Stillbirth Lawyers and Fatal Birth Injury Attorneys Fighting for Parents in Washington, DC
Parenting is arguably one of the most fulfilling jobs in this world. Sadly, not everyone gets to experience this joy. For some, it’s quite painful as complications during pregnancy or delivery can result in the baby’s death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), out of every 160 births is one stillbirth. In total, there are 24,000 stillborn babies in the US each year. Though such cases mostly occur due to natural causes, there are situations where medical negligence is a contributory factor. If malpractice caused your child to be stillborn, a stillbirth lawyer at Regan Zambri Long can help you hold the negligent parties accountable. We have obtained justice for families like yours in Washington DC for decades.
Regardless of the cause, losing a baby is a devastating and traumatic event. This is especially so when medical malpractice is the cause.
Have you experienced a stillbirth and suspect that your doctor’s negligence is the cause? If so, you may have legal grounds to file a medical malpractice suit to hold the doctor accountable. Read on to learn more about stillbirths, when it qualifies as medical malpractice, how to find out if negligence played a role, and why you need a Washington DC fetal birth injury lawyer.
Regan Zambri Long offers legal assistance in cases where medical malpractice leads to stillbirth. Contact us today for a free, confidential case review. There is no fee unless we win you compensation.
Do I Need a Stillbirth Lawyer to Hold the Hospital Responsible?
Though both miscarriage and stillbirth describe the loss of a baby before or during birth, they differ based on the stage of pregnancy they occur. In the US, the loss of a baby before the 20th week of pregnancy is referred to as a miscarriage. If it occurs beyond the 20th week, it qualifies as a stillbirth.
Over the last few decades, accepted medical safety procedures and medical technology have improved significantly. As a result, the survival rate of babies has increased considerably. Even still, such occurrences are more common than ideal.
Compared to injuries sustained by the mother or baby during delivery, seeking legal recourse when a baby dies is challenging. The argument behind this is that an injured baby or mother still requires continued care and resources, whereas the situation for a deceased one cannot improve. However, as a parent, you still want justice for your child. A birth injury lawyer in Washington, DC will help with this.
When is Fetal Death Medical Malpractice?
Though sudden stillbirths can occur, there are often signs during the pregnancy that indicate distress. Part of a doctor’s duty of care is to notice such signs and take the necessary steps to safeguard the mother’s and baby’s life. If you strongly believe or have reason to suspect that your doctor did not act in accordance with the standard of care, reach out to a Washington, DC stillbirth lawyer. We will review the medical records with the help of medical experts in order to determine whether negligence played a part in the loss of your child.
Some of the possible situations where medical malpractice may be applicable are when:
- A doctor fails to consider the risks that result from previous medical challenges.
- A doctor does not follow the set-out regulations and procedures to prevent infection.
- Necessary screening for fetal abnormalities and risks or steps to address them are not taken.
- There’s a failure to diagnose disorders in the mother before birth.
- The doctor does not diagnose or follow up on the signs of fetal stress.
- A doctor fails to verify whether prescriptions issued during pregnancy are safe.
Was Your Baby Stillborn Because of Medical Negligence?
During pregnancy, women are required to go for routine checkups. During these sessions, the doctor inquires and performs assessments to ensure both the baby and mother are progressing well. If your healthcare provider fails to observe signs that the baby is in distress, they may be held accountable for negligence if that failure results in death.
Some of the causes of stillbirth cases where there is medical malpractice include:
1. Failure to Act on Reduced Fetal Movement
Anywhere between week 16 and 25 of pregnancy, the developing baby will begin moving. At first, the movements are subtle, and you only feel them when lying down or seated. As time goes by, such movements should increase in frequency and become more evident.
However, doctors’ failure to act on reduced fetal movement is one of the most common causes of stillbirth. Unfortunately, it may be a sign that the placenta is failing, and you need to take appropriate medical action.
2. Failure to Identify Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)
Intrauterine Growth Restriction, now referred to as Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR), is another potential cause of stillbirth that’s often not identified. This is a condition that slows down the baby’s development in the womb, thus exposing it to risks during pregnancy, delivery, and even after birth. They include:
- Difficulty handling the challenges of normal delivery
- Low birth weight
- Decreased levels of oxygen
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Low resistance to infection
- Low Apgar score indicating the need for special care after birth
- Higher than normal red blood cell count
- Trouble maintaining body temperature
- Maintaining body temperature may be challenging
The most common cause of FGR is placental problems. Health conditions such as advanced diabetes and heart disease may also contribute. At its worst, FGR results in long-term growth problems or stillbirth.
