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What Is a Wrongful Death of the Mother Claim?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 27, 2015 12:55 PM

If a patient dies because of misconduct by doctors or medical personnel, surviving family members may be able to recover damages by bringing a wrongful death lawsuit. And if medical malpractice causes a mother to die during her pregnancy or childbirth, her survivors, including the baby could file a wrongful death of the mother claim.

While these claims may look like standard wrongful death or medical malpractice lawsuits, there are some considerations to keep in mind in the situation that occurs when a mother has died before or during childbirth.

Who Can Be Sued

Like most medical malpractice claims, doctors and other medical professionals involved in a mother's care may be liable. For example, a doctor could prescribe the wrong medication during pregnancy, or a surgeon could act negligently while conducting a cesarean section procedure. If a mother requests pain medication, the anesthesiologist may also be responsible for her care and well-being.

An overlooked area in many wrongful death lawsuits are medical devices. If a medical device is defective or malfunctions during childbirth, the designer, manufacturer, or distributor may be liable for damages.

What Must Be Proved

Wrongful death of the mother claims also have similar elements to standard medical malpractice claims. In order to demonstrate fault on the part of doctors or other medical professionals, the plaintiff must prove:

  • The mother died;
  • The death was due to negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct by medical personnel; and
  • The plaintiff suffered some harm due to the death.

The harm could be medical or funeral expenses, loss of wages or companionship, or general pain and suffering.

When a Claim Must Be Filed

Any claim has a statute of limitations that limits the time you have to bring a case. Medical malpractice and wrongful death claims may have shorter limits, depending on what state you live in. If an expecting mother has died to due negligent medical treatment, you should consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible about your case.

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