“Erin’s Law” Proposal to Remove Medical Malpractice Restrictions for Parents

Legislation Would Allow Parents of Adult Children to Sue for Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death

Online PR News – 01-December-2015 – Wichita, KS – Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) has proposed a bill that would allow parents to file a medical malpractice wrongful death claim after losing an adult child up to the age of 27. The current legislation in Wisconsin limits medical malpractice wrongful death claims to parents whose children are minors. Erin’s Law would hold medical professionals more accountable for wrongful death, and give parents of adult children the chance to seek restitution.

“Medical malpractice wrongful death is a tragedy that affects countless families across the United States,” says Bradley J. Prochaska, medical malpractice attorney of Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska LLC. “In order to better protect the best interests of parents and adult children, there needs to be complete transparency and accountability in instances of wrongful death in medical malpractice cases.”

The “Erin’s Law” proposal is named for 20-year-old Erin Rice who lost her life due to a misdiagnosis in the emergency room in 1999. Her parents were unable to file a medical malpractice wrongful death claim because she was not a minor. Furthermore, these restrictions also prohibit adult children from seeking medical malpractice claims after the death of a parent. Only minor children and spouses, or parents of minor children are eligible to file a wrongful death claim.

Legislators and lobbyists believe passing Erin’s Law will be difficult based on the history of similar bills being rejected by lawmakers. However, Erin’s Law brings public attention to an ongoing problem in Wisconsin. Doctors are not being held fully accountable for wrongful death due to the limitations placed on who can file a claim. Because of the restrictions placed on wrongful death claims, doctors in Wisconsin have paid out fewer malpractice claims per capita in 2014 than in any other state (Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel).

“Accountability in medical malpractice cases protects patients, and allows parents of victims to find justice after terrible tragedies,” says Prochaska. “Transparency in all aspects of a case also enforces the credibility of the medical industry’s code of ethics. This promotes compassionate patient care, and creates a patient/caregiver system based on trust and open communication.”