough staff on hand to handle the day’s workload.
A hospital may also be liable for medical equipment that they neglected to keep in working order.
Doctors can be charged with malpractice if they misdiagnose patients, prescribe the wrong doses of medications, or make mistakes in surgeries. Nurses can be sued for malpractice if they make mistakes or omissions when taking patients’ vital signs, notating medical records, administering medications, or noticing worrisome symptoms.
Sometimes, doctors and specialists who are not employees of the hospital will see patients and even perform surgeries at the hospital. These non-employee caretakers have arrangements with the hospital to use the facility, but they are considered independent contractors. In general, hospitals bear no liability for the malpractice of independent contractors.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. A hospital may be held liable for allowing hospital privileges to a provider who is known to be unsafe. It may also be a problem if the hospital obscures the fact that the doctor is not an employee. The provider-hospital relationship is often laid out in the patient’s admissions documents.
If the provider has an employment contact with the hospital, the provider-hospital relationship is clear. However, there are some instances where the term independent contractor is used erroneously. Even if both the provider and the hospital maintain that no employment relationship exists, the circumstances of the arrangement may counter their understanding.
Things like how much control the hospital has over the provider’s schedule or service fees can determine if the arrangement fits the legally understood definition of an employee-employer relationship.
In a wrongful death case, the patient’s surviving family members may bring suit, alleging medical malpractice against a provider or hospital involved in the death of their loved one.
In some states, the case can be brought by the estate for the benefit of the heirs, but in Delaware, only surviving family members may sue for damages. Such family members include the spouse, parents, children, and siblings of the deceased person, or any person related to the deceased person by blood or marriage.
Survivors can seek monetary damages, including reimbursement of medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of the companionship of their loved one.
A claim of wrongful death must be filed within two years of the death of a loved one. If a bereaved family attempts to file a lawsuit after two years have passed, it is unlikely that the suit will be successful.
In order to pursue a wrongful death suit against a hospital, a lawyer must be acquired. A lawyer will review the facts of the case and determine if a wrongful death suit is possible. Since there are deadlines, it is important to seek legal representation right away.
If you have lost a loved one as a result of the negligent actions of a hospital or its staff, you may have a wrongful death case against the hospital. Contact one of our Delaware wrongful death lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow if you suspect a hospital’s negligence led to a loved one’s death. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 302-427-9500. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.
On Saturday evening, a fatal car crash in Greenwood, Delaware caused one driver to succumb to his fatal injuries. The accident involving a car and an SUV occurred at the intersection of Sussex Highway and Woodyard Road when the car pulled directly into the path of the SUV and hit its back-left side. Upon impact, the SUV rolled over several times and landed upside-down, leaving the driver fatally injured at the scene of the fatal car crash. The passenger of the SUV sustained critical injuries after being ejected from the vehicle while the driver of the smaller car suffered from minor injuries.
Accidents commonly occur in intersections for many reasons and may range from a minor collision to a serious car crash. Oftentimes, intersection accidents may result from driver negligence such as running a red light or failing to obey the traffic signs. About 40 percent of crashes occur in intersections and put car occupants and even pedestrians in extreme danger.
If you or your loved ones became seriously injured in a car crash, call our Milford car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. We represent clients throughout Delaware, including those in Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Georgetown, Elsmere, and Seaford, as well as communities in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County, from our offices in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware.
Approximately four people suffer fatal injuries in car accidents every hour across the nation. Each of their deaths leave behind grieving relatives, including some who may have relied on the victim for everything from companionship to financial wellbeing. In fact, certain survivors of deceased car accident victims may be entitled to file wrongful death lawsuits, usually with the help of a personal injury attorney. Winning a wrongful death suit helps them receive financial compensation for their loss by holding the at-fault party liable for the fatality.
A wrongful death lawsuit may sound confusing, but it can be easily explained as akin to a personal injury lawsuit. When a victim becomes injured during a car accident, the victim may file a personal injury claim against the negligent or at-fault driver. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the victim either died immediately or soon after the collision as a result of injuries. The victim’s close relatives can file for damages.
Every fatal car accident has unique characteristics. Nevertheless, many wrongful death lawsuits point to common causes that led to a victim’s death, including driver distraction, driving while under the influence, driver fatigue, aggressive driving, driving against the rules of the road, and even vehicle defects. Some contributors to highway fatalities, such as a faulty or defective vehicle part, can lead victims to pursue compensation from more than one at-fault party. For instance, if a vehicle’s airbag does not properly deploy, the airbag manufacturer may be held liable, as well as the driver of the vehicle that ran into the victim.
