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An infant wrongful death settlement compensates parents who lost a baby to negligent medical care. A settlement holds the responsible parties accountable. It provides parents with compensation for funeral and medical expenses as well as pain and suffering.
How Infant Wrongful Deaths Happen
It seems unimaginable that an innocent baby should die because of an accident or mistake. Carelessness, errors in judgment, medical mistakes made because of fatigue, and other factors can cause a vulnerable infant to die during childbirth or shortly after.
One common and broad reason for infant deaths is the failure of a doctor to order a Cesarean section. It is the doctor’s responsibility to decide when this surgical procedure is warranted to avoid a complicated delivery that could result in birth injuries, harm to the mother, or the infant’s death.
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When the doctor fails to take this step and the infant dies, it could be termed wrongful infant death.
Another common cause of infant wrongful death occurs when a doctor or other caregiver misuses instruments during childbirth.
Forceful use of forceps or a vacuum extractor can cause damage to the skull, head, and brain of a baby or may even affect the spine, and any such accident can lead to the baby’s death.
Other potential ways that this accidental but wrongful death may occur include misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a condition at birth. This means that the baby will not receive treatment. If the situation is life-threatening, the result may be wrongful death.
A mistake could be made with medication also, including giving the wrong medication to an infant or giving the wrong dose of the correct medicine.
Making a Case for an Infant Wrongful Death Settlement
For a parent going through the worst possible grief, trying for an infant wrongful death settlement may seem insignificant in comparison or even greedy and selfish.
These kinds of lawsuits and solutions are essential, though. They can provide a sense of justice and a source of money to cover expenses associated with the tragedy.
Settlement can also apply punitive damages, depending on your state laws.
Someone responsible for a baby’s death should be held accountable. A settlement helps push other healthcare professionals and medical institutions to be more careful and put better policies in place for protecting mothers and babies.
Winning an infant’s wrongful death settlement could prevent the death of a baby in the future.
What a Settlement Might Cover
What you can win in a settlement depends on several factors. The severity of the mistake or inaction, the pain and suffering of the infant and mother, and the extent of medical bills will be factored in.
Further, funeral and burial costs, whether the parents missed work and lost wages, as well as other important and individualized factors could also factor into the settlement amount.
Generally, there are two types of compensation awarded in an infant wrongful death settlement:
- Economic damages are explicitly designed to cover the costs incurred by the family as a direct result of the infant’s death. Economic damages include lost wages, medical bills, and funeral expenses.
- Non-economic damages are designed to compensate for things that don’t have a price tag: pain, emotional trauma, suffering, and loss of companionship.
Examples of Infant Wrongful Death Settlements
In one example of an infant wrongful death settlement, a family in Chicago won $8.25 million after a lawyer helped make their case. The premature baby born at the center of the lawsuit had been at the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, with a sodium chloride solution.
The baby was dosed with a solution 60 times more concentrated than it was supposed to be. The family won the largest settlement of its kind in the state.
In another case, in Illinois, a family was awarded $1.7 million after a doctor failed to recognize an infant asphyxiated during childbirth.
The baby was born with cerebral palsy and eventually died from brain damage and oxygen loss. Initially, the hospital denied wrongdoing but ultimately agreed to the settlement after the family’s lawyer proved negligence.
If your baby died during or shortly after childbirth and you feel that someone could be held responsible, you could be eligible to receive an infant wrongful death settlement.
To get compensation and the justice that comes with it, you will need to rely on the expertise of a lawyer who has a proven track record in medical malpractice cases.
It’s crucial that you select the right lawyer but also that you act quickly. You need to be sure that you don’t miss the statute of limitations and that any witnesses remember details of the event clearly.
It isn’t always easy to start a lawsuit or seek a settlement in cases like these. It takes courage to stand up to medical institutions and the caregivers entrusted with your care and your baby’s life.
Infant wrongful death settlements are an important way to help prevent future errors and tragedies.
- 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/