Although all three involve medical malpractice leading to the conception and/or birth of a child, wrongful birth, wrongful life, and wrongful pregnancy have some very distinct differences. You’ll get the basic concepts here, but you must talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your state for more detailed information. These lawsuits are even more complicated than most types of medical malpractice, and the laws vary greatly from state to state.
Wrongful birth can apply if:
- Your baby was born with serious medical problems or birth defects,
- You doctor or another healthcare professional should have warned you of that possibility and failed to do so, and
- You would have chosen to terminate the pregnancy if you had known.
Depending on your state, damages can include the extra costs of raising your child due to their injuries and sometimes your emotional pain and suffering. Wrongful birth lawsuits compensate the parents.
Wrongful life is a lawsuit brought by the child or on behalf of the child. The child sues the healthcare professional, and sometimes sues the parent. Wrongful life is based on the same basic premises as wrongful birth, but compensates the child rather than the parents.
Wrongful pregnancy is quite different. Wrongful pregnancy applies when a pregnancy occurs due to an incorrectly performed sterilization procedure or abortion. It does not matter if the child was born healthy or with medical problems. Again, depending on your state and circumstances, damages may include:
- Medical expenses for the unsuccessful procedure
- Pain and suffering caused by the unsuccessful procedure
- Medical expenses for the pregnancy
- Pain and suffering caused by the pregnancy
- Mother’s lost income resulting from pregnancy
- Father’s loss of consortium during pregnancy
- Economic cost of raising the child
- Emotional distress
Learn more about Wrongful Birth Lawsuits.