Survivors who pursue wrongful death claims by filing a lawsuit may ask for compensation for a variety of reasons. These can include pain and suffering, cost for medical treatment, funeral costs, burial fees, loss of household income, loss of inheritance, loss of consortium, and even loss of nurturing. A knowledgeable attorney can help clients understand which damages to consider based on the situation and their relationship to the deceased.
In Delaware, wrongful death lawsuits are limited to immediate family members. For instance, a spouse, children, or parents can usually file for wrongful death. However, anyone who feels they have a claim in a wrongful death lawsuit may contact a lawyer to find out if their status qualifies them to formally pursue this type of case.
If the deceased victim of a car accident in Delaware was up to 50 percent at fault, their survivors can still file a wrongful death claim. Delaware follows the rule of modified comparative fault, which means if the victim did not bear more than half the burden of negligence or at-fault behavior, the victim’s survivors may be entitled to compensation. The survivors must meet the burden of proof that the at-fault party was indeed negligent. Lawyers skilled in filing wrongful death lawsuits will make sure that all aspects of the crash have been noted and considered to obtain the maximum damages.
If your loved one suffered fatal injuries in a car accident, contact a Wilmington wrongful death lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow today. We will review your case and obtain the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. Located in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.
A fatal tractor-trailer crash occurred in Newark, Delaware that left one fatality and several victims with serious injuries. On Tuesday evening, around 4:45pm, a tractor-trailer operated by a driver from North Carolina struck three vehicles before overturning on I-95. A 61-year-old man from Middletown, Delaware occupied the first car and became fatally injured at the scene of the tractor-trailer crash. Two other vehicles were forced off the road and went down an embankment. The one SUV carried a woman who incurred serious injuries and her child who is in critical condition while the other driver and tractor-trailer driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
In some truck accidents, the driver may lack enough experience or training to adequately maneuver the vehicle on congested roads. Many tractor-trailer drivers work long hours and may be dealing with driver fatigue, which adversely affects their driving abilities. Accidents involving tractor-trailers oftentimes will result in serious injuries or even fatalities for the drivers and passengers.
If you or your loved ones became hurt in a truck accident, call our New Castle truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. We serve clients throughout Delaware, including those in Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Georgetown, Elsmere, and Seaford, as well as in municipalities in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County, from our offices located in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware.
A gas company worker has died as the result of a shooting that happened in Wilmington on Monday afternoon. Two contractors from Delmarva Power and Light Company were working on a gas main when they were shot. Each gas company worker was taken to area hospitals, where one remains but is now listed in stable condition. The second victim succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday.
Workers who spend their days outside or at a work site may be in greater danger of becoming victims of violence. While hazardous conditions may exist at any workplace and in any industry, recent reports of workplace violence mean that the danger of being hurt on the job due to physical assault or worse is a very real concern. This is especially true when steps are not taken to ensure adequate security for workers in areas where crime is more likely to occur.
If you or someone you love was injured at work as a result of violence, contact the Wilmington work accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow by calling 302-427-9500 or contact us online. We represent clients throughout Delaware, including those in Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Georgetown, Elsmere, and Seaford, as well as in communities in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County from our offices located in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware.
Demolition work is a particularly hazardous activity. It demands an extensive set of skills to safely bring down structures without damaging nearby buildings and people. Sadly, such work recently took the life of a crew foreman near Wilmington, Delaware.
A project to decommission an unused General Motors plant was underway when a tragic accident occurred. A cable being used to take down a steel beam snapped under the weight of the beam. The cable hit the foreman in the head and body, and he died almost immediately from those injuries.
An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection is always performed to investigate workplace fatalities. Findings of the inspection will be released, and citations issued if violations of safety and health laws are found.
OSHA is tasked with enforcing safety and health laws and rules designed to protect workers from unsafe or unhealthy workplaces. OSHA can issue civil citations to employers found in violation of its standards. If during an inspection they find an employer’s conduct was either an egregious or a willful violation of the law, it can also impose heightened fines.
Federal and state-based safety and health programs have a combined workforce of about 2,100 inspectors. There are approximately eight million worksites in the nation employing over 130 million workers. That means there is one compliance officer for every 59,000 workers.
Despite its small size OSHA is still having a positive impact. In the more than 40 years since OSHA’s creation, the rate of workplace injuries and fatalities has gone down.
However, with recent budget cuts the agency has had to do more with less. At the same time, the rate of workplace injuries and illnesses has begun to creep up again.
In one recent year over 5,000 workers were killed on the job. This means nearly 14 workers are killed on the job every single day. Even a single death on the job is one too many.
