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 are few things more tragic than the death of an infant; particularly a death deemed wrongful, that could and should have been prevented from occurring. Neonatal deaths are tragic, but even with our modern advances in medicine, they sometimes cannot be avoided.
Those that can be avoided are the types of infant deaths termed as wrongful. When someone’s decision, action, or inaction directly leads to a baby’s death, that person caused the wrongful death in legal terms. An infant wrongful death lawsuit can be brought against the responsible party, or sometimes against a hospital or other medical institution.
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, which are caused by various factors, can lead to death, being born prematurely makes it very difficult for a baby to survive. 
Then, there are all the potential complications of pregnancy and the potential for birth injuries, medication errors, and misdiagnoses that lead to the failure to treat a life-threatening condition.
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 inappropriate force is used. A baby can also become strangled by the umbilical cord during a long and complicated labor. Brain damage caused by asphyxiation during labor may ultimately be severe enough to cause death.
A wrongful death may also be the result of 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, a potential complication that would necessitate a Cesarean section may be missed.
If a baby is born with a condition that could be life-threatening and is not diagnosed or 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’s wrongful death lawsuit is that you believe your baby’s death could have been prevented. The person or persons responsible for your child’s death should be punished for malpractice.
Punitive measures help to make the entire medical industry safer. Your infant wrongful death lawsuit could prevent a future death. Getting compensation in memory of your lost child is another reason to file a lawsuit.
You may not feel like making this kind of decision while amid grief, but acting quickly on a lawsuit like this is essential. 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 with experience in assisting other people in taking medical malpractice cases to court or a settlement agreement. There are several things that your lawyer will need to prove to make a strong case.
One of these is that 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.
You must then show that this person made an error of some kind or breached that duty of care. Finally, you have to demonstrate that the breach in care led to the death of the infant. 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 be given 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, there are punitive damages, which 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 was awarded $8.5 million after an infant died when a hospital pharmacy gave the baby a dose of medication at 60 times the concentration it was supposed to be. Such a 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/