Accidental Conception: Can You Sue For Wrongful Pregnancy?

Planning for parenthood is essential in this day and age. The economical and career ramifications of child-rearing make birth control methods a natural part of most couples' sexual relationship. If you accidentally became pregnant while using birth control (which is always a possibility), you might be wondering if your doctor is at fault for your birth control failing. There are some cases where it will be possible for you to file for wrongful pregnancy. Here is how you can know if you have a case and what you can expect from winning.

Were you using your birth control properly?

There are many forms of birth control available to women. Condoms can be purchased at any drug store, but other forms are medically prescribed. Before going after your doctor for causing accidental pregnancy, you first should make sure that you were following birth control instructions exactly. This means never skipping a pill or shot and taking the pills at the same time each day. In the case of rings or intrauterine devices, you should have reported suspicious symptoms, like bleeding or pain, to your doctor, as these could have indicated birth control failure.

Did you declare all medications to your doctor when birth control was prescribed?

Some antibiotics or hormonal replacement treatments can interfere with the way birth control regulates your reproductive cycle. If you were taking any drugs without the the knowledge of your doctor that caused the birth control to fail, then the doctor cannot be at fault. However, if you did declare medications, and your doctor prescribed your birth control anyway, then you will have a case. Proper medical training involves knowing how certain medications interact with others. It is medical negligence to ignore or downplay these interactions.

Was the right method of birth control prescribed?

Sometimes, an existing condition can make women more fertile, less fertile, or intolerant to certain types of birth control-- necessitating a specific type of contraception. For example, women who have had breast cancer should not use hormonal birth control methods. If the doctor fails to read patient history and pregnancy occurs, a lawsuit could be viable in this case. 

Was a sterilizations surgery or abortion procedure performed incorrectly?

One of the surest ways to avoid pregnancy is through surgery. Men may have a vasectomy, while women can opt for sterilization of the fallopian tubes. If either you or your partner had a surgery performed and still got pregnant, you will have a case against the surgeon in question. A physical examination will be necessary to prove that the surgery was not thorough. Incorrectly performed abortions that cause a fetus to continue past the viable age can also call into question the competence of the practicing physician. However, failed abortions, when completed in the proper medical setting, are rare-- especially if you choose surgery as the abortion method.

What compensation can you expect?

If you choose to complete the pregnancy, you can sue for medical expenses and the expense that can come from raising a child-- including child care or loss of employment. For babies carried to term born healthy, most states do not allow parents to sue for pain and suffering damages, even if the child is unwanted. However, if you choose to terminate the pregnancy, you could sue for pain and suffering from needing to make such a difficult choice, and also for the expense of the procedure, and loss of work due to recovery.

Dealing with an unexpected pregnancy can be overwhelming, but there are some legal avenues available to you if you are convinced your doctor is primarily responsible. Talk to a medical malpractice lawyer about your case and whether or not you have a chance of receiving a settlement for your pregnancy. You can also click here to learn more about this topic