In the horribly unfortunate circumstance that an unborn child is injured or killed in a car accident, Indiana law may provide for recovery through at least two separate means: the Child Wrongful Death Act and general negligence action.
The Child Wrongful Death Act specifically applies to viable fetuses, meaning those that could have lived outside the mother’s womb. The lawsuit may be brought by either or both of the parents.
The following damages may be recovered under the Act:
- Loss of the child’s services
- Loss of the child’s love and companionship
- The expenses of necessary health care and hospitalization due to the wrongdoing
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Reasonable expenses of counseling needed by a surviving parent or minor sibling due to the child’s death
- Estate administration costs, including attorney’s fees
The statute specifically limits the time period for which damages are allowable.
The second avenue of potential recovery is the mother’s own negligence lawsuit. Indiana allows expectant mothers to bring lawsuits when they are injured due to negligence. In such a lawsuit, intangible damages may be awarded that consider the “circumstances of . . . pregnancy and miscarriage.” In this type of case, the restrictions of the Child Wrongful Death Act would not apply.
In addition, depending on the nature of the accident, criminal penalties may be warranted. Indiana has many laws that penalize injury and death to a viable fetus, including the following:
- Voluntary manslaughter, which includes killing a viable fetus when enraged
- Involuntary manslaughter, which includes killing a viable fetus during a felony, including operating a vehicle while intoxicated
The grief that accompanies the loss of a child is unfathomable. The attorneys at Blackburn & Green will do their part to help you get your life back together, piece by piece. We offer free initial consultations at our office locations or at your home or hospital room. Call (800) 444-1112 or (260) 422-4400 to be connected with one of our 27 convenient office locations across Indiana, or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.