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Wrongful Birth

San Francisco Wrongful Birth Lawyer

Wrongful Birth Lawsuits & Medical Malpractice

Wrongful birth lawsuits are brought against doctors and health care providers by parents of children born with severe disabilities, genetic disorders, or birth defects.

Plaintiffs who bring wrongful birth lawsuits typically claim defendant providers failed in some way to meet their duty of care when treating or testing pregnant mothers and their unborn babies, and that the failure deprived mothers and parents of essential information that would have been used in decisions to not conceive or to not carry the pregnancy full term.

Wrongful birth cases can involve:

  • Prenatal failure to diagnose genetic disorders or birth defects.
  • Genetic testing errors, including lab mistakes and failure to interpret results.
  • Failures to order necessary tests or inform parents about risks of genetic conditions.
  • Failure to provide informed consent about the nature of condition and available options.
  • Failure to diagnose or treat infections or conditions in the mother resulting in birth defects.
  • Negligent performance of sterilization / abortion prior to conception.

If your child was born with a genetic condition or birth defect because a health care provider failed to meet accepted standards during your prenatal care, you may have a claim for compensation.

Bostwick & Peterson, LLP has recovered millions of dollars for birth injury and medical malpractice victims. We can evaluate your case and discuss how we may be able to help.

Why Choose Bostwick & Peterson, LLP?

Bostwick & Peterson leverages decades of experience, the insight of an ABPLA Certified Medical Malpractice Specialist (Attorney James S. Bostwick), and extensive resources to help birth injury victims pursue the justice and compensation they deserve.

Our firm has cultivated a record of successful recoveries in high-stakes birth injury cases, including the California record for the largest medical malpractice recovery in state history for a baby born with brain damage after providers failed to treat a mother’s infection during pregnancy.

Families trust our firm because we know how to get results:

  • Over $1 billion in compensation recovered for clients.
  • Record birth injury verdicts and settlements in multiple states.
  • Ranked a U.S. News “Best Law Firms” Tier 1 Medical Malpractice Firm.
  • Proven experience in wrongful birth / genetic malpractice litigation.

Can I File a Wrongful Birth Lawsuit in California?

California is one of a small number of states to recognize wrongful birth as a cause of action in medical malpractice litigation. While you may also see the term wrongful life used in connection to these types of lawsuits, wrongful birth and wrongful life are two different claims in California.

  • Wrongful birth lawsuits are brought by parents who claim a health care provider was negligent because they failed to inform them of the chance their child would have a genetic impairment or disability.
  • Wrongful life lawsuits are brought by the child rather than the parents.

Both claims are similar in that they allege providers failed to diagnose or warn parents of genetic impairment or disability, or failed to perform and advise parents of genetic testing, anatomy scans, or other tests that would have allowed parents to choose whether to conceive or carry a pregnancy.

Prenatal failure to diagnose cases may involve conditions such as:

California also recognizes a wrongful birth cause of action related to the negligent performance of a sterilization or abortion procedure and an unplanned birth after the procedure.

Proving Wrongful Birth / Wrongful Life

In a wrongful birth lawsuit, plaintiffs must prove several factual elements. Per California Civil Jury Instructions No. 512, which is used by juries to determine whether defendant health care providers are negligent and liable for damages, parents who bring wrongful birth claims must establish all of the following:

  1. That the defendant provider negligently failed to diagnose or warn parents of the risk that the child would be born with a disability / genetic disorder; or that the defendant provider negligently failed to perform appropriate tests and / or advise parents of tests (i.e. genetic testing, anatomy scan) that would have more likely than not disclosed the risk of genetic impairment / disability.
  2. That the child was born with a genetic impairment / disability;
  3. That if the plaintiffs had known of the disability / genetic impairment, they would not have conceived or would not have carried the fetus to term; and
  4. That the defendant provider’s negligence was a failure to meet the standard of care was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiffs to pay extraordinary expenses to care for their child.

Proving a wrongful birth claim requires plaintiffs to prove nearly identical factual elements, and many cases join parents’ wrongful birth claims with a child’s action for wrongful life. In cases alleging negligent failure to perform / advise parents of testing, the test must have at least a 50% chance of disclosing the genetic impairment / disability for there to be grounds for legal action.

Like any medical malpractice lawsuit, wrongful birth claims are intensely fact-specific. To assess whether providers were negligent in their care of pregnant mothers, our attorneys at Bostwick & Peterson conduct in-depth investigations, review all medical records, and work with medical experts in these specialties to illustrate how providers failed to meet the applicable standard of care.

Our attorneys can review your case and help you determine the best approach based on your individual circumstances.

Recoverable Damages in Wrongful Birth Lawsuits

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional suffering, loss of quality or enjoyment of life
  • Future medical expenses, medications, therapy, medical devices and assistive care
  • Lost income and lost future earnings

Call (888) 831-8448 for a FREE Evaluation of Your Case

Our San Francisco wrongful birth attorneys at Bostwick & Peterson know families can face profound suffering due to medical negligence, as well as considerable expenses associated with caring for a child born with permanent disabilities.

To discuss your rights and options during a FREE case evaluation, contact us online or call (888) 831-8448. We handle birth injury claims throughout California and the U.S.



What Sets Bostwick & Peterson, LLP Apart?

  • More than $1 billion recovered for our clients
  • Since January 2018, the firm has twice broken the California record for the largest medical malpractice settlement
  • James Bostwick was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers® in 2012
  • James Bostwick is a Nationally Certified Specialist by the American Board of Professional Liability
  • Included in the list of "Best Lawyers in America" by U.S. News - Best Lawyers® since its inception in 1983
  • James Bostwick received the Trial Lawyers "Presidential Award of Merit"
  • James Bostwick is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, limited to the nation’s top 100 plaintiff lawyers
  • Record-setting verdicts and settlements in five states for medical malpractice and motor vehicle accidents
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