3 Things Grieving Parents Need To Know About Infant Wrongful Death Lawsuits
President Ronald Reagan once remarked that there are orphans and widows in this world, but there is no word for a parent who loses a child. He said this on the day he declared October to be National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a day of national recognition for parents who have experienced loss of a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects, SIDS, and more.
We are taking this blog to acknowledge the tragedy of losing a pregnancy or infant, but we are also shining light on another distressing way that parents may lose their child: due to the negligent actions of a medical provider.
If you have lost a child in this way (or another way mentioned above), allow our team to say how sorry we are for your loss. There is truly no adequate expression of condolences that can be given for a loss so great, but when the loss was a wrongful death, there is a way that parents can seek justice, and we want to help inform parents of their legal rights and options so that they can find that justice and closure they need to move forward.
Here are 3 things that grieving parents need to know about infant wrongful death lawsuits:
Someone may be responsible for your child’s death.
Filing an infant wrongful death lawsuit can’t replace what you’ve lost, but it can prevent what happened to you from happening to others and hold the guilty party accountable.
You only have two years to file a claim and take legal action.
While giving birth in the U.S. is getting safer for babies (the neonatal death rate has declined by 13% between 2007 and 2017), birth can be very dangerous, and there are many natural complications that can occur that can be fatal. Most of the time, a miscarriage or stillbirth may not be anyone’s fault, as hard as this is to hear. However, when the obstetrician, nurses, or anyone else who assisted with the birth performed an action that led to your baby’s death, or failed to perform a standard action that could have saved their life, then your baby’s death may have been able to have been prevented, and they can be held responsible. Parents who had previously believed or who had been told that their baby’s death was an unforeseeable accident may be mistaken.
There are many ways that medical professionals can act negligently when it comes to infant delivery and care. If they use instruments inappropriately – if they use too much force with a vacuum extractor or forceps, for example, or use these instruments when there is not a need to – then they could cause skull fractures or other potentially fatal injuries. If they fail to order a C-section when one is clearly needed, and the baby passes away due to complications from the birth, they could be guilty of malpractice. If the baby asphxiates during birth, and the doctors and nurses should have been able to anticipate the baby not getting enough oxygen and prevented it, that’s malpractice. If in the NICU, the baby receives the wrong dose of medication and passes away due to complications, that’s malpractice. If a condition goes undiagnosed, when it was routine to test for the condition and treat it, and the baby passes away, that’s malpractice.
Medical caregivers have a legal responsibility to monitor pregnant mothers, to recognize harmful and potential complications, and to take all reasonable measures to prevent these complications from occurring or from becoming fatal. When they don’t, and an infant death occurs, then they can and should be sued for infant wrongful death.
Some grieving parents may recoil at the thought of filing a lawsuit against their medical provider after an instance of infant wrongful death. They don’t want to be thought of as greedy or opportunistic, which is a common stigma that the media tends to have against plaintiffs. Money also may seem trivial in the moment compared with the weight of the sadness of losing a child, and in a sense, it is – no amount of money can ever replace the value of a life or the life you dreamed your family would have. It just can’t. But that is not the purpose of recovering compensation. There are a few reasons why it may be in your family’s best interests to file an infant wrongful death lawsuit.
For one thing, it can keep what happened to you from happening to other parents. If you file a lawsuit, the medical professional and their insurer are forced to deal with the consequences of their actions; there will be an investigation, and the incident will be reviewed and judged so you can get peace of mind that other people recognize what you have been through and who was at fault. Malpractice suits are public record, and in some instances of infant wrongful death, the provider may lose privileges or their license, or even may be criminally charged. This means that the provider is not likely to make the same mistake again with someone else’s child.
For another thing, the cost of birth and death is extremely expensive. The medical bills from the hospital or NICU, the cost of any end-of-life medical care, and the cost of the funeral and burial for your baby can add up to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most parents plan for a life ahead with their child, not for the costs of a funeral, and may not have the money to afford this out of pocket. An infant wrongful death lawsuit can give you the financial security you need to focus on grieving and healing, not bills.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years from the date of death in most cases. This means that parents who have lost an infant due to medical malpractice have two years to file a lawsuit; if they do not do so within this window, they likely lose their right to do so forever. It’s important to consult with a lawyer soon if you have lost a baby due to birth injuries or complications and you believe that someone may be responsible.
The Florida Law Group’s compassionate personal injury attorneys can advocate for justice to be served when you have lost an infant due to the negligent actions of a medical provider. We have recovered over $1 billion in damages so far for plaintiffs, and have a winning track record. Our Florida infant wrongful death lawyers will take the time to listen to your story, explain your options, and guide you every step of the way until you get the closure and compensation you deserve. You also don’t have to worry about paying us – we never charge legal fees unless and until we win a settlement on your behalf. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you during this difficult time in your life.