Can I Bring a Claim for Wrongful Birth in Colorado?
For prospective parents, the physical and emotional toll of raising a child with genetic birth defects may be so great that they would choose not to give birth knowing that the child would suffer for his or her entire life. Colorado law obligates physicians to help families make informed decisions about whether or not to continue with a pregnancy when facing potential birth defects. Unfortunately, due to medical malpractice, some parents are not given adequate information concerning the existence of a birth defect or impairment to be able to make an informed decision. Under these circumstances, the parents may have a claim for wrongful birth. As Denver personal injury lawyers, we have experience assisting our clients to maximize their recovery for wrongful birth.
Currently, 28 states recognize wrongful birth claims, and twelve specifically prohibit them. In a wrongful birth case, the family alleges that it would have chosen to terminate the pregnancy had their doctor informed them of the likelihood of their child being born with a congenital defect or impairment. Unlike other birth injury claims, a claim for wrongful birth is not necessarily based on a medical error leading to an injury or defect in pregnancy or childbirth, but rather on a physician’s failure to inform the family of the risks associated with conception or delivery.
Types of Wrongful Birth Claims
Most wrongful birth claims are based on either a failure to diagnose the birth defect or a failure to timely or properly inform the family of the presence of the defect or the risks involved. Failure to diagnose can result from failure to order the necessary tests or from misinterpreting test results. Failure to inform may deny the family the opportunity to obtain additional screening, undergo potentially risky procedures, or terminate the pregnancy.
Damages Recoverable for Wrongful Birth
Colorado permits families to recover the extraordinary medical and education expenses they will bear as a result of the child’s birth defect or impairment, up until the age of majority. It is unsettled in Colorado whether families can recover for their own emotional stress as a result of their child’s condition.