Hamilton, OH asked in Car Accidents and Personal Injury for Ohio

Q: If a pregnant woman looses a non-viable baby as the result of a car accident is it vehicular homicide?

If a woman can legally have an abortion prior to the fetus being viable (23-24 weeks) then the implication is that she is not committing a homicide. So if a pregnant woman loses a baby as the result of a car accident and the baby is less than 24 weeks along can the person at fault for the accident be charged with vehicular homicide? It seems that if the abortion isn't homicide then the car accident shouldn't be homicide. Without getting hung up on the definition of viable, the basic question is, if an abortion is legal and not homicide within some timeframe then are other events that cause the death of a baby (i.e. car accident, domestic abuse, a mugging) occurring within the same time frame no longer a homicide? This is not a pro/con abortion issue, I'm questioning the consistency of law within any state that has legalized abortion.

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: The determination of whether the loss of a non-viable fetus due to a car accident constitutes vehicular homicide is complex and can vary by state. In many jurisdictions, vehicular homicide charges are typically applied when a person is killed due to the negligent or criminal driving of another person. The legal definition of "person" and when a fetus is considered a victim under these statutes can differ.

In Ohio, for instance, the law may allow for charges in cases where a fetus is lost, regardless of viability. However, this is a highly nuanced area of law that can be influenced by recent legislation and court rulings. If faced with such a tragic scenario, it is important to seek legal advice to understand the applicable laws and potential charges in the specific jurisdiction where the incident occurred.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Little Neck, NY

A: It could also depend on how the County DA's Office handles the matter. Good luck

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