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Charleston Personal Injury Attorneys / Blog / Wrongful Death / Suing for the Loss of a Fetus in a South Carolina Truck Accident

Suing for the Loss of a Fetus in a South Carolina Truck Accident

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In April of 2024, a three-month-old baby died in South Carolina after an accident with a cement truck. In situations like these, the parents may explore the possibility of a wrongful death lawsuit. But what if this accident had occurred three months earlier? What if the accident had occurred while the mother was still pregnant, but it still caused the death of the child? Can you sue for the loss of a fetus after a truck accident in South Carolina?

South Carolina Has Complex Laws Regarding Fetal Wrongful Death Lawsuits 

South Carolina’s laws on wrongful death lawsuits for unborn children are complex. On one hand, the State defines fetuses as having legal “personhood” from the moment of fertilization. However, it seems that this definition only applies to abortion – and not to wrongful death.

Like other states, South Carolina only allows you to file a wrongful death lawsuit if the fatal accident claimed the life of a “person.” You might glance at the South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act and assume that fetuses are defined as “persons” under this context. However, past cases tell a very different story.

In Crosby v. Glasscock Trucking Co., a woman attempted to file a wrongful death lawsuit after losing her unborn child in a trucking accident. She was 20 weeks pregnant when her vehicle was struck by a commercial truck, and this accident led to a miscarriage. However, the court determined that in this context, her unborn fetus was not a “legal person” under the law. The mother appealed, but the South Carolina Supreme Court backed up the lower court’s decision.

Suing for Emotional Distress After Losing a Fetus 

Although past cases indicate that suing for wrongful death of a fetus is challenging in South Carolina, you have other legal options. Losing a fetus is still a physical injury, and it may lead to various damages. The mother and father could recover compensation for emotional distress after losing the child.

It is vital to work alongside an experienced lawyer who can help you pursue these emotional damages. Unlike losing a parent or a spouse, you cannot recover compensation for lost income after losing an unborn child. Since the child was never born, you cannot prove their earning potential or lost income.

Work With an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in South Carolina 

If you lost a loved one in a South Carolina truck accident, you have every right to explore your legal options. Regardless of whether you were carrying your child at the time of the accident, you deserve justice. Psychologists have confirmed that losing a child is one of the most distressing and traumatic things a woman can experience. To discuss the possibility of a lawsuit in more detail, be sure to contact the Charleston wrongful death lawyers at Mickelson Dalton, LLC.

Sources: 

scstatehouse.gov/sess125_2023-2024/bills/3549.htm#:~:text=(B)%20As%20used%20in%20this,Title%2016%20of%20the%20S.C.

scholarcommons.sc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3927&context=sclr

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