Wrongful death is an unforeseen tragedy; it is a life that is lost without having planned for it. This can be emotionally and financially hard for the family members of the deceased. The arrival of a newborn baby is one of the best moments in a parent’s life. A couple may have been trying for years to have a baby and are blessed with that joy when suddenly, it is just taken away from them. The parents of the infant could be entitled to file a wrongful death claim against the parties responsible when something goes wrong during pregnancy or during birth due to the neglectful acts of any medical professional that oversaw everything as being fine.
The natural cycle of life is when a child loses their parent, but when the contrary happens, a parent might not know where to turn to, or how to even feel. The last thing on their minds is seeking legal advice. A Florida infant wrongful death lawyer can help the parents of the child understand their rights and strive for their maximum recovery to assist them with the medical that will not be cheap.
How is Wrongful Death Defined?
When a person is negligent or reckless and causes another person to die, that is termed as a wrongful death. Wrongful death is something that is not expected. It happens from one moment to the next. For example, a mother and her child are crossing the street while the pedestrian cross light is on. A vehicle could not stop in time because they were too busy on their phones. The vehicle strikes the mother and infant, causing the infant to die. His/her death would be deemed as a wrongful death. If the driver would have acted reasonably and careful, this death could have been avoided. Because he did not, he would be held responsible for the infant’s wrongful death.
When A Child or Fetus Becomes a Victim of Wrongful Death
Parents are permitted to claim for their child’s wrongful death but that varies when it is a fetus that is killed. Some states allow a wrongful death claim of a fetus, while others do not. Some states do not require the child to be born alive before a parent can institute a wrongful claim, whereas many states do have this requirement. For those states that do permit a claim of the wrongful death of a fetus, the fetus must have been able to live outside of the womb on its own for it to constitute as a wrongful death.
Checking the state’s requirements where the wrongful death occurred is essential if a person wants to find out whether or not their state permits a wrongful death claim of a fetus.
Who is Held Responsible for An Infant Wrongful Death Claim?
The responsibility of an infant wrongful death or fetus can fall on various medical professionals. The main reason why a wrongful death occurs is due to the negligence of a medical professional. When a birth injury occurs during delivery or labor that leads to the death of an infant, medical professionals such as OB-GYN’s, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, among others, can be held accountable for their neglectful acts.
Birth injuries that lead to an infant’s death can also be cause for a pharmaceutical drug liability (if the physician of pharmacists prescribes the pregnant mother a drug that harms the baby) or a medical malpractice. Depending on the victim’s case, an infant wrongful death lawyer at Martinez’s Firm in Florida can help determine which claims can be filed against them.
Case Studies on Infant Wrongful Death
Depriving Oxygen Medical Malpractice
A wrongful death case that occurred on September 9, 1998, left a newborn baby dead after labor delivery nurses did not recognize that the baby was in fetal distress. This negligence resulted in the restriction of oxygen (3-5 minutes) to the baby. The baby could not breathe on his own and 3-5 minutes passed before an oxygen mask was brought into the delivery room. This wrongful death was caused by a medical malpractice and a $1.7 million settlement was awarded to the estate of the newborn.
OB-GYN Medical Malpractice
A woman was treated by an OB-GYN when she became pregnant. The woman did not know that she had acquired HIV and the OB-GYN did not properly test her for it (a doctor is supposed to test for all STD’s and STI’s during pregnancy). Her baby was born HIV-positive which is how she found out that she had contracted HIV. The infant had developed a full-blown HIV virus because the mother was never treated for it during her whole pregnancy. The baby died from the virus and due to the poor monitoring of the mother, not administering the appropriate tests, and acting neglectful, the mother was awarded $1.35 million.
Wrongful Death for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
In 2006, a newborn child developed Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy(HIE) during birth. This is caused by a loss of oxygen in the brain. 20 months later, the infant boy died from the complications of the Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy that he had contracted during birth. The nurses did not monitor the infant’s vital signs and could not recognize that the child was in fetal distress. The medical records of the infant boy indicated that he had scored very low on the APGAR test, had an acidotic level of 6.1 on the pH of the umbilical cord, had poor reflexes, had seizure activity, and was in fetal distress for over six hours. The family was awarded $2 million shortly after the infant’s 2nd birthday in 2008.
Infant Wrongful Death Statistics
According to the National Vital Statistics Report, these are some statistics of infant wrongful deaths in the year 2013.
- There was a total of 3,932,181 live births
- 23,446 deaths occurred during the infant stage
- 15,893 deaths occurred during the neonatal stage (under 28 days old)
- 7,553 deaths occurred during the postneonatal stage (between 28 days old and 1 year)
- There were 5.96 infant deaths per 1,000 births
- There were 4.05 neonatal deaths per 1,000 births
- There were 1.92 postneonatal deaths per 1,000 births
- Florida had 1,322 infant deaths in 2013
Why Should a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Be Sought?
Losing a child is a terrible tragedy. No amount of money can ever bring a loved one back, but financial burden can take its toll on the family of a wrongful death victim. The family can be awarded for the damages they received that will help them alleviate the financial burden that has come from this injury. Additionally, suing the person/s responsible for the wrongful death can serve as a form of deterrent for future mistakes. The family can be awarded for specific damages and general damages, typically financial and emotional damages. Some courts will apply punitive damages to some liable parties depending on how severe the negligence was.
Florida Infant Wrongful Death Lawyers Support Their Clients
No damages awarded can quantify the loss of a child. These types of cases are extremely complex as there are many laws and statute of limitations surrounding wrongful death claims. Along with helping the family receive compensation for their loss, the firm works as a moral support for the family. They are here to seek justice.
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