Making the target of zero workplace fatalities a reality is something many employers and their employees strive for. OSHA keeps track of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities that are work-related.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2016 the top three jobs with the highest rates of fatalities are:
First line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers have the ninth highest rate of fatalities.
If negligence or misconduct by an employer resulted in dangerous workplace conditions that caused a worker to die on the job, then the surviving family will be able to seek to recover pecuniary damages for wrongful death.
To prevail in a wrongful death case, the evidence must prove the employer’s negligence and that it caused the death, and that the family was financially harmed. States differ in the statute of limitations imposed on such cases. A wrongful death claim in Delaware must be filled within two years of the relevant death.
Dealing with an untimely death is emotionally and financially draining. It is not easy to begin a lawsuit during this stressful time. Yet the consequences of not filing in a timely manner can also be devastating. Allow the experienced New Castle wrongful death attorneys at Rhoades & Morrow to help you determine whether filing a wrongful death case is in your best interests. Call our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500, our Bear office at 302-834-8484, or our Milford office at 302-422-6705 or fill out an online contact form. We serve clients in Elsmere, Seaford, and across Delaware.
Working in the construction industry presents significant risks to its workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that over 18 percent of all workplace deaths in this country happen to construction employees.
In situations involving fatal construction accidents that were caused by another’s negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate.
In most cases, wrongful death suits are initiated on the behalf of any surviving family members, or any other parties affected emotionally and/or financially by the loss. The cases are brought against defendants that have contributed to or caused a person’s death though intentional harm or negligence.
These lawsuits can be undertaken by surviving spouses, parents of minor children, and minors that lose their parents.
If the surviving person is an adult child, sibling, other close relative, or life partner, suing for a wrongful death can become more complicated. Laws vary by state, but it must be shown that the survivor was at least in part financially dependent on the victim.
There are many kinds of personal injury cases that can become wrongful death claims. If the victim is killed on purpose, as in a murder, this would be an intentional act. Other examples include car accident deaths caused by negligent drivers, and medical malpractice suits.
OSHA points out that construction site fatalities commonly fall into certain categories. Electrocutions caused by power surges can occur if the work is not properly grounded and managed. Collapsed buildings can be deadly to workers; they can be crushed or fatally injured by falling or flying debris. Falls from rooftops, ladders, scaffolding, and high elevations also contribute to wrongful deaths.
Work-related construction accidents and injuries that lead to death may be required to go through the company’s Workers’ Compensation insurance; this may impact the amount of damages received. These regulations vary by state.
To prove liability in a construction accident wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff has to show that the defendant was responsible for the victim’s safety, but was negligent in this respect. The defendant also must show that this negligence directly caused the victim’s death, which caused the damages they need to recoup.
There are two main areas for damages:
Losing a loved one is traumatic, and is only made worse if it is due to another’s negligence. You need not suffer alone; call a Milford wrongful death lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. We provide compassionate, experienced counsel in personal injury, Workers’ Compensation, and wrongful death cases. Contact us today by filling out an online form or call our offices in Milford at 302-422-6702, Bear at 302-834-8484, or Wilmington at 302-427-9500. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware, including Elsmere and Seaford.
The United States Department of Labor reports that around 8,000 injuries are reported at poultry processing plants across the country every year. In October, a 59-year-old man died while replacing a pallet jack battery at southern Delaware chicken processing plant Allen Harim. His fatal work accident was one of a string of safety violations at chicken plants throughout the state in recent years.
Allen Harim had received over a dozen Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) worker safety violations over the past few years, raising questions about how safe poultry processing plant workers really are, and what can be done to better protect them on the job.
In 2015, OSHA reprimanded Allen Harim’s operators, accusing them of not just failing to report worker injuries, but of also lacking the “proper medical oversight” to protect employees. They agency called medical management practices at the plant so inadequate that they created “fear and distrust” among workers.
Some of the problems OSHA found at Allen Harim include:
In response to these violations, OSHA proposed $38,000 in penalties – an amount which Allen Harim challenged. A year later, The United States Department of Labor, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 27, and Allen Harim reached a settlement. Allen Harim would pay one-third of the proposed fines and agree to upgrade equipment and revisit employee training.
The settlement’s conditions included a nonadmission of guilt on behalf of the poultry plant. A spokesperson for the Delmarva Poultry Industry asserts that injury rates among chicken processing workers are much lower than other agricultural industries.
Based on OSHA’s findings, Delaware’s chicken plant workers do not seem to be protected as well as they could or should be on the job. Surviving loved ones of workers who are killed on the job have legal recourse to seek accountability for a loved one’s fatal work accident.
