What You Need To Know If You’re In A Car Accident While Pregnant

A recent study estimates that approximately 170,000 car crashes in the U.S. each year involve pregnant women. Approximately 2.9% of these women report injuries as a result of the car accident. Car accidents while pregnant pose significant risks and complications, such as internal bleeding, uterine rupture, direct fetal injury, premature birth, and mental trauma. Seeking immediate medical care after a car accident is always recommended and even more so if you are with child.

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While Pregnant

The first thing you should do is see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you believe you were not hurt. The severity of the accident should not play a role in your decision as to whether you believe you may need medical care. While not everyone may have access to good healthcare, and consequently, if you are unable to get immediate care you should look for the following signs and symptoms that indicate emergency medical care is needed.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches that are constant and severe
  • Facial swelling
  • Fever and chills
  • Vaginal spotting and bleeding
  • Painful urination
  • Changes in your baby’s movements

Again, always consult with your OB-GYN if you are involved in a car accident and seek immediate medical care if you show any of the above signs and symptoms after a car accident.

Pregnancy Complications as a Result of a Car Accident

Sadly, car accidents can cause severe injuries to both mother and child. Pregnancy complications can include the following:

Placental abruption

This is the most common cause of fetal loss in car accidents and occurs in 1% to 5% of minor severity crashes during pregnancy and from 20% to 50% of severe crashes during pregnancy. The injury happens when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall, which disrupts the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the baby.

Uterine injury

Uterine rupture and lacerations are rare during pregnancy and occur in less than 1% of pregnant trauma cases. Injury to the uterus in car accidents occurs almost exclusively during pregnancy (as compared to any other time). While rare, the likelihood of fetal death with this injury is almost 100%.

Direct fetal injury

While similar to uterine injury in that it is rare, it occurs in less than 10% of car accidents with injuries to the baby’s head being the most common. The majority of these injuries occur due to improper seat belt wear. If you are unsure of the proper seatbelt technique please visit the Department of Transportation website for a guide on how to wear a seat belt while pregnant (PDF). These injuries tend to occur in the later months of pregnancy because the baby is larger and the protective amniotic fluid becomes smaller in proportion to the uterus.

Premature birth

Unfortunately, premature birth may happen after a car accident. According to the CDC, babies born before the 37th week are considered premature and have a high risk of death or serious disability.

Car Accidents and Pregnancy Settlements

Dealing with a car accident is stressful enough, and even more so when pregnant. You do not have to bear these burdens alone, which may include medical expenses and lost wages. You are entitled to request compensation from the liable person. How much you can request depends on how the accident harmed you and your child. Generally, you have the option to claim damages for:

  • Medical bills: for both the mother and unborn child’s treatment.
  • Lost wages: if you couldn’t work because you had to go to the doctor.
  • Future lost earning capacity: If your injuries keep you from returning to your job in the same capacity.
  • Pain and suffering: for the physical pain you have experienced.
  • Mental anguish: for the emotional turmoil you’ve suffered.

Why you should hire a lawyer

If you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident while pregnant you should not have to focus on pursuing a case on your own. If you want to learn more about these issues the personal injury attorneys at Genthe Law Firm can help. We have extensive experience in handling these types of cases and are familiar with the best way to present your case to a jury. Contact us today to learn about how we can help you.

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