Nebraska crash lawsuit invokes fetal death law

By: Channel 8 Newsroom

Lawyers say a Nebraska law extending legal protections to fetuses at any stage of development is being invoked for the first time in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by parents of a family killed in a September car wreck.

The federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of Christopher and Diana Schmidt, a Maryland couple killed along with their two children and unborn son in September. The lawsuit cites a 2003 Nebraska law allowing wrongful death claims for fetuses, regardless of their gestation level.

Though still in district court, similar laws have led to appeals-court battles in Utah and Alabama and could bring the debate to Nebraska.

The suit accuses trucker Josef Slezak, his employer and two other trucking companies of negligence and wrongful death. It doesn't seek a specific dollar amount.