Even in low-speed crashes where most of the vehicle occupants leave the scene with minor injuries, the potential harm to a pregnant woman is extreme. A simple fender bender while pregnant can have permanent repercussions for your unborn child. Working with an attorney who understands the ins and outs of this kind of case can help you hold the at-fault driver responsible for your loss.
Risks to Pregnant Women in Virginia Car Accidents
Any internal injuries to either you or your child need to be discovered as soon as possible to prevent future complications, which may have extremely dire consequences. You should head to the emergency room or visit your OBGYN as soon as possible after the car accident, no matter how hurt you feel.
That step is crucial even if you don’t have any visible exterior wounds and nothing seems wrong with the baby. Unfortunately, you may not realize that you or the fetus are injured due to adrenaline released by your body in a crash. Seeing a medical professional immediately is especially important if you experience:
- Abdominal pain
- Any amount of vaginal bleeding
- Premature contractions
Those are all signs of fetal distress and potential problems with a pregnancy that should be addressed immediately. Of course, there are also potential injuries the mother can suffer in a crash completely independent of the pregnancy. Broken bones, bruises, cuts, soft tissue damage, spinal cord trauma, or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are all dangers inherent to any Virginia vehicle collision.
One of the most pressing concerns after a wreck is the continued health and development of the fetus. Depending on factors like speed and how the accident occurred, specific problems directly related to pregnancy after a car crash may include:
- Early labor
- Fetal injuries such as bone fractures, organ damage, or a TBI
- Fetomaternal hemorrhage
- Internal bleeding
- Placental abruption
- Premature Rupture of Membranes, a condition in which the amniotic sac tears early and requires the mother’s hospitalization until birth
- Preterm birth
What to Do After a Car Accident Involving a Pregnant Driver or Passenger
After any car crash, no matter how minor it may seem at the time, your focus should be on medical care for the mother and baby. Any pregnant occupants of either vehicle involved in the auto collision need to be seen by medical staff immediately. If someone else is able to remain at the scene, they can gather important evidence to help your attorney’s investigation into the crash, however.
In situations where another occupant of the vehicle is able to stay behind before heading to the hospital, that person should be sure to:
- Alert law enforcement so an officer can investigate the crash
- Avoid speaking with the at-fault driver as much as possible, and do not apologize or admit even partial fault for the crash
- Collect email or phone number details so you can later contact bystanders who saw the crash and can describe what occurred
- Refrain from providing a recorded statement to insurance, and instead refer the adjuster to your attorney
- Take pictures of the scene of the crash to show what damage occurred to the vehicles and how the collision took place
Of course, your attorney will likely need to gather additional evidence for you while pursuing compensation from insurance or the at-fault party. With the help of your lawyer, you will need to prove any injuries to you and your unborn child were caused by the other driver’s negligence or some other party who is found responsible for the accident.
Showing which specific person failed to uphold their legally required basic duty of care may require:
- Accident reconstruction experts
- Employment details for professional drivers or long-haul truckers
- Maintenance and repair records
- Medical records
- Receipts from bars or other establishments where the at-fault driver may have been imbibing alcohol
- Video from dashboard cameras, traffic cameras, security cams, and so on
Besides discovering who is specifically responsible for the accident and any injuries suffered by your unborn child, your attorney’s role is also to place a specific value on your damages. Those damages are likely to be extensive if you experienced any pregnancy complications or lost the baby due to the car crash.
At a bare minimum, you will need an extra ultrasound that you wouldn’t have been required if a negligent driver hadn’t caused your crash. An unexpected car accident will likely cause a significantly bigger impact to your life than just a single additional doctor visit, however. From pregnancy loss to long-term disabilities for yourself or your child, your injuries may be life-changing.
Due to developmental changes in the womb, you may need to wait longer to recover financially until both you and your child reach maximum medical improvement. That’s crucial to ensuring any settlement or court judgment actually reflects all of your costs. There may be additional complications in the future after this sort of crash, and once you accept a settlement, your ability to recover compensation for the accident is exhausted.
That’s why you need to speak with a Virginia car accident lawyer as soon as possible to help you recover compensation for all of your possible damages. That may potentially cover elements such as:
- Income you lost out on while recovering from the accident
- Lost future earning capacity if the accident causes long-term disability for the pregnant victim
- Medical costs if you need to be hospitalized or seek additional treatment outside your normal maternity checkups due to the injury
- Non-economic damages, which will likely play a large role in this sort of accident. Covering damages that aren’t as easy to directly calculate, like the effects of PTSD and emotional suffering following a crash while you are pregnant
- Out-of-pocket costs when seeking physician-prescribed treatments for your car crash injury
- Wrongful death