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Wrongful Birth Cases

In Maryland, 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 conception cases:

●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

A 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

A 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.

Wrongful Life

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.

Damages

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.

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