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Wrongful Death of an Unborn Child: A Complicated Civil Suit

Thursday, February 08, 2018

 

Wrongful death suits are a fairly common recourse for those who lose a loved one to an accident that should never have happened in the first place. Even if what happened was not illegal in the criminal sense, you still lost someone important to you, and there should be recompense for that. It's hard enough when the loss is a partner or a parent, but when it's a child that loss can be devastating. Even worse, perhaps, is the loss of an unborn child. Worse, that kind of wrongful death is rarely the kind of open and shut case a parent may be expecting. Which is why if you're planning on pursuing a suit for the wrongful death of an unborn child, you should know what you're getting into.


The Basics of Wrongful Death

According to The Free Legal Dictionary, the idea of a wrongful death suit is pretty straightforward. It is defined as, "the taking of the life of an individual resulting from the willful or negligent act of another person or persons."

That might sound complicated, but in legal terms, it's actually quite simple. In order for a suit like this to be brought, someone has to die, and that death has to be the direct result of another person's (or persons') willful act or negligence. So, for example, if someone gets behind the wheel, and then an axle breaks, resulting in a car accident that causes a death, that was not a deliberate action by the driver. It was a technical malfunction that led to an unfortunate result. In another scenario, though, say the car was in perfect working order, but the driver was impaired. Perhaps he was too tired to operate his vehicle effectively, or he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Because he chose to get into the vehicle, and the accident was a result of that impairment, that means the resulting death could be considered a wrongful death.

Life is rarely so straightforward, though. Determining the wrongful death of an independent person, child or adult, is hard enough. When we try to determine the wrongful death of an unborn child, though, things get complicated.

Wrongful Death of an Unborn Child

In order for a wrongful death suit to have any chance of success, there has to be a clear line drawn between the incident in question, and the resulting death. Take the impaired driving example above. If there was a child in a car seat, and that child died as a result of the accident, that would be a clear case for a wrongful death suit. The child was just fine before the accident, caused by the deliberate actions of another person.

When we start bringing in unborn children, though, a slew of other factors get involved in the case. First and foremost is the question of whether or not an unborn child is a person in the eyes of the law. This will vary from state to state, and it's important to review the jurisdiction where the incident occurred. According to the Sacramento Injury Attorneys Blog, 40 states currently have laws that recognize an unborn child in the case of a wrongful death lawsuit, but each law has its own specifics that must be met in order for the case to be considered valid.

The next difficulty is proving that it was this particular act which led to the unborn child's death. This is significantly more complicated because there are dozens of factors that can lead to the premature termination of a pregnancy, and all of them have to be discounted in order to prove the incident was the cause. This can be particularly difficult if the unborn child's status at the time of the incident wasn't known, and there's no one who can testify as to whether the fetus was healthy, or if there were problems that could have contributed to the death.

A Difficult, But Not Always Impossible Case

Bringing a wrongful death suit is hard, and bringing one for the wrongful death of an unborn child can be even harder. However, just because a case is complex, or difficult to win, does not mean that it's impossible. It simply means that you need to adjust your expectations and look at the facts before you. Something which is not always easy to do, particularly when grieving for a loss like an unborn child.

If you are considering bringing a wrongful death suit for an unborn child, it's important to collect all of the information surrounding the incident. You need to have the details of what happened, who was responsible, and you need to have your unborn child's status confirmed. Most importantly, though, you need to present your case to a lawyer with experience in bringing these kinds of suits who can advise you on your chances. This can be particularly important if you need to bring this kind of suit in one of the states where the wrongful death of an unborn child either isn't recognized or will be extremely difficult to bring before the court.

Losing an unborn child can be a traumatizing experience, and if there is a way for you to be compensated for that, you should be. If you need assistance finding your way through these troubled waters, all you have to do is contact us today to speak with one of our experienced legal professionals.


Wrongful Death of an Unborn Child: A Complicated Civil Suit

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