Wrongful Death of a Child
When Medical Negligence Causes Death of an Infant or Child
Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience. These devastating events are all the more painful when the person lost is your child. Infants and children are just beginning their journeys with so much possibility and hope. When they are deprived of the opportunity to live a full life, the overwhelming grief can feel as though it might swallow you whole. Perhaps even more devastating is the reality that sometimes, these deaths are preventable. Medical negligence during birth or pediatric care can lead to wrongful death of a child. In these instances, you can pursue justice for your little one and hold the doctor, hospital, or other negligent party accountable for the unimaginable pain they have caused. As a parent who loses a child, a piece of your heart is irreversibly damaged. Nothing can truly account for your loss. But if someone’s carelessness or mistake contributed to your child’s death, you have the right to find out what truly happened and why through a pediatric wrongful death lawsuit.
Can I file a Lawsuit for the Death of my Child?
If your child died before, during, or after birth, or while being treated by a pediatrician or other medical professional, you may be wondering if you have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Although every child’s death is fundamentally wrong, there are certain requirements for wrongful death under the law. Wrongful death means that another party’s actions, or lack thereof, caused your child’s death. In the realm of medicine, a wrongful death defendant must be found negligent to be held liable for the death of an infant, toddler, or older child.
Negligence in a Childhood Wrongful Death Case
In any type of pediatric malpractice or birth injury lawsuit, the person filing the suit must demonstrate that the defendant(s) were negligent. This simply means they failed to provide adequate medical care. In other words, what would a competent healthcare provider reasonably decide to do in a similar situation? This is called the standard of care. In order to prove that a medical professional or facility was negligent, experienced wrongful death attorneys will call upon medical experts who can attest to the breach in standard of care. The next fundamental requirement is that this negligence led to your child’s death. So, if a competent healthcare professional could have, and reasonably would have, taken actions to prevent your child’s death, this is your grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Can be Liable for Wrongful Death of a Child?
There are many potentially negligent parties who may be responsible when a child dies. In some cases, there are several parties who failed to uphold the standard of care. Common examples of negligent individuals and organizations in pediatric wrongful death cases include:
- Pediatric practices
- Family medicine practices
- Urgent care centers
Child Wrongful Death and Medical Malpractice
There are a variety of medical errors that may lead to the wrongful death of a child. Obstetricians and midwives are often responsible for the deaths of fetuses and infants, while pediatricians and other doctors may be liable for the deaths of toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children. Here are just some of the ways in which medical negligence in child healthcare can cause wrongful death.
Wrongful Death in Newborns and Infants
- Failure to identify risk factors for birth injury that may cause death
- Failure to diagnose and maternal conditions like infection, gestational diabetes, or preeclampsia that result in newborn death
- Errors during the labor or delivery process that lead to fatal birth trauma
- Failure to recognize fetal distress
- Infant resuscitation errors
- Failure to diagnose or treat newborn conditions like Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) or hydrocephalus
- Failure to recognize a birth injury that causes death a few months or years later
- Medication errors
Childhood Wrongful Death
- Failure to diagnose or treat pediatric infection
- Failure to diagnose or treat meningitis
- Failure to diagnose or treat appendicitis
- Failure to diagnose pediatric cancer
- Pediatric pneumonia misdiagnosis
- Failure to treat childhood traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Medication errors
- Surgical errors
- Postoperative negligence including failure to monitor and premature extubation
New Jersey Pediatric Wrongful Death Attorneys who Fight for Your Family
With a pediatric wrongful claim claim, parents can pursue medical expenses associated with the child’s treatment, burial and funeral costs, loss of consortium (the relationship you would have had with your child), lost income while caring for your child, and the emotional distress and trauma resulting from your child’s death. Punitive damages may also apply in some cases. They serve as a punishment if the doctor, staff, or other negligent party showed extreme recklessness in the treatment of your child. It is important to note that the types of damages you may recover, the amount of damages, and the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim vary from state to state.
Please feel free to contact our attorneys to get answers specific to your state and your child’s case. With offices in New York and New Jersey, we serve Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Middlesex County, Camden County, and we consult on pediatric wrongful death cases across the country. Contact us online or call (866)-708-8617 today for a free consultation.