Welcoming a new baby into the family should be one of the most joyful experiences of a lifetime. So when things go wrong, it is nothing short of devastating. There is nothing that can prepare a parent for the death of a child, and in cases where that loss should have been preventable, it is a bitter pill to swallow. When this type of tragedy occurs because of medical negligence, it is considered a wrongful death, and a birth injury lawyer in Knoxville can help you to pursue legal action.
Infants are extremely vulnerable in the first few weeks after birth compared to older children. Around 41% of the deaths that occur in children under the age of 5 years happen during the neonatal period, which is the first 28 days following delivery. A large number of these deaths could have been prevented. The most common reasons for neonatal death are premature birth, congenital disabilities, and unusually low birth weight. It is not particularly common for a birth injury to result in neonatal death, but when it happens, these are the cases most likely to be considered wrongful deaths.
What Causes the Wrongful Death of an Infant?
The wrongful death of an infant is the devastating result of negligence from the health care professionals tasked with looking after the mother and baby during the birthing process. Some of the common acts of negligence that could result in wrongful death include:
- Failure to properly monitor and/or read fetal heart monitors
- Failure to diagnose or respond to fetal distress
- Failure to investigate bleeding in the final trimester
Pregnancy is not without its risks. Many situations can occur that will put the mother or the baby at risk of birth injury and even death. However, medical professionals can resolve many of those situations with the proper intervention. However, if the provider acts negligently, the consequences can be dire. Some of these complications include:
- Prolonged Labor
- Placental Abruption
- Maternal or Fetal Stroke
- Maternal or Fetal Hemorrhaging
- Failure to Perform a Cesarean Section
- Incorrect Use of Vacuum or Forceps During Delivery
- Failure to Provide Proper Resuscitation After Delivery
- Failure to Consult Specialist Neonatal Personnel After Traumatic Delivery
Filing a Claim for the Wrongful Death of an Infant
Following the loss of a child due to medical negligence, the surviving parents or guardians have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased child. A birth injury lawyer in Knoxville can help secure monetary damages according to Tennessee’s state laws regarding wrongful death. These damages can cover a range of things, including:
- Funeral Costs
- Medical Costs Associated With Trying to Save the Child
- Compensation for Pain & Suffering
In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is one year from the date of death. Although there are some circumstances where the court may extend this, it is important to begin the process as soon as possible. This can be challenging during such a difficult time when you are grieving the loss of your child. However, working with an experienced birth injury lawyer in Knoxville can help to take some of the weight from your shoulders. They will take care of the legal factors with compassion and sensitivity, allowing you some of the space you need to grieve.
How Are Wrongful Death Cases Involving Infants Examined?
When a birth injury lawyer in Knoxville works with you to file a wrongful death claim, they will examine the events surrounding the death to identify whether or not there has been medical negligence at play. In some situations, a baby may be born following difficult labor, and a birth injury is present. Suppose the child later dies as a direct result of this injury. In that case, it has to be determined whether the injury resulted from medical negligence. For example, were forceps misused to deliver the baby, or maybe the healthcare providers failed to properly carry out fetal monitoring resulting in oxygen deprivation going unnoticed. Your birth injury lawyer in Knoxville will gather evidence to support your medical negligence claim.
Wrongful Death & Stillbirth
It is worth noting that medical staff are not always to blame in the event of a stillbirth. It would be necessary to prove medical negligence in order to claim wrongful death. For example, suppose a pregnant woman is in a car crash, and there is significant trauma to the baby resulting in stillbirth. In that case, it is not the medical team’s fault. However, if a baby is in distress and the doctor fails to provide medical intervention that could have prevented a stillbirth, they would be liable for wrongful death. In addition, wrongful death cannot be applied to a stillbirth before 24 weeks of gestation. This is when an infant is considered viable, which means it would be capable of survival outside of the womb.
No parent ever wants to have to face the tragic loss of their child. Still, if the unthinkable happens, it is important to have the right people advocating for you. When you choose Butler, Vines, and Babb as your birth injury lawyer in Knoxville, we will be a compassionate ear in your time of need while simultaneously pursuing and protecting your legal rights.
Butler, Vines and Babb is a leading law firm in Knoxville, TN, with extensive litigation experience in Medical Malpractice Law, Birth Injury Law, Trucking Accident Law, Personal Injury Law, and Business Law. Contact us today at www.bvblaw.com or call 865-637-3531.
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