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Who is held liable if a mother dies during childbirth?

While modern technology has made it much safer for Florida women during their pregnancies and deliveries, medical misconduct or negligence can still result in the death of the mother. Not only does this mean that the child will grow up without ever knowing their mother, the family may suffer emotional, financial and social hardships as a result.

If it can be proven that the mother died as a result of negligence and the family sustained damages as a direct result of her death, the remaining family members may be eligible to maintain a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital and other responsible parties. In most cases, the deceased mother's immediate family, such as her spouse or partner and child, may file the claim. In other cases, however, extended family members may be eligible to file a claim if they sustained damages caused by the death.

When filing a wrongful death claim against a doctor or the hospital where the death occurred, there are certain types of compensation that the family members of the deceased person may seek. These include any medical expenses, the cost of an unexpected funeral and income that was lost. Additionally, the family may seek compensation for their pain and suffering and for their loss of companionship.

If the mother dies unexpectedly during childbirth, it may be difficult for the woman's family to think about anything but their loss. However, if there is any indication that negligence was involved in the death, it is imperative that the family commence a wrongful death action as soon as possible due to the statute of limitations. An attorney may assist the remaining family with determining whether or not the family has a claim and provide evidence that their loved one's death was caused by negligence.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death of the Mother", accessed on Feb.25, 2015

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