‘Wrongful birth’ is a legal term used by the courts to describe the situation where a child is born but, had it not been for medical negligence, they would not have been born. This can include claims where a failed sterilisation or vasectomy leads to an unwanted pregnancy or where a child is born with a disability which the hospital failed to warn the parents about and, if they had been warned, the mother would have terminated the pregnancy.
Failed sterilisation claims
In these circumstances the mother can claim damages for the physical and emotional pain and distress of the unwanted pregnancy. Compensation can also be claimed for the distress caused by having to undergo a termination, if the mother chose this route.
In addition the mother can claim for any financial losses which arose out of the pregnancy, such as loss of earnings but she cannot claim for the additional cost of raising a child.
Failure to warn about specific disabilities
These claims arise where a birth defect was not diagnosed when it should have been. In these cases, the mother can claim damages for the physical and emotional pain and distress of the unwanted pregnancy.
In addition the mother can claim for any financial losses which arose out of the pregnancy, such as loss of earnings, and they may also be able to claim for the cost associated with the health and welfare of the disabled child.
This list is not exhaustive and if you think that you may have a wrongful birth claim, call one of our expert medical negligence solicitors today.
Caption: Lois Harrison, Senior Associate Solicitor. Medical Negligence & Personal Injury