Baby Sue

Jo Canadian
New push for fetus litigation rights
Last Updated Sat, 05 Nov 2005 13:57:15 EST
CBC News

A New Brunswick woman has new hope that her province will draft legislation to allow her child to sue for injuries sustained in utero.

Alberta Justice Minister Ron Stevens has said he plans to introduce such a bill later this month. The legislation will be restricted to cover only children hurt in motor vehicle accidents.

Cynthia Dobson of Moncton doesn't remember too many details of the accident at the centre of her case.

She was driving on an icy road in New Brunswick 11 years ago. Her car went out of control and hit an oncoming pickup truck.

At the time, she was six months pregnant.

"I was in the hospital for three months. I was in a coma. My son was born through caesarean section."

Her son, Ryan, now has cerebral palsy.

If he had been a passenger during the accident, he would have the right to sue his mother's insurance company for compensation. But fetuses don't have the right to sue their mothers.

Six years ago, Dobson took her case to the Supreme Court of Canada. The high court ruled that women should not be held liable for injuries to a fetus in most cases, but it said provinces could make an exception in motor vehicle crashes because drivers are required to buy insurance to cover accidents.

New Brunwick never followed through with legislation and Dobson has had to pay for her son's therapies herself. "As a mom trying to provide for her disabled child ... expense of raising a special needs child as a result of a car accident is tremendous."

The New Brunswick Department of Justice says it's too early say whether it would consider following Alberta's lead.

But wouldn't his mother have insurance, and what about in the cases that it is the fault of another driver?

This opens a whole new kettle of fish
His mother does have insurance, but obviously there is some hassle where the mother's insurance company isn't paying....probably because at the time of the accident, there was no way to know that there was any problem with the fetus.

I think this is completely idiotic, having special legislation to permit a child to sue for damages suffered before birth. Once you start this, it's a very slippery slope.

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