In the United States, there are approximately 6.2 stillbirths for every 1,000 live births. A stillbirth is the delivery of a fetus with no life signs, and it is often distinguished from a miscarriage by the point in gestation at which it happens—in most states the threshold is 20 weeks.
Stillbirths sometimes occur without any definable reason or fault. However, they are regrettably sometimes the result of substandard medical care. In those cases, the baby’s death should have been preventable. It is a tragedy whenever it happens, and it is something from which no parent can every completely recover.
Causes of Stillbirth
Though there is no way to give a complete list of the causes of stillbirth, there are some causes and risks that are more frequent and deserve special attention:
- Placental abruption
- Preterm birth
- Twins, triplets or other multiples
- Umbilical cord problems
- Maternal medical conditions (for example, diabetes and substance abuse)
Value of a Medical Malpractice Claim for Stillbirth
Courts across the country evaluate the recoverable damages for stillbirth cases differently. In some cases there may be limits on damages imposed by the state legislature (called non-economic damages caps). However, most states permit the parents to recover for any physical pain, emotional anguish and the cost of medical care caused by the negligence.
The most significant factor, of course, is the emotional anguish felt by the parents who have lost their baby. The exact value depends on a number of factors, including:
- The location (venue) of any eventual lawsuit, because different juries calculate the value of these harms and losses differently
- The degree of negligence (if the negligence is more difficult to defend, the claim has a higher value)
- The specific state laws regarding what is compensable
If your baby died before birth and you have questions about whether it was preventable, please contact our medical malpractice attorneys for more information at (440) 252-4399 or online for a free consultation.