While advances in modern medicine have made it much safer for New Mexico mothers to give birth to their children, there are rare instances where some do not survive the pregnancy or birth. While some of these deaths were caused by natural ailments, other deaths are caused by doctor or hospital misconduct. If it can be proven that the death was caused by such misconduct, the deceased mother’s family may have the ability to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In order for the family to be eligible to bring a wrongful death claim against the doctor or the hospital where the death occurred, there are three basic elements that must be met. First, the death of the mother must have occurred. Second, the death must have been caused by intentional misconduct, negligence or recklessness on behalf of medical personnel leading to medical malpractice. Third and finally, the deceased person’s family must have sustained financial losses as a direct result of the death.
If the above three elements are met, the family may seek compensation for damages in order to ease the financial stress caused by the death of a loved one. This includes medical and funeral expenses, lost income if the family relied on the deceased mother’s income to survive and lost companionship. In some states, punitive damages may be awarded as well if the conduct is found to have been particularly egregious .
It can be difficult in some cases to determine if a family has the grounds to file a wrongful death claim based upon medical malpractice. An attorney may assist with in obtaining expert evidence and testimony to establish that the health care practitioners failed to exhibit the required standard of care.
Source: FindLaw, “Wrongful Death of the Mother”, accessed on Feb. 18, 2015