Can I Sue a Negligent Driver for the Wrongful Death of My Unborn Child?

Wrongful Death Lawyer Indianapolis, IN

The emotional and financial recovery from the loss of a cherished family member can be a crushingly painful path to walk. But when the loved one’s death is caused by a negligent driver, the law may provide a means for your wrongful death lawyer to recover for any monetary damages incurred and the emotional trauma that has set you back. This may be done by filing a wrongful death claim against the negligent party or parties. A wrongful death suit may be brought for the death of a parent, spouse or child. But in returning to your query, can I sue for the wrongful death of my unborn child? This is an area of the law where states differentiate and court decisions blur.

Generally speaking, a wrongful death claim is a request to the court for an award of monetary damages due to the loss of a closely-related family member. After an estate is opened by an estate attorney or wrongful death lawyer, the administrator of the estate may bring a complaint for wrongful death against the tortfeasor.

In the United States, wrongful death laws are enacted by the states. It is the duty of the state assembly to legislate who and under what conditions a family member may make a claim for the wrongful death of a next of kin.

In the past few decades, the legal trend has been for the majority of states to recognize the criminal charge of fetal homicide while maintaining the legal rights for a woman’s privacy and her decision to abort the child. Wrongful death claims for stillborn children however, are breaking ground slowly but are not without controversy. On December 30, 2016, Stinnet v Kennedy, the Supreme Court of Alabama unanimously held that “it would be ‘incongruous’ if a defendant could be responsible criminally for the homicide of a fetal child but would have no similar responsibility civilly.”

In states that permit fetal wrongful death claims, there may be age or fetal developmental restrictions equaling the viability of, or the act of quickening. In recent years, scientists have dropped the age of viability, i.e. the age when a baby can survive on its own, from 28 weeks to 24 weeks. Quickening is a term used to describe the sensation of movement within the womb. Quickening occurs much sooner than viability. Although quickening is generally recognized as occurring from week 13 to 16, I have known mothers who have experienced fetal flutters weeks sooner than is medically established.

In states where fetal homicide or fetal wrongful death claims are not recognized, however, the mother may be better served legally by making a claim for mental anguish in her accident claim against the defendant driver.

A claim for the damages suffered by the fetal decedent may include compensation for medical bills, funeral and burial costs and the suffering of pain prior to the unborn child’s death. Damages which may be recoverable by the next of kin may include but are not limited to the loss of love and companionship. In some states, punitive damages may also be awarded if the defendant engaged in a particularly egregious type of conduct resulting in the death of the unborn baby.

In summary, if you were the victim of another person’s negligence and it has averted the possibility of a live delivery, call an experienced wrongful death lawyer Indianapolis, IN turns to at Ward & Ward Law Firm for answers to complex aspects of the law. Do this as soon as possible. It takes time to gather facts and obtain the evidence and medical statements necessary to support your claim. The statute of limitations actually may be shorter than what is generally published on the Internet, subject to the facts of your claim.