Can Someone Else Be To Blame For Your Pregnancy?
It should be a joyous occasion to discover that you're pregnant, but it can also be a devastating blow if you're not in a position to properly birth, care for and raise a child. Especially if you have been depending on birth control or sterilization to keep from getting pregnant, the conception of a baby can be less than ideal.
Wrongful pregnancy lawsuits are most often brought against medical practitioners who performed a sterilization on a man who went on to impregnate a woman or on a woman who became pregnant.
Why is Wrongful Pregnancy a Big Deal?
There are many reasons why people choose to undergo sterilization procedures.
- They have other children and don't feel they can provide physically and financially for another.
- They are older and a pregnancy might be more risky.
- They have a genetic condition that might be passed to offspring.
- The mother has a health condition that could be exacerbated by pregnancy.
Once the pregnancy has been discovered, there are religious and ethical reasons why a mother may not wish to terminate a pregnancy, or may bring a lawsuit for the damages incurred by the termination procedure.
How is Wrongful Pregnancy Different from Other Injury Lawsuits?
Generally, wrongful pregnancy suits seek to have medical costs covered for pregnancy care and childbirth, as well as being compensated for the cost of the failed sterilization procedure. Additional costs like lost wages for either parent are often included in a lawsuit. They may also request intangible damages, such as pain and suffering for the mother or father.
The difference between wrongful pregnancy and other types of injury lawsuits is that they don't try to get compensation for personal injuries or property damages, since those are usually not part of carrying or birthing a child.
They are not the same as wrongful birth, which usually happens when a child is born with severe birth defects or abnormalities that should have been diagnosed in utero but were not. They are also not like medical malpractice suits where the medical professional clearly did something negligent.
What Compensation is Available?
It depends on the type of lawsuit, but again, medical expenses are usually requested and covered by successful wrongful pregnancy cases. In addition, damages might include:
- Costs of medical testing and ongoing checkups for children at risk of a genetic disease.
- Costs of care for a child with a health issue.
- Costs of raising and caring for a child.
The latter is least likely to be successful, especially for a completely healthy child, because most courts don't see the birth of a healthy baby as a totally bad thing. The parents would have to make a case that financial problems were a primary reason why they sought sterilization in the first place.
If you have questions about whether you have a wrongful pregnancy lawsuit, contact a personal injury attorney like Chiacchia & Fleming LLP.