One of the most tragic outcomes is when the negligence of an individual or party results in the death of an unborn baby or fetus. Whether the fetus is lost as a result of a pregnant woman being involved in an auto accident, or due to medical malpractice or some other form of negligent behavior, grieving parents often wonder about whether they may pursue a wrongful death claim against the negligent party.
Laws which can impact surviving family members' rights in a potential wrongful death lawsuit vary state to state. Washington's wrongful death statute will also apply to an unborn fetus as long as the fetus was “viable.” Usually, a viable fetus is one that was healthy and was expected to be born healthy if the death of the fetus not occurred.
The wrongful death of that fetus is a recognized cause of action under the statute. What this means is that a child does not have to be physically born before a claim for wrongful death can go forward. See Moen v. Hanson, 85 Wn.2d 597, 537 P.2d 266 (1975).
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If you or a loved one has questions about your legal rights and options after losing a family member in an accident, it is usually going to be in your best interests to at least consult with an experienced wrongful death lawyer about the facts of your case. A qualified attorney can help you better understand your rights and whether hiring a lawyer would be beneficial to the success of your case.
The award-winning personal injury attorneys at Davis Law Group offer a free legal consultation to anyone who wishes to learn more about the personal injury legal process and how to proceed with a wrongful death lawsuit. Call our office in Seattle at (206) 727-4000 or use the confidential contact form on this page to request a meeting with our legal team.