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Wrongful death during pregnancy or labor

One of the most tragic types of wrongful death cases occur when, due to negligence by medical professional, a woman dies during pregnancy or labor. When this unfortunate circumstance occurs, her survivors (including the infant, should he or she survive the fatal event involving his or her mother) might have a cause of action to initiate a claim for wrongful death.

Recovery of damages is possible because the surviving family members are affected socially, financially and emotionally by the unnecessary death, and will continue to be in the future.

The most obvious loss may be to the infant who will never know his or her mother, but surviving children can experience psychological trauma requiring therapy to resolve. The mother's death can cause the household income to decrease, while simultaneously increasing the burden of other family members who must maintain the home and supervise other children. Pursuing a wrongful death claim can add to the financial coffers and make the difficult transition easier for survivors.

In order to prove a wrongful death claim in such circumstances, plaintiffs must show that the mother died, and her death was attributed to recklessness, intentional misconduct or negligence. The plaintiff must also prove financial losses resulted from the mother's death.

Some possible scenarios for a successful wrongful death actions include Cesarean sections on women with clotting disorders where medical histories were not taken or precautions not put into place. If a defective medical device was employed during the birth process that caused a fatal injury, its designer, manufacturer or distributor could be held liable.

These situations can be complex and fraught with emotion for the survivors. It is a good idea to consult with an impartial legal professional before proceeding with a claim.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death of the Mother," accessed June 19, 2015

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