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When is a Doctor or Medical Facility Liable for an Infant’s Death?The birth of a child should be one of the greatest days of a person’s life. However, when something goes wrong during the birth and the infant passes away, it can become the worst day of the parents’ lives. Losing a child under any circumstances is heartbreaking, but when that death could have been prevented, the heartbreak is even more excruciating. If medical negligence contributed to the death of an infant, the parents may bring a medical malpractice claim against the medical staff or the facility itself.

Who Is at Fault for the Death?

Sadly, sometimes a baby dies during or shortly after birth and there is nothing that could have been done to save him or her. Not every infant death is the result of medical negligence or wrongdoing. Medical negligence occurs when a doctor or other medical professional does not fulfill his or her “duty of care.” Medical staff members have a legal obligation to provide competent medical attention that meets the “medical standard of care.” This standard of care is defined as the level of care that a reasonably skilled medical professional of similar education and training would have provided in similar circumstances. For example, consider a scenario in which an infant passes away because the delivering doctor failed to address the fact that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. If a reasonably competent doctor of similar training would have noticed the problem with the umbilical cord and taken different steps to save the infant’s life, this may mean medical negligence has occurred.

Collecting Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case Involving Wrongful Death

If medical negligence leads to the death of a baby, a wrongful death lawsuit may help the parents receive compensation. The parents may be able to receive compensation for:

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Joliet Birth Injury AttorneyWhen a baby dies after at least 20 weeks of pregnancy but prior to birth, this is termed a stillbirth. Problems with the placenta or umbilical cord are two of the most common causes of stillbirth, and both of these problems can often be diagnosed via prenatal ultrasound tests. If your doctor failed to identify and provide appropriate treatment for a condition that led to your child being stillborn, you could have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit for infant wrongful death.

Illinois Law on Wrongful Death of an Unborn Child

Some states strictly limit the amount of damages that can be claimed by parents for the wrongful death of a child, essentially allowing recovery only for funeral expenses. Some states do not allow parents to make a wrongful death claim at all for an unborn child. In Illinois, however, the law states that parents can claim compensation for grief, sorrow, and mental suffering in addition to actual expenses. Illinois law also holds that “the state of gestation or development of a human being” does not prevent parents from pursuing a claim for

“the death of a human being caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default.”

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