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Sadly, many women who are injured in car crashes, slip/trip and falls, and other accidents experience the heartbreaking death of an unborn child.

Usually, if someone is killed as a result of another person’s negligence, the victim’s family may have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. But, can families recover compensation for the death of an unborn child?


In California, the victim’s spouse, children, and in some cases, stepchildren and parents, can file a wrongful death case for the loss of a loved one. To recover compensation in a wrongful death case, the victim’s family must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim, the defendant breached this duty of care, and the breach directly led to the victim’s death.

For example, let’s say Driver A is too busy texting while driving and collides with Driver B. Unfortunately, Driver B suffers fatal injuries in the accident, so Driver B’s family files a wrongful death claim. In this example, both drivers had a duty of care to each other, meaning that both drivers had a legal obligation to drive safely. Driver A breached his duty of care by texting behind the wheel, which led to the accident that caused Driver B’s death. As a result, Driver A’s breach of this duty (negligence) caused Driver B’s death, making Driver A liable for compensation.


There are different types of compensation a victim’s family can receive in a wrongful death claim. For instance, families can be awarded compensation to cover the costs of the funeral and burial of the victim. Additionally, plaintiffs can be awarded compensation to cover income that the victim would have made in the future if they were still alive. Such compensation is especially important when the victim left financial dependents behind.

Victims’ families can also recover compensation for their emotional suffering. A victim’s spouse can be compensated for their loss of love and companionship, while a victim’s children can be compensated for their loss of parental guidance. Putting a price on these losses may be challenging, which makes it important to contact an attorney that can help calculate the value of your claim.


In California, the law states that a fetus is not considered a person until there has been a live birth, meaning that a wrongful death claim can not be filed to recover compensation for the loss of an unborn child.

However, there are specific instances where a party may be liable for compensation. If for instance, a pregnant woman is hit by a drunk driver and is forced to deliver a baby who dies shortly after having been born, the baby’s parents can file a wrongful death claim because the baby was alive for a short period of time.

While parents cannot file a wrongful death claim for the death of an unborn child, they may be able to file a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for emotional damages. While no amount of money can replace a loved one, it is important for the family of a victim to recover the compensation they deserve.

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