Personal Injury Attorney Ben Schwartz explains the difference in a wrongful life lawsuit and a wrongful death lawsuit.
Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,
Today we’re going to answer a viewer question from Jen in Baltimore, Maryland. Jen wrote in and she said essentially, “What’s the difference between a wrongful death lawsuit and a wrongful life lawsuit?” I thought, boy that’s a really good question, that’s a really good topic to do a video on. So, Jen thank you for writing in and asking that question.
Here is what a wrongful death case is. If you have a family member and your family member was killed as a result of the negligence or the wrongdoing of another person or a corporation, then under the laws of the state where the incident occurred or the laws of the state that apply. You may have a right to bring a lawsuit for the wrongful death, for the death of your family member. In that lawsuit, you may be able to collect things like the cost of the support that that family member would have provided to you if he or she lived and continued working and continued generating income that would have been used to support you and your lifestyle. You may be able to collect a benefit for burial expenses for your family members. You may be able to collect an award of compensation for the anguish that you have had to deal with as a result of the loss of your family member due to that defendant’s negligence. That’s a wrongful death case.
Now the law is different from state to state. Every state in the United States is going to have a somewhat different law and it’s a matter of state law. A wrongful life lawsuit is also a matter of state law. A wrongful life lawsuit is a case where parents bring a lawsuit say against the doctor or a child brings a lawsuit against the doctor and essentially they are saying that hey if you had acted reasonably if you had not been negligent in the care that you rendered while the mother was pregnant, we would have discovered that the baby had some terrible defect and we would have terminated the pregnancy and because you didn’t catch the birth defect then the baby was carried to term. There are millions of dollars, potentially, in medical expenses that this child is going to have over the course of her or his lifetime. We think it’s the negligence of the doctor in letting you know, letting the fetus become an infant, become an individual become a person that caused all these damages.
You may agree or you may disagree with the question of whether people should be able to bring a wrongful life lawsuit. That’s something that I think a lot of people are gonna not be able to come together on. The reason I think that is because many state legislators can’t come together to make a determination whether this is the type of lawsuit that should be allowed to exist. In some states, you can bring a wrongful life lawsuit and in some states, you can’t. In some state’s it’s something that is barred. In some states, it’s something that is allowed. I think it’s one of these types of cases that I’ve never handled one and I don’t think I ever would. But it’s something that I think is interesting to be aware of. If you are a citizen in the United States, you ought to be aware that not only is there such a thing as a wrongful death lawsuit, but in some states, there is such a thing as a wrongful life lawsuit.
Anyways, Jen in Baltimore, Maryland I think that’s a great question. I hope I answered your question. If you have a question for me, my name is Ben Schwartz. I’m always interested in insightful and interesting questions having to do with the law, personal injury litigation, wrongful death litigation, criminal defense, anything that you think would make for an interesting video, that would be informative and educational and maybe a little bit interesting too, send me an email below.
Thanks for watching!