A new law creates a cause of action for wrongful death of a fetus. Parents may now bring suit for medical malpractice, abuse, or negligence that result in their child’s death.
October 16, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ — Virginia parents who have lost a child know it is a devastating experience. The pain often lasts a lifetime.
The Virginia Senate recently approved a bill that allows parents to sue for the wrongful death of a fetus. The bill is part of several bills related to abortion rights that were also introduced during the current legislative session.
The bill creates a cause of action for death of a fetus caused by a wrongful act or neglect. It creates the greatest expansion of a cause of action for wrongful death in Virginia since it was first recognized in 1871.
Many other jurisdictions have passed similar bills. A majority of states require a fetus to be viable in order to bring a wrongful death suit. Virginia is part of a minority of jurisdictions that allow a suit to be brought for both a viable and nonviable fetus. It is important to note that the bill does not provide a right to sue for lawful abortions performed in Virginia.
The suit can only be brought by the natural mother. An administrator of her estate, a guardian or a personal representative may sue if the natural mother is not available due to death or disability. However, no suit can be brought against the natural mother of a fetus.
Previously, expectant mothers could obtain emotional distress damages for loss of a fetus, but no wrongful death cause of action was available. The new bill provides compensation to family members when a fetus [...]