Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Stillbirths and Miscarriages

The negligence of medical professionals who care for pregnant women can have devastating outcomes, including stillbirth and miscarriage. While nothing can truly undo the harm done, taking legal action could empower you to start moving forward. The Florida stillbirth attorneys at Freedland Harwin Valori Gander can help your family seek justice if you’ve lost a baby due to medical malpractice during pregnancy, labor, or delivery.

Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Daniel Harwin

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Medical professionals who care for pregnant women have a legal duty to act with the best interests of the mother and her unborn child in mind. Unfortunately, not all providers meet this standard of care. 

When a health care provider acts negligently while caring for a patient during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, a stillbirth or miscarriage may happen. This is a devastating loss to expectant parents, and those who suffer such a loss have a right to take legal action.

If you’ve lost an unborn child due to the negligence of a medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Freedland Harwin Valori Gander is a leading law firm for stillbirth malpractice cases in Florida, and we’re here for your family during this challenging time. Our stillbirth attorneys can guide you through your legal options and provide vital legal support as you navigate your medical malpractice claim.

What Is the Difference Between Stillbirths and Miscarriages?

Stillbirth and miscarriage both refer to the death of an embryo or fetus during pregnancy. The key difference is the timing of the loss. A miscarriage occurs before 20 weeks gestation, while a stillbirth occurs at 20 weeks gestation or later. 

Approximately one percent of pregnancies result in stillbirth. A stillbirth may occur in the womb before labor begins or during labor and delivery. 

Some possible causes of stillbirth include the following:

Despite these known risk factors, the cause of many stillbirths remains unknown. In other cases, a combination of multiple factors may be to blame.

Understanding Medical Malpractice During Childbirth and Late Pregnancy

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional acts negligently and injures a patient. There are four elements of a viable medical malpractice case:

  1.   Duty: The provider owed a duty of care to the patient.
  2.   Breach: The provider breached that duty.
  3.   Injury: The breach of duty caused injury to the patient.
  4.   Damages: The patient suffered damages due to the injury.

The duty of care is a health care provider’s responsibility to act in a manner that one could reasonably expect from another competent provider under the same or similar circumstances. This can be tricky to define during pregnancy and childbirth, as a wide range of factors can influence the appropriate standard of care for a particular situation. However, there are still general care guidelines that apply to most pregnancies. There are also well-established standards of care for specific complications and risk factors.

Not all stillbirths result from medical malpractice, but malpractice causes or contributes to many stillbirth cases. If a medical professional who oversees a pregnant woman’s care fails to act according to the standard of care based on that patient’s risk factors, test results, or complications before or during childbirth, a stillbirth may result. 

For example, fetal growth restriction—when the estimated fetal weight is significantly below average for gestational age—is a known risk factor for stillbirth. The standard of care for diagnosed cases of fetal growth restriction is usually additional monitoring of the fetus’ well-being throughout the pregnancy. If this monitoring reveals fetal distress or further slowing of growth, early induction of labor or emergency cesarean may be necessary to prevent stillbirth. If a pregnant woman’s obstetrician observes signs of fetal growth restriction but fails to order additional monitoring, and the fetus dies in utero late in pregnancy, the obstetrician may be liable for malpractice.

Should You File a Florida Miscarriage Malpractice Lawsuit?

Stillbirths are often preventable. In contrast, most miscarriages result from factors beyond a health care provider’s control, such as genetic abnormalities in the embryo or fetus. 

In a small number of cases, a miscarriage might happen because of medical malpractice. This may occur if a pregnant woman’s health care provider is aware of a miscarriage risk factor and fails to take the appropriate measures to reduce the likelihood of a birth injury.

An example of malpractice-related early pregnancy loss is the misdiagnosis of a miscarriage. During early pregnancy, health care providers use ultrasound imaging to visualize the contents of the uterus and confirm the presence of a viable fetus or embryo. Sometimes, this imaging may be performed incorrectly or incompletely, and a doctor may wrongly diagnose conditions where the pregnancy is no longer viable, such as molar or anembryonic pregnancy. If the doctor then prescribes medication to terminate the pregnancy or performs a procedure to remove the supposedly non-viable fetus, this may result in the unnecessary loss of a viable pregnancy and could lead to a miscarriage malpractice suit.

