Pregnant women are at a greater risk of experiencing severe or life-threatening injuries after an accident. Whether it is an auto accident or slip and fall, the damages incurred can also be more than just medical bills, as the unborn child may suffer permanent injuries or death.
Expectant mothers who are injured due to another party’s negligence can pursue compensation for damages to themselves and their babies.
An experienced Fort Worth car accident lawyer can help victims sort through their rights and legal options.
Pregnancy Increases the Risk of Serious Injuries
Tens of thousands of women are injured in car accidents while pregnant every year. A significant number of women also fall during their pregnancies.
Between car accidents, falls and other incidents, a significant number of pregnancy complications are the result of some type of trauma. Both the mother and unborn child may suffer an injury.
One of the most common injuries a pregnant woman may experience in an accident is placental abruption. This is when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall and oxygen flow is severely restricted to the fetus, often requiring an emergency cesarian section. Some women may also go into shock, which increases the risk of fetal mortality to 80 percent. Even if the woman is involved in a relatively minor accident, she will require constant monitoring since her pregnancy will now be considered high-risk.
The fetus may also suffer direct trauma, including serious brain injuries resulting in “shaken baby syndrome” that could lead to lifelong brain damage. This includes lost brain function and severe nerve damage.
Pregnant women could suffer uterine rupture if the airbag hits the abdomen. This injury could also occur if the pregnant woman was not wearing a seatbelt during the crash and her abdomen hit the dashboard or steering wheel.
Preeclampsia could also develop after a car accident. This is a high blood pressure disorder, and it could cause various medical issues, including:
- Damage to the organs
- Early delivery
- Placental abruption
Any injury that results in early delivery puts both the life of the mother and child at risk, especially the earlier the child is in the gestation period.
It is important to note that pregnant women and their babies could suffer injuries in a low-impact crash. It is critical to seek medical care right away to catch potential complications. If complications are not dealt with right away, they could get much worse and increase the potential for serious medical problems.
What Compensation May Be Available to Pregnant Accident Victims?
The costs of care for pregnant women after an accident are likely to be higher. This is because of the type of care necessary, including emergency services for early delivery. Due to the high-risk pregnancy categorization, the woman will also need round-the-clock care either in the hospital or at home. More frequent doctor’s visits will also be necessary, adding to the costs of medical care. All these costs should be included as part of the economic damages you may be able to recover in an insurance claim.
If your unborn child suffered a direct injury that resulted in life-long health complications, you may also be able to recover compensation for the future costs of the child’s care.
There are also non-economic damages you may be able to recover. This includes things like emotional and physical pain and suffering, both for you and your child if he or she suffers permanent injuries.
It is difficult to quantify how much your damages will be after an accident, especially if you do not know the extent of injuries your unborn child may suffer. That is why it is important to discuss your claim with a knowledgeable attorney.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim if the Unborn Child Dies?
If the injuries the pregnant woman suffers in the accident are severe enough to result in the death of the unborn child, parents may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim.
However, to successfully recover compensation, the child must have reached a certain stage of gestation. In other words, the child must have reached a point where he or she would have been able to survive outside of the womb with or without medical support.
Parents who lose an unborn child due to the negligent actions of another party may be able to recover compensation for things like:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Estate administration fees
- Grief counseling for surviving family members
Non-economic damages such as loss of consortium and lost enjoyment of life may also be available to the surviving family.
Just like an injury claim, there is a statute of limitations for wrongful death cases and once it passes, victims lose the right to file such a claim.
Contacting a Knowledgeable Attorney for Assistance
It is important to work with an attorney with significant experience when seeking insurance compensation following a crash. You need an advocate who is committed to your best interests every step of the way.