Can You File a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of an Unborn Child in California
It’s always a tragedy when a small child is injured or killed, but what are your rights if you are pregnant and injured by someone else’s carelessness. What if your unborn child suffers an injury or is killed? Can you seek compensation for the unborn child’s losses?
Unborn Child Has No Right to File a Lawsuit in California
Though there are a number of states that allow for either a personal injury or wrongful death involving a viable fetus, California is not one of them. In California, you must have status as a person to file a personal injury action. Because California law does not consider a person to be legally alive until birth, an embryo or fetus has no right to take legal action. Furthermore, the California wrongful death law specifically prohibits a wrongful death claim on behalf of an unborn child.
In those states that do allow a lawsuit to be filed on behalf of an unborn child, the majority require that the fetus be “viable.” As a general rule, this refers to the ability of the fetus to survive outside the uterus, and is based on how well-developed the child’s vital organs are. Most recent studies have shown a 90% rate of survival/viability for a child born at 26-27 weeks, but a 20-35% survival/viability rate at 23 weeks. Because viability can also depend on environmental factors, experts are reluctant to identify a specific number of weeks or days that will ensure viability.
Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates
To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside motor vehicle accident injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.