Getting into a car accident when you are pregnant is one of the scariest things you can experience, even if it’s a minor, low-impact car accident without serious injuries. Doctors and pregnancy experts teach automobile safety tips that reduce the chance of injury in most car crashes, like wearing your lap belt and not texting while driving.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to 100% prevent injuries, especially in the later stages of pregnancy when it’s hard to properly wear a seat belt.
If you are the pregnant victim of a serious car accident, it can be challenging to know what to do next. You are likely worried about your baby, health, and everything that comes next. As personal injury attorneys, we feel so much empathy and compassion for pregnant car accident victims because we know how scary and overwhelming it can be.
Our personal injury attorneys created this article to help you know what to do first to make sure you’re safe, and then what steps to take after a car accident during pregnancy to preserve your rights.
Seek Medical Attention After Getting Into a Car Accident While Pregnant
Most of the time, people must seek medical attention after a car accident if injured. When you’re pregnant, you should always go to the hospital after a car accident, even if you don’t think you are injured.
A car accident during pregnancy doesn’t always cause serious medical injuries, but even when you may feel fine, your unborn baby has been injured.
Even a low-impact car accident while pregnant, which usually doesn’t cause much of a problem for adults, may cause trauma to a fetus or developing baby. These car accidents can cause immediate injuries or future medical complications.
Should Pregnant Women Go to The Hospital After Car Accidents?
All car accidents while pregnant are different. However, we recommend seeking emergency care after all auto accidents, regardless of your trimester. In a minor fender bender in which your abdomen was not struck, your baby is probably fine, but it will give you peace of mind to be evaluated.
If you are seeking medical treatment for yourself due to injuries like broken bones, a concussion, contusions, or whiplash, you can have the providers at the hospital check on your baby, too.
If you seem uninjured, go to the hospital and let them know that you are pregnant and were just in an auto accident. They will do a complete medical evaluation to make sure everything is okay and take action if it is not.
Expectant mothers should inform first responders that they are pregnant to receive prompt care while reducing the chance of serious complications.
Signs a Pregnant Woman Needs Immediate Medical Care
Seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms after your accident:
- Severe pain in your abdomen
- Vaginal bleeding
- Swelling of your fingers or facial area
- Painful or urgent urination
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe headaches
- Changes in how much the baby is moving
- Intense vomiting (sometimes mistaken for morning sickness)
What to Do After Car Accidents While Pregnant
After the car accident, take these steps to strengthen the chance of compensation:
- Document everything you can
- Document that you did seek prompt medical attention after the car accident while pregnant
- Document injuries sustained and future medical treatment that will be needed
- Keep track of all medical bills for both the expectant mother and unborn baby
- Keep receipts of any expenses related to receiving health care, such as parking fees, mileage, over-the-counter medical devices, medications, etc. for pregnant mothers and the unborn child
- Ask for a copy of the police report completed at the car accident scene
- Speak with witnesses who saw or heard the car wreck
- Check with area businesses to see if they have video surveillance footage of the accident
- Save any photos and videos of the accident
- Contact a car accident attorney to discuss your options
Potential Pregnancy Complications After Motor Vehicle Accidents
Pregnant mothers involved in car accidents may face potential complications that can affect both their health and the well-being of the unborn child. The impact of a car crash can lead to various complications, ranging from mild to severe, depending on the force of the collision.
One common concern for a pregnant mother is the risk of placental abruption, where the placenta separates from the uterine wall prematurely, potentially reducing oxygen and nutrient supply to the fetus. Additionally, trauma to the abdomen during an accident from the steering wheel or seat belt may result in injuries to the uterus or amniotic sac.
These types of impact are the leading cause of head trauma, preterm labor, or premature rupture of membranes.
Moreover, a car accident while pregnant can pose a risk of serious injury to the mother, especially when the steering wheel comes into contact with the mother’s body. The impact increases the potential for direct harm to the developing fetus and can cause internal bleeding.
Sometimes, even minor collisions create physical trauma.
Pregnant women involved in car accidents must seek immediate medical attention, as healthcare professionals can assess the extent of potential complications, monitor the well-being of both the mother and the baby for possible pregnancy complications, and provide necessary interventions to mitigate risks.
Regular prenatal check-ups following an accident become essential to monitor the pregnancy, look for warning signs, and address any emerging complications promptly and closely.
Potential Complications for an Unborn Child After a Car Accident
The uterus does an incredible job of protecting the baby from harm. However, a traumatic event like a car accident can cause complications.
Coup and contre coup injuries are additional risks for pregnant women and their unborn children, especially when a person’s head strikes a stationary object. While this type of injury primarily affects the mother, the baby can also experience such harm. Essentially, the child may undergo a form of “shaken baby syndrome” even before birth due to the impact sustained during the car accident.
Because of this, even after minor fender benders, a pregnant woman should see a doctor immediately.
Types of Compensation for Being Injured in a Car Accident While Pregnant
After seeking medical treatment you can pursue compensation for the damages and suffering you have gone through after most minor accidents. Legal options include negotiating a settlement for fair compensation or suing the at fault driver who caused the car crash. Even victims of minor accidents have legal options when the at fault party is determined.
We’ve helped our clients receive compensation for these injuries due to a car accident during pregnancy:
- Placental abruption
- Uterine rupture
- Direct trauma to the fetus
- Premature birth
- Direct fetal trauma
- Fetal death when miscarriage occurs
- Maternal shock
- Contrecoup injuries
- Impact-related birth defects
- Birth defects related to low blood flow or oxygen
Compensation is significant when the mother and/or baby will need future medical care for years to come or when the child is born with a condition that will affect them for their entire life.
You can seek damages for anything that has a monetary value, such as medical costs for the mother or baby, property damage, lost wages, and more. The at fault party and their insurance company should be able to provide compensation for a wrongful death claim for loss of life and injuries sustained during a car accident while pregnant.
These are medical expenses you may have because of a car accident while pregnant:
- Ambulance and EMT services
- Emergency room services
- Emergency surgery
- Lab tests
- Ultrasound tests
- Fetal monitoring
- Medically induced labor
- Prolonged hospital stays
- A variety of therapies (physical, occupational, speech, and emotional)
- Other gynecological services
- And more
Can I Seek Compensation for Non-Economic Damages?
Yes, a pregnant car accident victim may be able to make claims for compensation for non-monetary damages, including pain and suffering for you or your child.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit if My Baby Died Because of the Car Accident?
If you have experienced the unthinkable tragedy of losing your unborn baby in a car accident, we want to express our deepest sympathies for your terrible loss.
The Child Wrongful Death Act in Indiana allows one or both parents of a viable fetus to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent individual who caused the accident in which they were killed. A viable fetus could have survived outside of the womb, with or without medical assistance, if it had been born at that time.
Here are a few types of damages that you can seek for yourself and on your child’s behalf:
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Costs associated with estate administration
- Mental health therapy expenses for surviving family members, including parents and siblings
Pregnant in a Car Accident in Indianapolis? Call Poynter & Bucheri
The attorneys at Poynter & Bucheri take your pain and suffering seriously. We understand the fear, pain, and potential heartbreak that accompanies the minutes, days, months, and even years after a pregnant woman is injured in a car accident.
You need a compassionate but aggressive personal injury attorney who will fight for your rights. Let Poynter & Bucheri Law Office help you navigate the legal process of getting compensation for your losses. Contact us for a free consultation today at 800-265-9881.