In April, Governor McDonnell signed into a law a bill that allows expectant parents to sue for the wrongful death of their unborn child. The law was one of several abortion-rights related bills that were introduced in the state legislature this session, though it did not divide legislators as the other bills have. It was sponsored by several Republican senators and passed in the Senate 33-6.
Provisions of the Wrongful Death of a Fetus Law
The bill will provide expectant parents recourse for the wrongful death of their fetus. Any death caused by the wrongful act, neglect or default of any person, corporation, ship or vessel would be subject to the law, including medical malpractice by a doctor or other medical professional.
Perpetrators of domestic abuse or neglect that causes the death of a fetus may be held responsible under the new law. However, the law prohibits individuals from bringing personal injury lawsuits against the natural mother.
Liability Considerations in the Wrongful Death of a Fetus
Since the law allows parents to sue for several different reasons, it is important to understand the nuances of each claim.
First, medical professionals could be held accountable for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other health care professional is negligent in his or her duties to provide adequate care, including failure to follow accepted standards of practice. Hospitals may be held accountable if they failed to provide adequate training to staff or reasonable safety and health standards in their facilities.
Others may be held accountable for negligence or abuse they committed. The wrongful death of a fetus may have resulted from someone's careless actions or failing to take reasonable care that would be expected in a similar situation. Individuals may also be held responsible for the wrongful death of a fetus if their abusive behavior caused the fatality.
Fairfax Wrongful Death Lawyers
Now, expectant parents will be able to hold responsible parties accountable for the wrongful death of their unborn child. If you have lost an unborn child as the result of medical malpractice, neglect or abuse, please contact an experienced wrongful death attorney at Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLL today at 703-691-8333 to schedule your free consultation.