Pursuing a Stillbirth Lawsuit in Florida: Steps and Considerations

There is a lot of nuance to stillbirth malpractice claims. A case could initially appear to be an unavoidable tragedy, but a more in-depth investigation might reveal negligence. If you’ve suffered a stillbirth, it’s worth considering the possibility that medical malpractice could have contributed to your loss.  It is important to hire a law firm that has experience in handling these types of cases and knows what to look for during an investigation.

The lawyers at FHVG have handled many of these types of cases, including a case against a large hospital corporation where a mother presented to the L& D department with pain and discomfort, the nurses and physicians failed to appropriately interpret the fetal monitor strip which showed a problem, she was then sent home and sadly lost the baby.

That’s where a stillbirth attorney comes in. They can carefully evaluate the details of your situation and help you determine if you have a malpractice case.  It is important to understand the standard of care when evaluating a potential case to determine if something could have been done to prevent the miscarriage or stillbirth.

Your attorney will begin the process by ensuring your case meets Florida’s pre-suit requirements for medical malpractice cases. This includes conducting a pre-suit investigation, filing a pre-suit notice, and waiting for the defendant to respond.

The defendant’s response may include a settlement offer—from there, you and your attorney can either negotiate a settlement without involving the courts or file a formal lawsuit, which could take your case to a trial.  There are many factors that go into determining the valuation of a case and experience matters.

Before your attorney represents you in negotiations or trial, they’ll investigate and gather medical records to demonstrate a line of causation between the provider’s negligence and the loss of your child. They may also gather other evidence, such as medical bills, to show the damages you sustained due to the stillbirth. Additionally, a skilled stillbirth attorney will collaborate with skilled medical experts to further support your case with a strong testimony.

Understanding this area of medicine is important, the lawyers at FHVG learn to read fetal monitoring strips, contraction patterns and intrauterine pressure catheter readings. Understanding the medicine is crucial so that we can advocate for our clients.

If the defendant rejects your claim, you can file a lawsuit 90 days after you serve the pre-suit notice. The biggest downside to litigation versus settlement negotiations is timing. A settlement could resolve your case within a few weeks or months, while a lawsuit may take over a year before reaching a verdict.

Why Hire FHVG To Represent You in a Stillbirth or Miscarriage Lawsuit

Freedland Harwin Valori Gander has recovered over $2.6 billion for our deserving clients in Florida and beyond. Our firm has been protecting the rights of malpractice victims for more than 20 years, and we can do the same for you. 

We understand the gravity of pregnancy loss. Therefore, we handle each case with the utmost care and compassion. When you work with us, you’ll benefit from direct access to a partner in the firm and the collective experiences of a dynamic legal team. We treat our clients like family. You’ll notice the difference this makes from your first contact with us. 

Stillbirth and miscarriage lawsuits often involve defendants from large hospital networks, but this doesn’t stop us from seeking maximum compensation. We have the experience, resources, and fortitude to take on these big corporations on your family’s behalf. Our stillbirth attorneys have experience on the other side, representing medical providers and their insurance companies. This gives us a unique perspective that you won’t find anywhere else.

Childbirth Medical Malpractice Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Do I Have To File a Stillbirth Malpractice Lawsuit?

Each state has a different deadline for filing a stillbirth malpractice lawsuit. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. If you live in Florida, you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit within two years of the stillbirth. Exceptions apply in certain circumstances, but it’s best to avoid waiting and consult with a stillbirth attorney as soon as possible.

How Much Compensation Do You Get for a Stillbirth?

No two stillbirth cases are the same, and it’s difficult to estimate the value of your lawsuit without carefully evaluating your situation. However, stillbirth lawsuits often result in compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses stemming from the stillbirth, funeral and burial costs for the baby, and lost wages. This may amount to a total compensation award ranging from several thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Case?

The best way to find out if you have a valid stillbirth malpractice case is to consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney with experience handling stillbirth claims. They can let you know how strong your case is and whether it’s worth pursuing legal action.

Stillbirth and Miscarriage Resources and Support in Florida

Losing a wanted pregnancy is devastating, no matter what caused it or when it occurred. Taking legal action is one of many ways for grieving parents to seek closure after a stillbirth or miscarriage. Other resources—often free of charge—are available to provide further support in coping with the loss, including the following:

Educational resources are also available if you want to learn more about stillbirth prevention and maternal health. The National Institutes of Health has a helpful list of stillbirth resources here

Remember, Freedland Harwin Valori Gander is here for you as you navigate the aftermath of your loss. Put our 20+ years of experience to work for you and begin moving forward.

Call us at (954) 280-8593 or fill out a form online for a free consultation anytime, anywhere.

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