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Infant wrongful death refers to a death of a newborn that passes away within the first 28 days of being born because of a medical mistake. It is a tragedy; the infant’s family will never be the same after this happens.
Neonatal death happens in about 4 in 1,000, or less than 1%, of babies every year in the United States.
It can happen for a number of reasons, some of which are not preventable. The most common causes include a low birthweight, a premature birth, and birth defects. A mother and her doctor can work hard to ensure the mother is as healthy as possible during the pregnancy, and her baby can still end up dying, unfortunately.
However, if medical mistakes led to a newborn’s death, then a doctor could be held accountable. If a doctor used inappropriate force when utilizing instruments such as forceps or a vacuum extractor during birth, then that could have caused the baby to die. Asphyxiation during labor could lead to brain damage, and ultimately death, and the umbilical cord could strangle the baby if the labor is long and complicated. A lack of blood flow could lead to the baby’s brain, heart, and other organs shutting down.
Infant wrongful death may also occur because a mother needs a C-section but she is not given one. Stillborn births could be classified as infant wrongful death as well in certain cases.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused an Infant Wrongful Death?
It’s notoriously difficult to prove medical malpractice. If it were easy to sue doctors, then everyone would be doing it all the time, and people wouldn’t want to become doctors. The legal system makes you jump through hoops to sue a doctor or any other medical professional.
However, with the help of a birth injury lawyer, you can look at the evidence and attempt to prove infant wrongful death if it applies.
There are different scenarios in which it would be relevant.
First of all, note that an infant wrongful death lawsuit could take into account the death of the baby, the death of the mother, or both. You would need to try to determine why the death(s) occurred and if the doctor could be held responsible.
For example, you may be able to prove that the doctor used excessive force with the birth instruments or they didn’t recommend a C-section when it was needed. Maybe they performed some sort of action – or failed to perform the right action – and that caused the baby to be stillborn. For stillborn cases, the baby must be viable at the time the stillborn happened, which begins at 24 weeks gestation. If it occurs before then, it would not be deemed a wrongful death.
If the doctor does not act quickly enough or is not monitoring the oxygen levels during labor, then a baby could lose oxygen and die.
Even if you believe the doctor did something wrong, proving it can be difficult. That’s why you need to call a birth injury lawyer for guidance with your case.
How Much Will I Receive From an Infant Wrongful Death Settlement?
No amount of money is going to make you feel better about the tragedy you and your family went through. However, it can help you pay for your expenses so you don’t have to worry about money right now, too.
If you prove that medical malpractice did in fact occur, then you could win damages for your:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
Since the loss of a child is so devastating, your damages could end up being higher than usual. You can ask your lawyer what kind of damages you can claim. Though they won’t know whether or not you’ll win or how much you will be awarded, they will fight hard for you every step of the way.
Settlement Offers in an Infant Wrongful Death Case
There’s no way of knowing what your settlement offer will be. However, your lawyer will guide you through the lawsuit process so that you’re aware of what’s happening at all times.
When you get in touch with your birth injury lawyer, be prepared to provide evidence including your medical records, photographs, witness statements, and medical bills. If you do not have evidence like your medical records, then you can ask your lawyer to get in touch with the hospital where you gave birth in order to collect them.
Your lawyer will then reach out to the doctor, who is the defendant, and work hard to reach a settlement. If you have sufficient proof, the doctor may want to settle instead of going to court, which could be a much bigger risk for them. It’s also time-consuming, so most people do their best to avoid it. But keep in mind that if you don’t agree to the settlement, your lawyer can always renegotiate. If you still don’t believe the settlement is high enough after the renegotiation, you can then go to court to try to get a higher settlement.
Why Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer?
Right now, you and your family are grieving and trying to process what happened. You don’t have the time or energy to fight with your doctor. It’s your lawyer’s job to advocate for you so that you can focus on healing. You won’t have to worry with the right lawyer on your side.
Infant Wrongful Death Attorneys
If your baby died within the first 28 days of being born, or they were stillborn at 24 weeks gestation, then get in touch with Gilman & Bedigian now. They are here for you and will get you the compensation you deserve in your infant wrongful death case.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.