wrongful life n: 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
: 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.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.