Is a father automatically entitled to a part oftheor child’swrongful death settlement?

I was taking prozac while pregnant with my son who was born premature at 5 months, he had some heart problems which one day later lead to his death. I am now suing the doctor who administered the prozac during my pregnancy. My son’s father was never around during pregnancy or at the birth. He did not sign his birth certificate and now he knows about this lawsuit and wants entitlement rights to the money. He is telling me that he is going to sign the birth certificate but I do not want him to and I do not think he deserves any of the money I may receive from my son’s death.

Asked on September 9, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Maryland


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I offer my condolences to you and you are absolutely smart to sue the doctor but also keep in mind that the doctor (in order for you to prevail) had to inform you of the possible harm to your unborn child, would have had to know you were pregnant and given you the disclosures regarding this drug. If you can get over that hurdle (and it is a big hurdle) and you win the lawsuit, you win the lawsuit. The father of the child is not a plaintiff in this matter and cannot simply demand payment. He cannot now come in and expect payment when a) you have not signed his name to the birth certificate and b) tests have not shown he is indeed the father. His road is an expensive road to take to even get to the point of being allowed to intervene or join the lawsuit and if that time has passed, he is out of luck.

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