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Bringing a Wrongful Life Lawsuit in California

May 25, 2022 | Wrongful life lawsuit

A wrongful life lawsuit is a legal action asserted by a person born with a genetic impairment or disability. If the court determines that the plaintiff should not have been born, he or she may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and lost earnings. An individual in California must file this type of lawsuit within one year of reaching 18 years old in order to preserve his or her right to sue. Please check your state laws to find out if the requirements apply to your state.

What Are the Five Elements Used to Analyze Professional Malpractice?

A wrongful life claim is an often misunderstood type of legal action. The plaintiff in a professional malpractice suit has suffered damages because the defendant’s failure to provide adequate care has resulted in injury or death. In California, it is not necessary for a doctor to have caused the patient’s illness or injury; only that they failed to diagnose and treat the condition with reasonable skill and diligence. The medical malpractice victim may be able to recover compensation. In California law, a wrongful life claim is analyzed within the context of a professional malpractice action and there are 5 elements in a professional malpractice cause of action:

  • Duty
  • Breach of that duty
  • Proximate cause
  • Legally cognizable injury
  • Damages

What Elements Must the Plaintiff Prove in a “Wrongful Life” Lawsuit?

Many people do not know that California allows a wrongful life lawsuit. This type of suit is brought by someone who believes he or she would have made different decisions if they had been informed about the risks of having children with genetic defects or disabilities. The plaintiff must be able to prove the following elements in case he claims that the defendant was negligent because failed to inform him of the risk that his child would be born genetically or impaired disabled.

  • Defendant negligently failed to diagnose/warn the child’s parents of the risk that the child would be born with a genetic impairment/disability
  • Defendant negligently failed to perform appropriate tests/advise to the child parents that would more likely than not have disclosed the risk that the child plaintiff would be born with a genetic impairment/disability
  • The child was born with a genetic impairment/disability
  • In case the child’s parents had known of the risk of genetic they would not have carried the fetus to term
  • Defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in the child’s birth

Against Whom the Plaintiff Can Fill The Wrongful Life Lawsuit?

Wrongful life is defined as when parents sue doctors or hospitals for delivering their child with birth defects. This issue can arise when a mother seeks an abortion because she does not want to bring a baby into the world who will have serious health problems. There is controversy on whether or not these cases should be allowed to go forward in court. A wrongful life lawsuit is a claim for damages, made by a person or entity that suffers injury because of the negligence of another. A wrongful life lawsuit may be brought by the estate of an unborn child if the parents have obtained counseling and written consent from their physician before conceiving and they can show that, but for the negligent act or omission, he would not have been born alive. Wrongful life lawsuits can be filed against:

  • Doctors
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Sperm banks, and
  • Mental health institutions.

What Damages Can The Plaintiff Recover in a Wrongful Life/Wrongful Birth Lawsuit?

Due to wrongful life/wrongful birth of a child, the plaintiff is able to recover damages. If you are considering bringing a wrongful life lawsuit in California, it is important to understand the potential for damages. Wrongful birth lawsuits are brought by people who believe they would not have existed if their parent had not been exposed to an avoidable risk factor or treatment, like being pregnant while using medication that could cause birth defects, taking certain drugs during pregnancy, etc. Some common damages a plaintiff can recover in a wrongful life/wrongful birth lawsuit include:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Costs of specialized care for the child;
  • Special equipment the child needs;
  • Home modifications for the child’s impairment/disability; and/or
  • Costs of the specialized educational needs

Glendale Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been harmed as the result of another’s negligence, then you may be entitled to compensation. If that is the case, contact our Glendale personal injury lawyer today for a consultation and case review. A wrongful life lawsuit is an extremely complex legal process in which plaintiffs are suing doctors who allegedly failed to inform them about birth defects in their unborn child before they gave consent for the pregnancy to continue. Please feel free to give our office a call at 310-933-5171.