In the United States, stillbirths occur in 5.74 out of every 1000 live births. In some cases, stillbirth can be the result of medical malpractice. The Chicago law firm of Levin & Perconti can help you file a stillbirth lawsuit if you’ve suffered the devastating and preventable loss of a child before birth.
Stillbirth is a reality for thousands of parents across the United States every year. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 20,000 babies are stillborn annually. Sadly, experts believe that nearly 25 percent of stillbirths are preventable.
Medical negligence can — and does — contribute to stillbirths. If you’ve experienced the stillbirth of your child and believe that it was the result of substandard medical care, call Levin & Perconti for help.
You may have the right to file a stillbirth lawsuit against your health care provider, hospital, and birthing team. Our Chicago stillborn lawyers can help you navigate this emotionally-challenging process and fight to secure the compensation your family deserves during this incredibly difficult time.
At Levin & Perconti, we’ve been standing up to hospitals and negligent medical professionals on behalf of grieving families since 1992. Our national trial attorneys have won tens of millions of dollars for our clients in the process.
Money will not bring your child back. However, it can provide a sense of justice and help you cope with the unspeakable trauma your family has endured. Call our law office in Chicago, Illinois, to schedule a free consultation with a member of our compassionate team.
What is a stillbirth?
Stillbirth refers to the loss of a child in utero after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The loss of a baby in the first half of pregnancy is a miscarriage, while the loss of a child in the second half of pregnancy is a stillbirth.
Depending on gestation, stillbirths are either “early” (before the 27th week of pregnancy), “late” (between the 28th and 36th week of pregnancy), or “term” (after 37 weeks).
The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that about 40 percent of all stillbirths occur when a mother is in labor.
Is stillbirth common?
Stillbirth is more common than it should be, especially in an industrialized nation like the United States. In fact, the stillbirth rate in the United States is dismal when compared with other industrialized countries around the globe.
In 2005, the stillbirth rate in the United States was 6.2 per 1,000 live births. By 2020, the stillbirth rate had dropped slightly to 5.74 per 1,000 live births.
By contrast, the Netherlands had a stillbirth rate of 5.2 per 1,000 live births in 2000. By 2019, the number of stillbirths at 28 weeks or later had essentially been cut in half. The country’s stillbirth rate was just 2.3.
So why the disparity between the stillbirth rate in the United States and other countries? Other countries — and the medical institutions within them — took actionable steps to support and educate parents on stillbirths. Parents understood why stillbirths happen and how they can help prevent them.
In the United States, however, parents rarely, if ever, receive stillbirth education. Similarly, doctors don’t receive updated guidance on addressing a decrease in fetal movement or navigating a stillbirth. Without education and action, stillbirths will be a reality for too many parents across the country.
What causes stillbirth?
The cause of some stillbirths is unknown. Researchers agree that there’s uncertainty surrounding roughly one out of every three stillbirths.
However, one thing is certain: Medical malpractice can contribute to stillbirth.
A doctor’s mistake, lapse of judgment, or poor decision-making can result in the preventable death of a child before or during labor.
Causes of stillbirth include:
- Failing to monitor fetal movement during pregnancy
- Failing to identify signs of fetal distress
- Failing to identify Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IGR)
- Piercing the placenta during an examination
- Delaying an emergency C-section
- Failing to prevent an infection
- Failing to identify and address problems with the umbilical cord
- Failing to screen a baby for potential fetal abnormalities
- Failing to verify the safety of a mother’s medications during pregnancy
During the second half of pregnancy, women generally visit their OB-GYN frequently. In the last weeks of pregnancy, trips to the doctor can happen weekly. During these visits, doctors perform tests and scans to assess the health and strength of the growing child.
If, at any point in time, the doctor overlooks a potential issue or fails to look for potential signs of fetal distress, they might be considered negligent.
Negligence — or medical malpractice — can be the grounds for a lawsuit if a child is stillborn or suffers other birth injuries as a result.
Can I file a medical malpractice lawsuit after a stillbirth?
Potentially. Not all stillbirths are caused by medical malpractice. However, there’s growing concern that negligent medical care contributes to avoidable instances of stillbirth in the United States.
You might have the right to file a stillbirth medical malpractice lawsuit if your doctor or health care team failed to meet accepted standards of care.
In Illinois, the standard of care in medical malpractice is “the same degree of knowledge, skill and ability as an ordinarily careful professional would exercise under similar circumstances.”
Would another doctor have done something differently and caught the problem before it resulted in the premature death of your child? If so, your doctor might be considered negligent and liable for the stillbirth of your child.
Your attorney will have the burden of proving that your doctor breached the standard of care owed to you and, as a result, your child was stillborn.
How long do I have to file a stillbirth lawsuit in Illinois?
In Illinois, the statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases is two years. This gives you until the second anniversary of your child’s stillbirth to file a lawsuit and seek compensation from your negligent health care provider.
Furthermore, statutes of limitations vary by state. We represent clients throughout the nation and will discuss your state’s statutes and the details of your specific case during your initial consultation.
Two years can go by quickly, especially while you’re actively grieving the loss of a child. It’s important to act quickly, so call our medical malpractice attorneys in Chicago to discuss your legal rights and options today.
Call Levin & Perconti for Help if You’ve Endured a Stillbirth Due to Medical Negligence in Chicago
A stillbirth lawsuit can be a stressful, time-consuming, and challenging endeavor. It’s certainly not something you’ll want to take on by yourself while you’re grieving the loss of your child.
That’s why Levin & Perconti should be your first call for help. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers and national birth injury team can help you file a stillbirth lawsuit and seek financial justice for the preventable death of your child.
We’re advocates for justice, and we strive to make a genuine and meaningful difference in the lives of every client we represent. Our law firm is ready to invest the time, resources, and experience your stillborn lawsuit needs to be successful.
Contact our law office in Chicago, Illinois, to arrange a time to speak with a member of our compassionate legal team. No matter the time of day, we’re here to provide the guidance and support you need.
Not only were they so professional but also so caring and thoughtful. It was very difficult going over the facts in our mother's case but they were so compassionate and understanding and allowed us to be with them every step of the way. We were able to sit in on the depositions and we were really able to see how hard they worked on our behalf.