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Wrongful Birth Attorney in Washington D.C.

A newborn baby suffers from wrongful birth in Washington, D.C.

Parents can become overcome with shock and sadness when they learn that their child was born with a congenital abnormality that affects the way the child looks, develops or functions. Suddenly, they face an emotionally and financially challenging future. The problem is that the parents may have actually decided to terminate the pregnancy if they had known of the risk of their child being born with serious health issues.

If a doctor or other medical care provider negligently or intentionally failed to test for and/or fully inform you during pregnancy about your child’s potential birth defects, you may have the right to bring a wrongful birth claim and recover compensation for your extraordinary medical and other health care expenses. You should get help as soon as possible from an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Washington, D.C.

At the Law Offices of Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates, we have the medical and legal background to handle even the most challenging birth injury cases, including cases which involve a wrongful birth. Contact us now to discuss your case.

What Is a Wrongful Birth Action?

Several jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia, recognize parents’ right to bring a wrongful birth action. This type of legal action is not the same as one that alleges a “wrongful life” or “wrongful pregnancy.” When presenting your case to an insurance company or in court, your lawyer must understand the subtle but critical differences between these types of actions.  A wrongful birth case is different. In a wrongful birth lawsuit, the parents of an abnormal, unhealthy child essentially claim that a health care provider’s negligence deprived them of their right to decide whether to avoid the birth of a child with congenital abnormalities. In Washington, D.C., our courts have recognized that parents deserve some measure of relief when this type of medical malpractice occurs.

For instance, in a wrongful life claim, the parents of a child with birth defects typically allege that if it had not been for the doctor’s negligent advice or treatment, the child would not have been born to experience the pain and suffering of life in an impaired condition. Most courts refuse to recognize this type of action. This is because courts cannot weigh the hypothetical difference in value between nonexistence and a life plagued by complex medical conditions.

In a wrongful pregnancy claim, the parents claim that a health care provider’s negligence in providing contraceptives, performing sterilization or attempting to terminate a pregnancy caused the birth of an unplanned child. Like wrongful life claims, most jurisdictions (including the District of Columbia) refuse to recognize such action.

What Are Examples of Wrongful Birth Situations?

Several situations can give rise to a wrongful birth action in Washington, D.C. A few examples are:

  • Failure to screen or diagnose – When a doctor fails to use appropriate professional discretion to screen for serious birth defects or similar conditions. If a doctor in the same or a similar situation would have performed such screens, then the doctor can be deemed to have fallen short of meeting the accepted standard of medical care. In other words, the doctor may be liable for malpractice.
  • Failure to disclose – When a doctor fails to tell a mother that she is carrying a child with birth defects and/or complex medical problems that will likely be painful and costly if the child is born. A doctor may fail to fully inform the mother due to negligence or even intentionally. Regardless of why the doctor failed to disclose the risk of birth defects, this failure deprives the parent of the choice of whether to terminate the pregnancy.
  • Failure to advise about terminating a pregnancy – When a doctor actually misleads parents about their medical options. Again, the doctor may do this due to professional negligence or intentionally due to political, religious or moral reasons.

What Evidence Supports a Wrongful Birth Action in Washington, D.C.?

In order to establish a wrongful birth case, parents must prove the following elements:

  • The physician deprived the parents of the reasonable opportunity to make a legal decision about whether to keep or terminate a pregnancy involving a child with probable birth defects or serious medical issues.
  • The failure of the physician to either inform, advise, or perform the necessary testing to discover the abnormality was the direct reason why the pregnancy was not terminated.
  • The parents have suffered additional or extraordinary costs and losses as a result of the child’s birth which goes beyond the normal costs of raising a healthy child.

Because of our combined medical and legal background, the attorneys of the Law Offices of Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates know how to investigate these cases and identify evidence that establishes the above elements, including medical records and interviews with witnesses. We also consult with highly knowledgeable medical experts who can help us to analyze information that surrounds a wrongful birth.

Caesarian section performed by the doctors.

What Damages Are Available in a DC Wrongful Birth Lawsuit?

Parents in wrongful birth cases may be eligible to claim damages such as:

  • Reasonable expenses of raising an abnormal, unhealthy child
  • Emotional pain and anguish that result from the birth of a child with defects or serious medical problems
  • The costs associated with adaptive housing, equipment, and therapies.

Is there a Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Birth Lawsuit?

Yes, there is. The statute of limitations for a wrongful birth lawsuit is 3 years. Should you not file your lawsuit within that 3-year time frame, you will have lost your opportunity to have that lawsuit heard in court. 

How Our Washington, D.C., Wrongful Birth Lawyers Can Help You

Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D., is a highly experienced medical malpractice attorney in Washington, D.C., who understands the complexity of wrongful birth cases. He is a licensed doctor with years of experience in treating patients and representing them in court and settlement negotiations. With that unique level of insight and experience, our law firm has recovered more than $100 million on behalf of deserving clients in the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, and throughout the country.

We have the resources and experience needed to undertake wrongful birth cases and fight for the compensation that parents deserve. To discuss how we can assist you, call or reach us online today. We will provide a free and confidential review of your case.

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