wrongful birth is a cause of action brought by parents when a medical professional’s
negligence results in the unwanted birth of a child.
There are two situations that can give rise to wrongful birth or wrongful
●When the child is born with birth defects and the mother would have terminated
the pregnancy had she known
●When one parent underwent a failed sterilization procedure
wrongful birth action may be filed when a child is born with physical or mental defects. To
have a cause of action, the prenatal health care providers must have been
negligent in failing to inform the parents that their child was likely
to be born with serious problems, thus depriving the parents of the chance
to terminate the pregnancy.
Under Maryland law, continuing a pregnancy is a matter requiring informed
consent. A doctor must provide the parents with information about the
option of genetic testing and must disclose the results of any testing
to the parents. A wrongful birth cause of action may arise if a medical
professional fails to inform the parents of the availability of a prenatal
diagnostic genetic test. The failure to inform parents of abnormal test
results or the negligent failure to correctly read a test’s results
may also give rise to a wrongful birth claim.
In order to recover damages, parents must show both that the doctor failed
to provide the testing information and that if they had been informed,
they would have obtained the testing and terminated the pregnancy upon
receiving the correct results.
wrongful pregnancy or wrongful conception case may arise if there was negligent sterilization.
If one parent underwent a sterilization procedure that was ineffective,
and the woman nonetheless became pregnant, the parents may be able to
recover compensation for the costs of raising a child.
Maryland does not recognize
wrongful life cases. Wrongful life claims are brought on behalf of the child. In states that
recognize wrongful life, unwanted children may bring suit against their
parents or others whose negligence brought about the child’s conception.
Children born with defects may sue medical professionals based on the
fact that their parents would have aborted the pregnancy save for a physician’s
negligence. Wrongful life claims are not permitted in Maryland because
Maryland courts have held that that the non-existence of life is not better
than an impaired life, so life is not an injury.
For wrongful birth claims, parents may recover the economic expenses of
raising a child with birth defects as compared to raising a healthy child.
This may include medical costs, physical therapy, special education costs,
and other expenses, depending on the facts of the individual case. Parents
may also be able to recover damages for caring for the child after he
or she reaches 18.
In a negligent sterilization case with a healthy child resulting, the parents
may recover child-rearing expenses until the child reaches age 18, decreased
by the value of the benefits that the parents receive from the child’s
companionship, comfort, and aid.
Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You
Wrongful birth cases are sensitive matters, so if you believe you have
a claim, it is important to retain the services of an experienced and
dedicated attorney who understands the complex and delicate matters involved.
Please contact the
Law Office of Robert R. Castro at 301-705-5253 for a free consultation.