Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Alabama Supreme Court recognizes wrongful death claim for stillborn starts at conception

About two weeks ago, the Alabama Supreme Court decided in a case called Hamilton v. Scott that a parent may bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a stillborn child that was incapable of life outside the womb reaffirming an earlier decision in which the court reasoned that it would be an "unfair and arbitrary endeavor to draw a line that allows recovery on behalf of a fetus injured before viability that dies after achieving viability but that prevents recovery on behalf of a fetus injured that, as a result of those injuries, does not survive to viability."

Illinois also takes this approach, but it is probably still the minority view.  Last time I checked, the majority view on this subject was to "draw the line" at viability.  The third option, followed by another minority of states, is to recognize the wrongful death claim only if the child is born alive, survives for an instant on his or her own and then dies.  Those states draw the line at birth.

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