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Can You File A Wrongful Death Suit For Lost Embryos?

Posted by Robert Walch | Apr 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

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This post is really for thought and discussion in the wake of an Ohio and California fertility center having a serious malfunction that damaged and destroyed thousands and embryos. University Hospitals Fertility Center in Ohio and Pacific Fertility Center in California had unrelated cryogenic and liquid nitrogen  malfunctions at their locations within days of each other. Translation: the stored eggs and embryos representing countless years and months of IVF, hundreds of thousands of dollars (each) and lots of trust are now destroyed. But while you can certainly file a breach of contract claim against the centers, can you also file a wrongful death case? So far, one couple in Ohio is trying.

The Atlantic reports on the embryo wrongful death lawsuit, "In-vitro can be a draining process-- financially, physically and emotionally. And for some families these embryos had been their last chance to have biological children." While there have been lots of lawsuits filed against these two fertility clinics as well as others over the years, filing a wrongful death lawsuit is new.

Of course in order to file a wrongful death lawsuit, there has to be a death of a person which this Ohio-based case is attempting to argue that an embryo is a person. In California the law is pretty clear on this topic-- in order to file a wrongful death lawsuit, there must be a death of a person and a fetus does not count. But states differ.

California wrongful death lawsuits are something our clients never want to follow but realize the tremendous benefit to taking legal action in the wake of an unjustified killing. While our physical office is in Calabasas, we help clients throughout the state get financial compensation and justice for the loss of a loved one. Here's some important things you should know about a California wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Time is of the essence: If you have lost a loved one you are in shock, you might be angry and you are deeply sad. In any of those states, calling a  lawyer is probably not at the top of your list but it should be and we promise the process of hiring Walch Law is extremely simple, costs you nothing upfront and takes a lot of things off your plate to worry about. But you can't delay. If the responsible party was a government agency, you only have 6 months to file a claim. If it was another party (i.e. insurance company related to a deadly car accident), you have two years but the sooner you call is always better because it gets you paid faster and helps to present your strongest case by keeping evidence fresh.  
  • Comparative negligence: California is a comparative negligence state which means that even your loved one played a role in their death, you can still get money. Here's how it works-- the court (or just us lawyers) first determines the % of liability of each party and then the amount. If your loved one was 50% responsible for the accident that caused his or her death, the financial settlement amount is reduced by 50%. But the recovery can still be substantial! For instance, your loved one was killed in a big rig accident that has a insurance policy of $1,000,000 and was found to be 50% responsible. The potential recovery is still $500,000. Cases that involve liability disputes and multiple responsible parties are more complicated but always worth pursing with Walch Law.
  • Contingency fee- money is often tight following a sudden and unexpected death. We know that and take all our personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis meaning that you don't pay us anything until we get you paid. Our fees are very very reasonable and worth every penny-- and something we are very upfront about when we meet you and review your case. 

Dealing with a wrongful death case and trying to find the best lawyer for you and your family? Walch Law has over 40 years experience helping individuals and families in your very situation. Fill out our contact us form to set up your obligation free consultation with us today.

About the Author

Robert Walch

Partner Robert Walch is passionate about helping individuals and families that are dealing with the aftermath of a serious personal injury or wrongful death accident. Robert has been working at Walch Law since 2000 and has developed a reputation as a caring and compassionate attorney that keeps his clients in the loop on the progress of their case and works hard to get the best results possible. Robert is a huge reason why the Walch Law Firm has a success rate of over 95% on their serious personal injury and wrongful death cases.

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