‘Wrongful life’ cases involve the negligent failure of a medical practitioner to diagnose or warn parents of the risk of their child having a disease or disability. The parents, if warned, would have avoided conception or terminated a pregnancy by way of lawful abortion.
Wrongful life claims for compensation are brought by the child (or in reality by someone acting on the child’s behalf), who has been born with disease or disability. The cause of action is negligence.
The Courts have grappled with difficult questions raised by such claims, including whether a wrongful life action constitutes a valid cause of action; and, if so, what compensation would be payable.
The current law in Australia is that such claims are not recognised, and compensation will not be awarded.