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First Wrongful Death Case Following New Law Seeks to Set Precedent for Unborn Child Protection

In Illinois, wrongful death of a viable unborn child is grounds for considerable civil and criminal legal proceedings.

In 1978, the Illinois Supreme Court case of Green v. Smith established that if an unborn child is viable at the time of the tortious act, the family may be entitled to recover compensation for damages, including the emotional hardship indicative of losing a child, as well as injuries to the mother or other persons as a result of said act.

In Nebraska, a new law protecting fetuses at any stage of development is being used for the first time in a wrongful death lawsuit after a car accident in a western region of the state resulted in the death of a couple, their two children, and unborn son. The case was filed by the parents of the man and woman, and is being noticed around the country. (San Francisco Chronicle)

“I think it allows for the expansion of victims’ rights in these cases”, said one attorney. The State Auditor, who also introduced the measure, echoed the importance of this case as being the first step in bringing more rights to families and victims. “I don’t know if there’s any precedent for it, but it seemed to me at the time I got the bill enacted that inevitably there would be such a case”.

Nebraska is not alone. Last year, Utah’s Supreme Court also ruled that unborn children should be viewed by their Courts as minors, thus allowing wrongful death suits when a child is killed or injured before birth. Many other states have followed suit as well, ruling that cases may proceed in wrongful death suits even if the fetus couldn’t have survived outside of the womb.

Our lawyers have a great deal of experience with wrongful death, automobile, and liability cases; and we know how incredibly difficult it is to try to put the pieces back together when someone you love dearly is taken from you by the negligent actions of others. Our attorneys will help you cover expenses, and losses, and will assist you in seeking punitive damages, to punish wrongdoers, and take action to ensure they won’t harm others in the future.

In 2010, John Perconti obtained a $4.7 million wrongful death settlement, the highest settlement ever recorded in Kane County. At Levin & Perconti, we truly care about our clients and their families, and take great pride in our history of achieving justice for them.

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed because of the recklessness or negligence of another party, please give us a call for a free consultation to discuss your options.