wrongful life

noun

Legal Definition of wrongful life

: a malpractice claim brought by or on behalf of a child born with a birth defect alleging that he or she would never have been born if not for the negligent advice or treatment provided to the parents by a physician or health-care provider also : the life or injury at issue in such a claim recovery for wrongful life

Note: Wrongful life claims have usually been rejected by the courts. The injury is not the birth defect, but the life itself, and courts are reluctant to declare life an injury. A specific calculation of damages for wrongful life would entail affixing a monetary value to the difference between life in an impaired state and nonexistence. There is no legally established right not to be born.

Learn More about wrongful life

Cite this Entry

“Wrongful life.” Merriam-Webster.com Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/legal/wrongful%20life. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

Comments on wrongful life

What made you want to look up wrongful life? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!