This article has been fact checked by an experienced birth injury attorney. Sources of information for the article are listed at the bottom.
For any content issues please Contact Us.
There is nothing more tragic than the death of an infant, particularly a death deemed wrongful, that could and should have been prevented. An infant wrongful death lawsuit can be brought against the responsible party if you feel your baby’s death was due to medical negligence.
Causes of Infant Death
There are many potential causes of neonatal death, which refers to the death of an infant between the time it is born and 28 days of age.
Congenital disabilities, caused by various factors, can lead to death. Being born prematurely can sometimes make it difficult for a baby to survive.
Get Matched with a Leading Birth Injury Attorney in Your AreaGet Help Now
Then, there are potential complications of pregnancy and the potential for birth injuries, medication errors, and misdiagnoses that lead to infant death.
Preventable Infant Deaths
Many infant deaths are accidental or cannot be controlled or prevented. In some cases, though, medical mistakes cause a baby’s death, known as “wrongful infant death” or “infant wrongful death.”
The use of instruments during labor, including forceps and vacuum extractors, can lead to the death of an infant if a doctor used inappropriate force.
A baby can also become strangled by the umbilical cord during a long and complicated labor. Brain damage caused by asphyxiation during labor may be severe enough to cause death.
A wrongful death may also result from a doctor’s failure to take all steps to care for a mother and child.
If a doctor, for example, fails to monitor a pregnant woman in advance of labor accurately, they might miss a potential complication that would necessitate an emergency c-section.
If a baby is born with a life-threatening condition and is misdiagnosed, this can also lead to death, as can errors made in prescribing and administering medications.
Reasons to File an Infant Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The number one reason to file an infant wrongful death lawsuit is if you believe your baby’s death could have been prevented. The party responsible for your child’s death should be held accountable.
Holding healthcare providers accountable helps to make the medical industry safer. Your infant wrongful death lawsuit could prevent a future death.
Getting compensation for your lost child is another reason to file a lawsuit. You may not feel like making this kind of decision amid grief, but acting quickly on a lawsuit like this is important.
You and others who witnessed the error in judgment or malpractice may begin to forget the details of the situation with time. You can make a stronger case when the events are recent.
Proving Negligence in an Infant Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Your lawyer can help you decide if negligence or malpractice can be confirmed in your case. You will need an expert in this type of law and experience assisting other people in taking medical malpractice cases to court or a settlement agreement.
You and your lawyer will need to prove several things to make a strong case:
- The defendant, against whom you are bringing the case, had a duty of care. You must show that the medical caregiver that caused infant death was the person responsible for your care and your child’s care. Your attorney can assist you in proving a medical relationship.
- You must then show that this person made an error or breached that duty of care.
- Further, you have to demonstrate that the breach in care led to the infant’s death. The defendant may be one or more caregivers or maybe an institution as a whole, such as a hospital.
Compensation From an Infant Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you have a good case and an experienced lawyer, you stand a chance of gaining compensation. This can include economic and non-economic damages. For instance, you may be awarded compensation to cover actual costs like medical bills and lost wages if you cannot return to work.
You may also get compensation to cover less tangible factors such as emotional pain and suffering for you and physical distress for your infant.
In many infant wrongful death lawsuits, punitive damages are the costs the defendant is expected to pay as a penalty. This is a punishment and also serves as a deterrent. Bringing medical caregivers to justice and punishing them monetarily pushes the entire industry to be more diligent in their medical duties.
The amount of compensation and punitive damages awarded in an infant wrongful death lawsuit will depend on the cause of death, the extent of the error made, the accrued medical expenses, and other individual factors.
Amounts awarded, often by a jury, can vary widely, with amounts ranging upward as much as millions of dollars.
In one case, a family received $8.25 million after an infant died when a hospital pharmacy gave the baby a dose of medication at 60 times the prescribed concentration.
The significant error and the resulting suffering it caused warranted a substantial settlement.
If you have suffered the tragedy of losing an infant, and you feel that someone was to blame, it is vital to take quick steps to start an infant wrongful death lawsuit.
There are statutes of limitation on these types of cases, and difficult though it may be, moving forward is the best way to ensure that you will get justice for your child and your family.
- Neonatal death. (n.d.). March of Dimes | Healthy Moms. Strong Babies.
Retrieved from: https://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/neonatal-death.aspx
- Infant Mortality. (2019, March 27). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/infantmortality.htm
- Hospital Agrees To Pay $8.25M In Baby's Death From Overdose. (2012, April 5). CBS Chicago – CBS 2
Retrieved from: https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/04/05/babys-death-yields-record-settlement-of-more-than-8m/