Wrongful death is something that no one plans for, and when it happens, the unforeseen catastrophe can leave families not only emotionally distraught, but financially strapped as the medical bills and funeral expenses begin to add up. Yet, if your loss is due to the careless actions of your physician, the medical staff, or anyone else responsible, you have the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party or parties.
You’ll need an experienced wrongful death lawyer. Oftentimes, parents who lose a child don’t know where to turn to help them afford the mounting medical bills, funeral expenses, and burial costs. However, if you lost your baby due to the negligence of your physician, someone on the medical staff, or any other liable party, you have the right to retain the services of a wrongful death lawyer and file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Do I Need an Infant Wrongful Death Lawyer?
So many families who are the victims of wrongful death don’t realize how helpful it is to have a wrongful death lawyer. In fact, they often don’t realize that they need a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit can be a healthy step forward that helps to control the grief and also stops the responsible party from performing the same accident on another unsuspecting family.
Additionally, a wrongful death lawsuit can help you to pay for the unforeseen medical bills and funeral expenses. Correspondingly, a wrongful death lawyer can really help you to navigate the lawsuit process, including everything from collecting the right documentation, to finding the right expert witness testimonies, to processing paperwork and guiding you through the trial process.
Infant wrongful death lawyers will also present the evidence and other pertinent information to the defendant’s attorney and go through the intricate discovery process. This is an often difficult and intricate process that requires the skills of an experienced attorney who has sharp investigative and negotiation skills, and someone who thoroughly understands your state’s laws pertaining to medical malpractice cases.
Should I Find a Birth Injury Lawyer or a Baby Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Lawyers specialize in different facets of the law, but in this case, you’ll want to find wrongful death lawyer that specifically specializes in birth injuries.
In addition, most birth injury lawyers represent wrongful death cases involving infants but not all wrongful death lawyers have experience in representing families that have lost an infant due to birthing injuries. When you’re searching for an attorney, make sure to ask specific questions regarding their past experience in dealing with infant wrongful death.
You’ll also want a lawyer who specializes in medical law and thoroughly understands the intricacies involved in infant wrongful death cases. Don’t be afraid to ask for credentials and examples of past cases won involving infant wrongful death.
What Do I Need to Do to Prepare for a Lawyer?
The best thing to do in preparation for a lawyer is to collect as much documentation as possible. The birth injury could span as far back as pregnancy, so collect any paperwork relevant to the mother’s or baby’s health as far back as the first doctor’s appointment. This kind of paperwork could include pamphlets, guidance on nutrition, any written-down instructions, check-in and discharge paperwork, hospital reports, medical records, or medical images (such as x-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, or EEGs).
You also should do your best to provide a written testimony of the event of the malpractice. If the baby was born with a birth injury and didn’t die until a few days later, record as much information as you can recall from the moment the baby was born with the birth injury.
For example, you should document any known physical trauma as well as how your baby behaved, such as high-pitched crying, absence of movement, etc. This is probably something that you understandably don’t want to remember, much less document, but it’s important to have as much information handy as possible for your attorney.
If you have friends or family members that observed something amiss, have those trusted individuals also record their testimonies. Giving your lawyer as much as you can from the outset will really help the lawyer’s preparedness and will be able to direct your lawsuit with an even more competent approach.
What Will an Infant Wrongful Death Lawyer Do For Me?
As mentioned earlier, a wrongful death lawyer is responsible for gathering evidence, interviewing key witnesses, determining the amount of compensation you’re entitled to based on the factors surrounding your case, and filing the lawsuit on your behalf. Once your attorney gathers all of the pertinent information, several steps follow, which include:
To get your lawsuit started, your wrongful death lawyer will begin what’s known as a “pre-litigation process,” meaning the initiation of the investigation into your case. This is when your attorney will begin to gather everything needed in order to prove your case, which can include your baby’s medical records, a list of witnesses, documents that back up your case, and more, depending on your case.
Your attorney will also inform the other party of your plans to sue, and negotiations for a settlement amount may begin. If a settlement amount can’t be reached, your case will go into the litigation process.
The litigation process entails formally filing a complaint against the party you’re suing. Once the complaint is filed, the defendant must respond in an allotted amount of time to the complaint. The discovery phase typically begins during the litigation process, as well as a deposition. At this point, your attorney will figure out if your case will need to go trial. The defendant still has time to negotiate a settlement, and in many cases, defendants will settle after the deposition.
If a settlement negotiation is still not reached, your attorney will prepare to take your case to trial. In most cases, you’ll need to attend the the trial, so it’s important to prepare yourself just in case this happens. The good news, however, is that the majority of wrongful death cases are settled out of court. In some cases, a trial will start, but the defendants will agree to a settlement before the trial ends.
How Much Compensation Should I Expect to Receive?
Infant wrongful death cases are extremely complicated and intricate. Your wrongful death attorney will factor in a variety of expenses, but since each case is different with its own individual circumstances, it’s difficult to determine what your case is worth. However, should you win your case, you can typically expect to receive compensation for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses associated with your infant
- Loss of parent and child companionship
- Emotional pain and trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life due to your infant’s death
- Physical suffering that your infant endured
Most wrongful death cases don’t allow punitive damages, there may be exceptions to the rule. Your wrongful death attorney can provide information regarding the punitive damages law in wrongful death cases in your state. However, if you are in one of the few states that allow punitive damages, you may be eligible for compensation for bad conduct by the defendant. However, the conduct of the defendant must be proven to especially reckless and beyond simple medical mistakes. Punitive damages are a way to punish the defendant for the uncaring, reckless behavior that caused the infant’s death.
Your infant wrongful death attorney will provide more information on punitive damages and let you know if it’s allowable for wrongful death cases in your state.
How Much Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Charge?
Although an infant wrongful death case is one of the most difficult types of lawsuits to take on, many wrongful death lawyers will try to make their services as affordable as possible. However, it’s hard to determine an average rate as each lawyer charges their own set of prices.
The good news, however, is that most wrongful death attorneys are willing to work on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee basis simply means that the attorney collects fees from a percentage of your compensation once you win your lawsuit. In other words, you don’t have to pay anything up-front.
When you’re going through the death of an infant, the expenses are exorbitant, and the average family generally doesn’t have the funds up-front for attorney fees. Many attorneys understand this, and contingency fees give you at least a bit of peace of mine during these trying times.
It’s also important to note that you’ll want to hire an attorney who only works on contingency fees, even if another attorney who wants you to pay up-front seems promising. The reason behind this is that attorneys who offer payment options on a contingency fee basis usually have the financial backup needed to successfully research and represent you.