Experiencing a stillbirth is a devastating event, and many families are left dealing with emotional and legal questions in its aftermath. In Indiana, parents can sue for a stillbirth if it can be proven that medical negligence was a contributing factor. Understanding the legal avenues available can provide some clarity and potential relief during such a difficult time.

Lawsuits related to stillbirths typically fall under wrongful death or medical malpractice claims. These cases require substantial evidence showing that the healthcare provider failed to meet the standard of care, directly leading to the stillbirth. It’s crucial to consult with a legal professional who specializes in medical malpractice to navigate this complex process.

Parents pursuing such a lawsuit may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, and emotional suffering. While no legal action can undo the pain of losing a child, holding those responsible accountable can be an important step in seeking justice and closure.

Understanding Stillbirths in Indiana

In Indiana, stillbirths are a deeply sensitive issue with specific medical and legal criteria. Accurate diagnosis and legal definitions play crucial roles in determining the course of action for affected families.

Medical Criteria for Stillbirth Diagnosis

To diagnose a stillbirth, medical professionals in Indiana rely on specific criteria. A stillbirth is defined as the loss of a baby at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Physicians examine genetic, anatomical, and physiological factors.


Health complications such as placental abruption, birth asphyxia, and infections can contribute to a stillbirth. Autopsies and placental examinations often provide additional insights. Along with this, maintaining detailed prenatal care records is essential for a clear understanding of potential causes.

Indiana’s Legal Definition of Stillbirth

Indiana law specifically defines a stillbirth as a fetal death occurring at 20 weeks of gestation or later. Legally, this classification impacts how death certificates are managed and the associated rights of parents regarding burial and other legal matters.

The state’s statutes emphasize the importance of documenting these pregnancies, ensuring parents have access to necessary support. This legal framework helps guide families through emotional and administrative processes, offering clarity on their rights and responsibilities.

Legal Framework for Stillbirth Litigation

Indiana law allows parents to pursue legal action if they can demonstrate medical malpractice or negligence resulted in stillbirth. Key considerations include parental rights, wrongful death claims, and the need to establish negligence and liability.

Parental Rights in Cases of Stillbirth

Parents in Indiana have specific rights when it comes to addressing stillbirth legally. They can file claims related to the loss of companionship, emotional distress, and potential financial losses. Parents must act within the state-mandated statute of limitations, which often requires action within two years of the stillbirth.


Medical records, autopsy results, and witness testimonies are critical. These documents help clarify if negligence, such as improper fetal monitoring or missed signs of birth asphyxia, influenced the stillbirth.

Civil Actions for Wrongful Death

Indiana law permits parents to file a wrongful death suit if they believe negligence led to the stillbirth. This suit seeks to provide compensation for emotional trauma, funeral costs, and medical expenses. Indiana law categorizes stillbirth under wrongful death if it results from medical malpractice, such as delayed emergency interventions.

The parents must prove that the healthcare providers owed a duty of care, breached this duty, and directly caused the stillbirth. Evidence from medical experts often plays a vital role in these cases.

Proving Negligence and Liability

Proving negligence involves several critical steps. First, parents must demonstrate that the healthcare providers owed a standard duty of care during pregnancy and delivery. Next, they must show that the providers breached this duty through actions like improper treatment or failure to diagnose birth asphyxia.

It is also essential to establish that this breach directly caused the stillbirth. Collecting and analyzing medical records, expert testimonies, and other pertinent evidence helps strengthen the case. The burden of proof lies with the claimant to connect negligence directly to the stillbirth outcome.