When many Connecticut residents think about wrongful death lawsuits, they may consider accidents that should not have happened. However, a recent court ruling may change the parameters of wrongful death cases so that even those who are not yet born may be protected.
A court case from January 2016 is one of the most recent to discuss whether or not fetuses have rights. According to the Hartford Courant, a couple sued ther gynecologist because they believed that she was responsible for the death of their unborn child. The lawsuit raised many questions because it was unknown whether or not wrongful death lawsuits applied to fetuses. The couple felt that the gynecologist was at fault because of an accident which occurred during the removal of a birth control device. According to the couple, because the doctor did not check to see if the woman was pregnant, she caused the death of their child. The baby was born prematurely and did not live longer than a few hours. Without a precedent for the case, the judge allowed it to go forward, although it was later settled out of court.
A recent ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court may provide a precedent for future cases which deal with the rights of unborn fetuses. The Connecticut Post says that an Alabama woman recently brought a wrongful death lawsuit against her gynecologist. The woman was given an injection after she had a fever and abdominal cramping. The woman claimed that the injection was responsible for her miscarriage, as the doctor suspected that the pregnancy was not uterine but ectopic. The injection was to keep the pregnancy from continuing.
Initially, the case was considered invalid by a trial judge and dismissed. The state Supreme Court, however, chose to reverse the outcome. Unborn children are protected under a 2009 state law, and those who injure or kill fetuses have potentially committed a crime. This precedent possibly allows women to sue for wrongful death if they feel their obstetrician was responsible for their miscarriage.