3 Things You Need To Know About Infant Wrongful Death Suits

Law Blog

If your infant died due to what you feel was the negligence of a medical professional or facility, you may have grounds to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your child against the offending party. Here are a few things you need to understand about pursuing an infant wrongful death claim.

#1 The Parents Have To File The Lawsuit

If the mother survived the birth process, and the father is alive, generally one of the parents has to file the lawsuit.

Another family member, such as the paternal or maternal grandparents, can generally only file a wrongful death suit in the absence of parents. So, if the mother dies during childbirth and the father is deceased or not identified, the grandparents may file the lawsuit. 

A wrongful death attorney can let you know who exactly can file an infant wrongful death claim and in what instances this may occur. 

#2 Infant Wrongful Death Suits Are Civil Cases

You also need to keep in mind that infant wrongful death lawsuits are civil cases. If you feel that a crime has occurred, and that specific people should be legally responsible for your child's death, you will have to present that information to your local police department or prosecutor's office. It is up to them to decide if they feel there is legal grounds to go forward with a criminal case. 

If criminal charges are filed, they are separate from your lawsuit. Your lawsuit will proceed through the civil courts, and any criminal charges that are pursed will proceed through the criminal court system. Criminal charges do not have to be filed for you to file an infant wrongful death lawsuit. In your suit, you are claiming that negligence occurred, which may not be grounds for criminal charges but does not mean you do not deserve compensation. 

#3 Some States Allow Lawsuits For Stillbirths

Some states will allow you to purse a wrongful death suit if you deliver a stillborn infant. Generally, your infant has to be far enough along that, if they were born alive, they would have been viable outside of the womb. Although the legal definition may vary from state to state, generally babies are considerable viable outside of the womb sometime during the beginning of the third trimester, between the 24th - 28th week in your womb. 

If your baby was stillborn, and you feel that the medical staff either performed an action that led you to have a stillborn child, or failed to provide intervention that could have prevented your child from being stillborn, you have grounds to sue for damages. 

Be sure to check with your wrongful death attorney if this situation applies to you so that you can learn more about the legal issues surrounding this kind of lawsuit in your state.  

If your infant passed away and you feel that the doctor or medical personnel involved in their care acted negligently in any way that contributed to the death of your child, you need to discuss your case with a lawyer who specializes in infant wrongful death lawsuits. Most states have time limits on how long you can take to move forward on your lawsuit, so make sure that you contact an attorney and start the process as soon as you can. Contact a professional, such as Burgess & Perigard, for legal advice. 


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