A wrongful death occurs when a person or institution took some action, or failed to take an action, that directly lead to someone’s death. In the case of an infant, this may happen during childbirth or shortly after being born. It is a terrible tragedy to lose an infant, but even more so when it is a death that could have been prevented. If you have lost a baby in this way you may want to make an infant wrongful death claim for compensation.
Legal matters may seem like the farthest thing from your mind when grieving a child, but seeking justice and compensation is important. Punishment for the guilty parties helps to protect children in the future and getting compensation may not bring your baby back, but it will help your family face the future in spite of this tragic loss. A good lawyer can help you make a successful infant wrongful death claim for compensation.
Infant Deaths and Human Error
An infant death is always a tragedy. These little babies are precious, but they are also vulnerable. They are much more delicate that older children and adults, and even the smallest errors while caring for them can cause tragic consequences. As if losing a baby weren’t tragic enough, to learn that your child’s death was the result of someone’s error—the mistake of someone you trusted to care for you both—is difficult to swallow.
When a baby is born there are many things that can go wrong. There are many ways in which an infant may die during or after delivery. For example, a baby can become asphyxiated, or deprived of oxygen during delivery. An infant may also experience a traumatic birth injury from coming out of the womb or being manipulated with birthing instruments. Inappropriate use of forceps or vacuum extractors is a common cause of infant death.
A doctor’s failure to order a Cesarean section can also be the cause of a child’s death. If complications are suspected, it is a doctor’s responsibility to recognize that possibility and make the right decision about performing a Cesarean section. If the doctor is not careful and opts for a vaginal birth instead, complications could result in the infant’s death.
Shortly after a baby is born, there are plenty of other mistakes that can lead to its death. For instance if the child is born with a condition that goes undiagnosed, it could die from lack of treatment. A baby may also die if someone makes an error with medication. If the wrong medication is given, or the wrong dose is given, the consequences could be serious.
What Makes an Infant Death Wrongful?
There are so many things that can go wrong during and after delivery that can lead to an infant’s death, but what makes that death legally wrongful? There are three factors involved in proving that a death is wrongful and making a successful infant wrongful death claim for compensation:
- You must be able to prove that the person, medical team, or institution that made the mistake was understood to be responsible for your care and your child’s care. If your doctor makes an error and it is clear that he or she was caring for your child during and after delivery, you have met this burden of proof.
- You must also prove that the person or persons responsible for your child’s care made a negligent mistake. This could mean not ordering a Cesarean section when it was clear complications were likely or making a mistake with dosing medication, for example.
- Finally, you have to prove that the above error contributed significantly to the death of your infant.
Why File an Infant Wrongful Death Claim for Compensation?
Filing an infant wrongful death claim may seem daunting, and as a parent experiencing a terrible loss, you may not feel up to coping with this added burden. However, there are some very important reasons that you should file this claim if you believe that your caregiver was responsible for your child’s death. The first is that a successful claim brings justice for your child. Someone was responsible and that person should be brought to justice.
Another important reason to file this claim is to protect other infants. When someone is brought to justice for medical negligence, and punished, it forces doctors and other health professionals to be more careful in the future. It may even force an entire hospital to develop better safety procedures. These measures could save babies in the future.
Finally, filing an infant wrongful death claim for compensation can provide you and your family with much needed money. It may seem selfish to think of money at this time, when facing so much grief, but that money could help pay medical expenses and funeral expenses, and will help you care for the other children in your family.
How to File an Infant Wrongful Death Claim for Compensation
To file an infant wrongful death claim to seek justice and compensation, you will need expert guidance. A lawyer experienced in medical malpractice can help you file this claim and give you the best chance of getting compensation for the loss of your child.
There are statutes of limitation, forms to complete, and proof to collect, and a good lawyer can make sure it is all done correctly. Your lawyer will also represent you in settlement discussions and at trial if it comes to that.
Examples of Infant Wrongful Death Claims
Filing a claim for the wrongful death of your infant is tough to face, but it is important and there are many examples of other parents doing just that. For example, recently in Idaho, parents filed an infant wrongful death suit against a health care company and a nurse after their child died at just seven months old.
The mistake was made when the infant was brought to a hospital for treatment for a non-life threatening heart condition. A nurse used the wrong IV solution, a dose prepared for an adult, to treat the baby and the baby died as a result.
In another case a mother won a jury-awarded $10.2 million settlement in an infant wrongful death claim for compensation in Texas. Her daughter died just four days after being born. The doctor that delivered the baby was accused and found guilty of causing the wrongful death by using forceps to deliver her instead of performing a Cesarean section. The award was divided between compensation for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, mental anguish, and physical pain.
If you have suffered because of the wrongful death of your infant, you too could file a successful claim for compensation. It is so important to seek justice for these innocent victims and to get the compensation that will help you and your family move forward after this terrible tragedy.