After the death of a baby occurs while he or she still in the womb or shortly after birth, the family is shocked and numb. Parents have every right to ask questions, but there are times they’re not satisfied with the answers that they get. It’s not that medical professionals aren’t telling them what they want to hear. Accounts of events might be conflicting, or they just don’t add up. Questions continue to eat at parents, and some of them consult with us. Their souls are hurt. They realize that things out of their control can happen during the delivery of a baby, but their baby’s death seems to have been preventable.
Wrongful Death in Kentucky
Every state has its own wrongful death statute. Kentucky’s is found at Kentucky Revised Statutes section 411.130. The statute states that “Whenever the death of a person results from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another, damages may be recovered for the death from the person who caused it, or whose agent or servant caused it.”
Nearly all wrongful death cases are brought under the law of negligence. The wrongful death of a baby involves the wrongful act or failure to act of a doctor, nurse, hospital or other healthcare provider that deviates from the applicable standard of care and fatally injures the newborn. Even a midwife could be held liable.
Birth Injuries That Can Cause Wrongful Death
A wide variety of birth injuries or conditions can result in a wrongful death. Here are some of the most common of them:
- Anoxia or hypoxia.
- Placenta abruption or placenta previa.
- Rupture of the uterus.
- Jaundice and kernicterus resulting from jaundice.
- Use of forceps or a vacuum extractor.
- Brain and spinal cord damage.
The Statute of Limitations
Every state has its own statutory period of time for when a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit must be filed. That time period is known as the statute of limitations. Kentucky’s statutory period is short. Pursuant to Kentucky Revised Statutes section 413.140(1)(e), the general rule is that a person is allowed just one year from the date of a wrongful death to file an appropriate lawsuit. In the event that the negligent act or omission was discovered more than one year after it was committed, no wrongful death action may be filed later than five years from that negligent act or omission. It’s highly likely that any untimely filing will result in the lawsuit being dismissed forever.
Investigating an Infant Wrongful Death Case
When we investigate and evaluate a wrongful death case involving a birth, every medical record in connection with the infant is thoroughly reviewed. These involve records of prenatal care, the birth records and the records of how the child was delivered. The applicable standard of care to the circumstances surrounding the events will be considered, and a determination will be made as to whether there was a deviation from it. Then, another determination will be made as to whether that deviation was the cause of the infant’s death. This investigation and evaluation requires an extensive legal and medical background.
We’re aware of the fact that asking for the advice and counsel of attorneys in connection with the death of a newborn or infant can be painful. Parents shouldn’t be put in the position of having to bury their child, and when the fatality was perfectly preventable, the grief is justifiably overcoming. That’s precisely why whoever was responsible for that death needs to be held accountable.
Louisville Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are grieving over the death of your child, and you suspect that it was caused by the carelessness and negligence of a doctor, nurse, hospital staff or midwife, call us for a consultation and case evaluation with a Kentucky medical malpractice attorney from our offices. We’re not going to charge you a penny for that either. We want to hear what happened, and we can give the events a complete professional investigation too. If after our investigation, we’re of the opinion that malpractice occurred, we’re going to advise you of all of your legal alternatives. Should we enter into a retainer agreement with you, no legal fees at all are due unless we obtain a settlement or award on your behalf.