Although the fertility rate in the U.S. has been declining since 2007, approximately 4 million babies are born in America each year. The birth of a baby is generally wonderful news; however, many difficulties that emerge during the pregnancy or during labor can result in the wrongful death of a fetus. This article will take a deeper look into the legalities involved with such a tragedy.
What Is Considered as Wrongful Death of a Fetus?
Wrongful death of a fetus means that the death was caused by the negligence or fault of another party. In the case of a wrongful death of a fetus, the medical professionals involved in the pregnancy or labor are the ones held responsible for their inability to uphold a certain medical standard of care.
In these cases, all states require the fetus to be viable at the time of the death in order for the parents to be able to take legal action against the medical negligence. The term viable is used to indicate that the fetus could have survived outside of the womb on his or her own. This typically begins at approximately 24 weeks after gestation, which is when the fetus begins to develop.
What Are Common Liabilities Involved with a Wrongful Death of a Fetus?
There are many things that can go wrong; however, medical professionals are not always responsible if the fetus dies. For example, if you were to get in a car accident, the impact from the accident may result in the loss of the fetus despite the medical professionals' best attempts at rescuing you and your baby.
For a wrongful death case to be filed, a wrongful death attorney will generally consider:
- Whether any negligent, reckless or intentional acts conducted by the medical professionals resulted in the loss of the baby.
- Whether an improper type or amount of drugs were prescribed at the time of the delivery that resulted in the loss of the baby.
Basically, the attorney needs to determine whether the medical professionals were able to uphold a certain medical standard of care. In short, the attorney has to determine whether the loss of the baby would still have happened if another competent doctor delivered the baby. The attorney will need to review all of your medical files in order to build a strong case against the medical professionals that are involved.
What Type of Compensation Is Generally Sought?
Most personal injury cases seek compensation for two types of damages: compensatory damages for both economic and non-economic losses and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages for economic losses aim to compensate the parents for any financial hardship or loss that they may have experienced as a result of the death. This may include additional medications and medical treatments that are required as a result of the death of the fetus and wage loss. Compensation for non-economic losses is for loss of consortium and for pain and suffering.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, are monetary compensation awarded to the parents in order to compensate them for the loss and to punish the wrongdoer.
When dealing with the wrongful death of a fetus, speak with an attorney immediately to determine the best course of legal action to take. Don't forget that you must file a legal suit within the statute of limitations enacted by your state, which may be anywhere from 1 to 6 years. An experienced wrongful death attorney can review your case to determine whether you have sufficient evidence to file a legal suit and to take care of all of the legalities involved during this time of need, so that you can be at peace when mourning.