During antenatal appointments, your doctor can detect FGR by performing fundal height measurements. Failure to do so or failure to plot the growth of the baby correctly increases the risk. Should your doctor suspect FGR, they may recommend an ultrasound scan to confirm. Failure to take such steps makes the doctor liable if stillbirth or any other effects of stillbirth occur.
If detected, the only way to address FGR is inducing labor and delivering the baby early. There should be a comprehensive plan to care for and monitor the baby’s progress regularly.
3. Failure to Spot Placental Abruption
When the placenta comes off the wall of the womb, it may result in a condition known as placental abruption. As such, the baby will not have the necessary support it needs to grow. Placental abruption is strongly linked to FGR and pre-eclampsia.
Some of the signs of placental abruption include pain in the back, abdomen and womb, bleeding, and painful contractions. Unfortunately, doctors at times fail to take symptoms displayed during pregnancy with seriousness, allowing the abruption to cause more damage.
Understanding Stillbirth Law in Washington, DC
In most U.S. states, including Washington DC, stillbirths can qualify for wrongful death claims.
In states where you can file a wrongful death lawsuit, the baby’s age is a factor. Despite the prevailing circumstances of the case, the baby must be considered viable for you to be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The term ‘viable’ refers to the infant’s ability to survive outside the womb when the negligent act occurred. In most cases, the viability of a baby begins at 24 weeks. It is only after that stage that an infant’s death may be considered wrongful death.
However, in Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland, there is no distinction between a miscarriage and stillbirth. In the eyes of the law, all fetal deaths, regardless of the duration, are equal. This means you can file for a wrongful death claim even if your baby was less than 24 weeks old.
How Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Work in Washington, DC?
As a parent, having the joy and expectation of having a baby taken away is a horrifying experience. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit cannot compensate for your loss, but it can achieve some measure of justice and hold those at fault responsible for their negligence.
With the help of an experienced birth injury lawyer in Washington, DC, parties that have such a loss are allowed to file a wrongful death claim in the state of Washington, DC. Such litigation will be pursued in accordance with the Wrongful Death Act.
As per the Act, the statute of limitations gives you two years to file the lawsuit. Contact a stillbirth lawyer at Regan Zambri Long as soon as possible to begin the recovery process. We will guide you through the entire process and be your resource for whatever you may need during this difficult time.
What Damages Can You Recover from a Birth Injury Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Upon succeeding in your stillbirth wrongful death claim, you may receive different types of damages. The goal of such compensation is not to bring back or replace your child but to cushion your transition thereafter. It is also about justice and accountability to protect other families from such anguish by ensuring the guilty parties are more diligent next time.
Your birth injury lawyer will guide you on the type of damages to pursue, depending on the specifics of your case. There is no cap on how much you can receive as damages in Washington, DC. The judge or jury will assess the case and award an amount depending on the hardship you have and will continue going through.
Some of the things they will consider include:
1. Medical Expenses
More often than not, complications resulting in stillbirth often require emergency medical attention. Such procedures come with additional costs and risks. The mother may have to undergo an unplanned surgery for which there may also be complications for her. Any medical cost incurred, including subsequent ones, in relation to such emergency treatments resultant from the negligence will be considered in the damages.
2. Lost Wages
From the time parents realize that they are expecting a baby, they begin loving it. This is more so when the child begins to take shape and move around in the mother’s womb. As such, the pain of losing an unborn baby and that of a loved one you’ve known for years is similar. Due to grief and trauma, it may take some time for a parent to resume work. Any lost wages resulting from the time you take off work will contribute to the damages awarded.
3. Funeral Expenses
In Washington, you are allowed to make a reasonable claim for funeral expenses. It may include costs such as cremation services or casket, fees for the service, transportation, printed programs, and other relevant expenses.
4. Level of Negligence
With such cases, it’s not just about determining whether the doctor was negligent or not but also knowing the level of negligence. This will influence the judge’s and jury’s decision when awarding damages.
How Can a Washington, DC Fatal Birth Injury Lawyer Help?
A reliable and experienced birth injury stillbirth lawyer in Washington, DC will take care of all litigation matters and allow you to grieve peacefully. At Regan Zambri Long, we have attorneys with ample experience in medical malpractice and birth injury cases. Our team has more than 100 years of combined experience, and we have obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients.
To us, there is nothing more important than seeing our clients get the justice they so rightfully deserve. Have you been a victim of medical malpractice resulting in the death or injuries to your baby? Reach out to us today to get in touch with a Washington, DC wrongful death stillbirth lawyer you can count on for a free case review.