There’s something especially tragic about the accidental death of an unborn child. If that death occurred due to the negligent actions of another, is there anything you can do?
Texas law, unlike the law in many other states, specifically includes unborn children at any stage of gestation from conception onward in its wrongful death statute. This means that it doesn’t matter if the pregnancy was only a few weeks along or almost to term—your unborn child is still treated the same under the law.
There are some exceptions to the law. There are certain people that can’t be held liable for the wrongful death of an unborn child:
—The child’s mother
—A physician or other medical provider who caused the death intentionally as the result of a lawful medical procedure, like an abortion, that was done with consent
—The person who administers a lawful drug to cause the death of an unborn child, like the pharmacist who dispenses a “morning after” pill
—A physician or other medical provider if the death is associated with a lawful medical procedure, which generally bars you from bringing a wrongful death claim for an unborn child as the result of medical malpractice
This still leaves numerous situations in which a wrongful death action over the death of an unborn child can be brought. For example, if a pregnant woman is involved in a car or truck accident, it isn’t uncommon for there to be damages to the abdominal area, particularly if she was driving and hit the steering wheel. That can lead to conditions like placenta abruption, where the placenta actually tears away from the uterus. This usually causes severe pain, heavy bleeding, and it deprives the baby of oxygen and nutrients. It’s a frequent cause of both premature births and miscarriages, depending on how far along the pregnancy was.
It’s important to be aware of one more issue that involves the wrongful death of an unborn child. Under Texas law, the infant’s surviving relatives only have three months to start the wrongful death claim. After that point, the executor or administrator of the child’s estate has to bring the case on behalf of the survivors.
If you’ve lost your unborn child in a tragic accident through the negligence of another person, you should consider speaking with a wrongful death attorney about the possibility of a claim.
Source: www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us, “Civil Practice And Remedies Code Title 4, Liability In Tort Chapter 71. Wrongful Death; Survival; Injuries Occurring Out Of State,” accessed Dec. 29, 2016