The loss of a family member impacts their survivors emotionally, physically, and financially. The goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to hold negligent parties liable for a loved one’s death, and recover financial compensation for their loss. The first step in a wrongful death suit is to demonstrate a third party’s responsibility for a preventable fatal accident.
Compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit is calculated based on the estimated financial loss a loved one’s passing will cost a family over time, in addition to non-economic losses like love, support, and companionship.
Wilmington work injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow know what it takes to demonstrate liability in a wrongful death lawsuit. With our network of investigators and accident reconstruction specialists, we work to seek justice on behalf of your loved one. In addition to work accidents, we handle wrongful death suits for victims of car and truck accidents, defective products, and medical malpractice.
To learn more about your legal options and the best next step after a family member’s preventable fatality, schedule a consultation by calling 302-427-9500 or contact us online. Our team of compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys proudly represent clients throughout the state of Delaware, including Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Georgetown, Elsmere and Seaford, as well communities in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.
A head-on collision with a DART bus injured six victims and fatally injured a driver. On Wednesday morning, around 7am, in Newark, Delaware the DART bus and a car collided at the intersection of South College Avenue and West Chestnut Hill Road. The driver of the car succumbed to his fatal injuries at the Christiana Hospital while the bus driver sustained no injuries. Six individuals went to the hospital for medical treatment of their injuries.
Head-on collisions oftentimes result in serious injuries or fatalities for any parties involved. These types of accidents may occur due to distracted driving, speeding, intoxicated driving, or drivers who become lost and drive the wrong way. When one of the vehicles is a large bus, the weight and size of the bus contribute to the severity of the accident.
If you or your loved ones became injured in a bus accident, contact our Bear bus accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. With offices located in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Delaware including Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Georgetown, Elsmere, and Seaford, as well communities in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.
Construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that nearly one-quarter of all private sector worker deaths happened in construction.
More than 60 percent of these accidents were caused by the “fatal four” hazards. OSHA estimates that by eliminating these fatal four risks, we could save 631 lives every year.
OSHA’s “Fatal Four” construction accidents are:
Falls: Many construction workers find themselves high off the ground every day on roofs, scaffolds, ladders, and windows. Falls can leave victims with cuts, bruises, broken bones, head, neck and spine injuries, and even death. Personal arrest systems, guardrails, and safety nets are all effective in either preventing falls or protecting construction workers if they should fall.
Being Struck-by Objects: In 2016, 96 construction workers were killed after being struck-by an object. To address this common construction risk, OSHA established regulations to protect workers with canopies, guardrails, and screens designed to contain falling objects or protect workers from being struck-by moving parts and equipment.
Electrocutions: Electrocutions accounted for 8.3 percent of all fatal construction accidents in 2016. Employers are required per OSHA standards to prevent workers from coming in contact with hazards which are known to pose a risk of physical harm or death to workers, including electric shock, electrocution, fires, and explosions.
Caught In/between Accidents: Construction workers can find themselves caught in or between equipment, building materials, and trenches, resulting in broken bones, amputations, and even death. Loose clothing, hair and jewelry can potentially get caught in/between the moving parts of machinery, resulting in catastrophic injuries.
If you are the victim of an unfortunate work-related accident, you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, regardless of who is at fault. The purpose of Workers’ Compensation benefits is to help injured workers replace lost income while they are unable to work, and to pay for medical bills incurred after a work accident.
After a work accident, it is important to seek medical help immediately. Even if you do not have apparent injuries, you may still be hurt. Internal injuries are not always obvious to the naked eye.
Notify your employer about your accident right away. Keep all documentation related to your accident and injuries, including photos of the accident scene, witness testimony, and medical reports. This information is useful for your Workers’ Compensation claim.
The next step is to contact a Wilmington work injury lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow who has extensive experience managing complex Workers’ Compensation claims. We understand the claims process, what is needed to prove a claim, and how to appeal a denied claim if necessary. No one likes to think about getting hurt on the construction site, but the reality is accidents do happen.
Schedule a consultation by calling 302-427-9500 or contact us online to get started today. We have locations in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford to serve clients throughout Delaware.
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The situation regarding the COVID-19 virus changes daily. During this uncertain time, we can assure you that the team at Rhoades & Morrow continues to focus on helping our current clients as well as assisting new clients.
We know that legal questions still arise, and we are here to answer your questions and provide the trusted guidance that you have come to expect from us over the years. To ensure the health and safety of our staff and our clients, we are conducting virtual consultations via Zoom and by telephone. We also have the ability to exchange documents via secure e-mail.
We look forward to hearing from you. Stay safe and healthy.