Advances in contraception have allowed us to carefully plan our life chapters and safely avoid pregnancy when health issues make conception risky to the mother. However, when these contraceptive methods fail, it can have serious consequences.
If you or a loved one has had an unwanted pregnancy despite contraception use, it’s important to understand your rights. The experienced wrongful pregnancy attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers P.C. can help you navigate the legal issues involved and provide a quality network of medical experts to assist in analyzing your case.
What Is A Wrongful Pregnancy Claim?
A wrongful pregnancy claim is a legal action by a woman alleging that one or more defendants’ negligence caused her to have an unwanted pregnancy. In New York courts, wrongful pregnancy claims are most commonly made if the pregnancy resulted from:
- a failed tubal ligation;
- a sexual partner’s failed vasectomy;
- a failed contraceptive pill or device, such as an IUD; or
- a failed abortion.
The woman making the wrongful pregnancy claim is not required to deliver in order to establish her case. It is also not required that the mother terminate the pregnancy or put the child up for adoption in order to mitigate her damages.
Establishing Liability In A Wrongful Pregnancy Claim
Because an unwanted pregnancy can be caused by so many different factors, there can be a number of potential defendants in a wrongful pregnancy claim. Potential defendants can include:
- a pharmacist who dispenses an incorrect drug in place of contraceptives,
- the manufacturer of the contraceptive product or device,
- a genetic counselor, and/or
- a physician or other health care provider.
Depending on the type of defendant and the factual circumstances, a wrongful pregnancy claim can be based in medical negligence or products liability.
Wrongful Pregnancy and Product Liability
If the mother in the wrongful pregnancy action is claiming that her birth control medication or IUD failed or that a condom was defective, she is bringing an action based on product liability for a defective product.
In order to prove a product liability claim for wrongful pregnancy, several elements must be satisfied:
- A pregnancy resulted despite use of the contraceptive product or device.
- The contraceptive product or device was defective.
- The contraceptive product or device was used as directed.
Determining liability for a contraceptive defect can be complicated. It helps to have a team of knowledgeable and skilled product liability attorneys and medical experts on your side to identify potential defendants and prove defective products.
Wrongful Pregnancy and Medical Negligence
Medical negligence can come in a variety of forms with regards to wrongful pregnancy. Some common examples of medical negligence resulting in an unwanted pregnancy include:
- a doctor failing to perform a tubal ligation properly;
- a doctor failing to perform a vasectomy properly;
- a pharmacist dispensing tranquilizers instead of contraceptives; and/or
- a doctor, genetic counselor, or other healthcare provider wrongly informing a couple that one of them is sterile.
To prove a medical negligence claim for wrongful pregnancy, a woman must prove that the healthcare provider did not provide care up to the medical standard. To prevail in a wrongful pregnancy medical negligence action, the woman must establish:
- The healthcare provider owed her a legal duty. This is usually established through showing that there was a doctor-patient relationship through treatment of some sort.
- The healthcare provider breached their legal duty by providing care negligently. This could mean that the pharmacist did not use proper care in dispensing a contraceptive, or a physician failed to perform a sterilization procedure correctly.
- A pregnancy must have resulted from the negligence. The pregnancy must have been unwanted and caused by the poor standard of care.
Proving these factors requires the testimony of medical experts knowledgeable in the field of contraceptive medicine. Our experienced New York malpractice attorneys have a network of medical professionals who can expertly analyze your case to determine whether medical malpractice is present.
Damages Available In Wrongful Pregnancy Claims
If successful in proving a wrongful pregnancy, you may be entitled to compensation for damages including:
- Prenatal medical expenses
- Costs associated with childbirth
- Reimbursement for failed sterilization procedures
- Pain and suffering related to the pregnancy
- Lost wages during the pregnancy
- Loss of consortium during pregnancy
Determining damages is a complex process. Our experienced wrongful pregnancy attorneys are adept at calculating damages to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. We have a proven track record of success in doing just that for thousands of other clients. Contact us today at 1-888-575-6410 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!