In November 2010, a woman went to the Walgreens on Stony Brook Drive in Jeffersontown, Kentucky to get her prescription filled. She had been suffering with high blood pressure among other things and needed hydralazine to treat it. Unfortunately, the pharmacist that took the prescription from her gave her hydroxine, an antihistamine, instead. Because of the error, the woman did not receive the proper treatment for her high blood pressure for two weeks. By the time the error was found, she had to be hospitalized and she died soon after.
The victim's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit on February 15, 2012 in Jefferson Circuit Court. The suit claims that the pharmacist on duty did not counsel the victim on the medication. If he had, he would have noticed the mistake and the proper medication could have been dispensed immediately. Both the pharmacist and Walgreen Corporation are named as defendants in the lawsuit. Compensatory and punitive damages are being requested in the claim.
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed for numerous reasons. In this case, the victim was treated improperly because she was given the wrong medication, which is considered a type of medical malpractice. Fatal car accidents caused by drunk drivers, drivers under the influence of drugs, or other distracted drivers can result in a wrongful death lawsuit. A lawsuit of this kind can be filed if someone is killed by faulty products or equipment. A good example of this situation is the stage collapse at the Indianapolis, Indiana fairgrounds that killed several people. Deaths from nursing home negligence or abuse can also be cause for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death lawsuits are filed by the estate of the victim, most often a family member. The statute of limitations in Kentucky, which is how long the estate has to file suit, is a bit confusing. After a victim has died, the family has up to two years to appoint a representative and to file a lawsuit. Once a representative has been named, a suit must be filed within one year. So if a representative is appointed two days after the victim's death, the estate has one year and two days after the death to file a claim because a representative has been appointed. If the estate waits 18 months to find a representative, there are only six months left in which to file a claim before the two-years-after-death deadline.
Potential damages in wrongful death claims can also be difficult to understand. Lost wages are a major consideration in the amount of damages. They are not based solely on the amount of income the deceased was earning at the time of death. Other factors such as age, ability to work, and the amount of savings become part of the equation. Lost wage damages need to be calculated according to the deceased's ability to earn money. Lost income can even be included in damages when the deceased had never worked, for example, in the case of a minor who never had the opportunity to be employed. Other damages that can be claimed include funeral costs and punitive damages, which serve as punishment to the defendant to deter him from acting the same way in the future.
This information is just a general summary of the complicated facts behind filing a wrongful death lawsuit. If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, it is important to contact a Kentucky wrongful death attorney to determine whether or not a lawsuit can be filed on behalf of the estate and what damages can be requested. No amount of financial gain will bring someone back, or lessen the pain. But it may help with current and future financial issues, which will at least lessen that burden on those who are suffering from the loss of a loved one. The attorneys at Miller & Falkner have compassionately helped numerous clients through these difficult decisions and would welcome the opportunity to serve you.
Suit claims Walgreens gave wrong drug, causing death; Courier-Journal; Jason Riley; February 16, 2012