If you had a tubal ligation and still got pregnant, you might be able to sue you doctor for wrongful pregnancy. If you decide to file a wrongful pregnancy lawsuit, here is what you have to prove to win, and what types of damages you may be able to claim.
Tubal ligation & its effectiveness
While a tubal ligation is often referred to as getting your tubes tied, actually tying the tubes isn't standard practice anymore. Doctors often do a laparoscopic procedure where they cut the fallopian tubes and cauterize them. This completely blocks the passage so the egg can't get to the uterus. While it sounds like it would make pregnancy impossible, it is still a possibility.
The chance of getting pregnant after a tubal ligation is 0.005% in the first five years. After five years, the chance goes up to 0.013%. A tubal ligation also runs the risk of ectopic pregnancy, which is more likely three years or more after your procedure. These pregnancy risks make it more difficult to file a wrongful pregnancy lawsuit.
If you are pregnant after a tubal ligation, you will need to hire a personal injury lawyer to help. Your lawyer will need your medical records, and you may have to see one or more doctors for opinions on the effectiveness of your procedure. This means that you will have to prove that your doctor made an error during the sterilization process. If the doctor did the procedure properly and you still became pregnant, the courts will be less likely to find your doctor at-fault and approve your claims. If human error was made during the procedure, you may have a case.
Types of damages
The type of damages that you are allowed to claim will depend on the state that you live in. Most states don't allow claims for expenses after the child is born such as diapers, childcare, or formula. Most of the claims will be for expenses during pregnancy. These include:
- Cost of the tubal ligation
- Prenatal medical bills
- Loss of wages while pregnant
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
If you are able to go ahead with your lawsuit, you can claim the cost of the tubal ligation, as you shouldn't have to pay for a failed procedure. The medical bills you never expected to receive from another pregnancy are another damage that you can claim. If you are early in your pregnancy, you can get an estimate from your insurance forms. The estimate should include your co-pays and deductible. If you can't do your job while pregnant because of the type of work or "high risk" status, you can claim your lost wages. The length of the claim may vary by state. It will most likely include time up to six weeks after your due date. You may be able to claim an extra couple of months to search for new employment if your job isn't waiting for you when you can return to work.
The rest of the damages are for pain and suffering along with mental distress. This is compensation for the physical pain, depression, anxiety, and other issues you may be experiencing from you sudden, unexpected pregnancy. Your lawyer will be able to come up with a fair number to ask for during the settlement offer. If you decide to terminate the pregnancy, you can ask for these damages along with the cost of the termination.
Getting pregnant can be very stressful if you have already gone through a medical procedure to ensure you can't get pregnant anymore. You shouldn't have to cover all of your pregnancy costs if your doctor made a mistake during your tubal ligation. You can file a wrongful pregnancy claim and get receive the damages that you deserve. For more information, talk to professional personal injury attorneys or other legal professionals in your area.