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New York’s “Serious Injury” Threshold: Loss of Fetus

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Losing a pregnancy for any reason is a devastating experience. When the pregnancy was terminated due to another party’s negligence, the grief and anger are nearly impossible to imagine. There are legal remedies available for mothers who suffer pregnancy termination because of a reckless driver or another negligent party. Those remedies go beyond the limitations imposed on accident victims by New York’s “no-fault” auto insurance system. Read on to learn about loss of fetus claims in New York. If you’ve lost your pregnancy due to a negligent driver in Goshen, the Hudson Valley, or New York City, call a dedicated New York personal injury lawyer for help.

Injury Claims Based on Loss of Fetus

If a doctor commits medical malpractice and a mother loses her child during pregnancy or labor, the mother can sue the negligent party for personal injury based on the loss. Likewise, if the mother is in a car crash caused by a negligent driver, she can sue the at-fault driver based on the loss.

New York’s “no-fault” auto insurance scheme requires drivers to file injury claims with their own insurance provider unless certain threshold requirements are met. If an accident victim suffers “serious injury,” they can file a claim directly against the at-fault driver and their insurance carrier. New York law includes “loss of fetus” as a specific grounds for satisfying the serious injury threshold. Mothers who lose a fetus in a car accident are therefore not restricted to their own “no-fault” auto insurance coverage.

Loss of Fetus is Not Wrongful Death

Loss of a fetus is distinct from a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are available for surviving family members when a loved one is killed in a negligence-based accident, with certain requirements, procedures, and limitations. The New York Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court have established that an unborn fetus is not a legal human with its own cognizable legal rights, so an injury claim based on loss of a fetus must be characterized as a loss of fetus claim rather than a wrongful death claim on behalf of an unborn child.

Once a child is born, however, New York recognizes the baby’s legal status. If an infant is killed due to negligence even shortly after childbirth, the family can sue for the wrongful death of a child.

Damages Available for a Loss of Fetus Claim

Mothers who suffer the loss of a pregnancy due to a drunk, drowsy, or distracted driver can file a claim against the negligent driver, their insurance company, and any other responsible parties. They can pursue a variety of damages including:

  • Medical expenses incurred due to the accident, including expenses related to the pregnancy
  • Future anticipated medical costs of dealing with a lost pregnancy and other injuries
  • Lost income from time missed at work due to the injury
  • Pain and suffering incurred
  • Emotional distress caused by the loss of pregnancy

Losing a fetus due to negligence is absolutely devastating. A surviving mother or father can likely recover substantial damages based on the emotional distress incurred. Talk to an experienced auto accident attorney about your case to discuss the damages available to you.

If You’ve Lost a Child Due to Negligence, Dupée & Monroe Can Help

If you need help seeking justice and compensation after losing a pregnancy due to a car crash, medical malpractice, or other negligence in New York, contact the compassionate and zealous Goshen personal injury lawyers Dupée & Monroe for a free consultation at 845-294-8900.

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