Getting in an accident is a stressful experience on its own, and it is all the more stressful for expectant mothers. Pregnant women are generally at an increased risk of injury, even in low-impact collisions. According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death and injury for pregnant women.
Taking the right steps after a car accident is critical to ensuring the health of the mother and her child. If you were rear-ended while pregnant and injured, Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers is here for you.
We provide personal and compassionate service to all our clients, including referrals to qualified medical professionals. Contact us today to join the thousands of clients we’ve helped recover millions of dollars for their injuries.
Risks to Pregnant Women in a Car Accident
Like other crash victims, a pregnant woman involved in a car accident is at risk for physical injury such as broken bones or muscle strains, like whiplash. In addition, pregnant women are at risk for certain injuries unique to pregnancy. Rear-end accidents can cause one or more of these injuries.
Trauma during a pregnancy can trigger premature labor and birth. Studies show that pregnant women involved in a car accident have an elevated risk of premature labor, classified as labor that begins before 37 weeks. Depending on how early the birth is, the baby may suffer from permanent disability if they survive.
Placental abruption is a serious condition in which the placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus before birth. Disruption to the placenta can cause issues with the supply of oxygen and nutrients the placenta provides to the baby.
Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM)
PROM occurs when the amniotic sac ruptures before a woman goes into labor. This can lead to significant complications for the fetus and the mother, including placental abruption or respiratory distress syndrome.
Miscarriage and Stillbirth
Maternal injury during a car crash is the leading cause of fetal deaths. As a result, it is critically important for pregnant women to consult a physician as soon as possible after an accident. No matter how minor the accident seems, unexpected complications could arise.
Fetal Trauma and Birth Defects
A developing fetus can suffer injuries either directly from the crash or as a result of injury to the mother. For example, birth defects are twice as common among preterm births (between 24 and 36 weeks).
Unique Difficulties with Getting Medical Treatment
Treating an injured pregnant woman is often more difficult because doctors are unable to use many standard treatments for car accident injuries.
For example, pregnant women cannot be X-rayed or take most medications. As a result, they may not be able to obtain the complete medical treatment they need until after their baby is born.
At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, we understand this. We will make every effort to find medical care for you to properly treat you and your baby during your pregnancy. After the baby is born, you’ll be able to receive any further medical treatment you need.
A record of consistent medical treatment during your pregnancy is important, both for the health of you and your baby and for your injury claim. Gaps in treatment may reduce your total recovery. As a result, we recommend regular visits with your family physician, physical therapist, and/or OB/GYN to further document any injuries you sustained in the car accident.
Is It Safe for Pregnant Women to Wear Seat belts?
Yes, seat belts are safe for pregnant women—as long as they wear them properly. Expectant mothers are often concerned about the safety of a seat belt. However, research suggests that wearing a seat belt is three times safer than not using one.
According to SafeRide4Kids, the current best practice for pregnant women is to keep the seat belt straps from going across their belly. Pregnant women should place the lap belt across their lap beneath their belly and position the shoulder strap across the chest between the breasts.
Kentucky law requires every driver, including pregnant women, to wear a seat belt. If you don’t wear a seat belt, you may be considered comparatively negligent, which can reduce your total recovery or settlement. Comparative negligence is the model Kentucky follows to determine fault after an accident.
In states with comparative negligence, a plaintiff who is partially responsible for their own injuries can always recover a settlement even if they were more at fault than the other party. However, the plaintiff’s percentage of fault will reduce their total settlement amount. For example, even if a plaintiff is 75% at fault, they can still recover 25% of their damages.
If a pregnant woman is injured while not wearing a seat belt, that will be taken into account when determining who was at fault.
Steps to Take If You’ve Been Rear-Ended While Pregnant
Car accidents pose a unique set of risks to pregnant women. As a result, a settlement usually includes special considerations that may increase the settlement amount. You may have wondered if you were rear-ended while pregnant what to do to get a settlement. Here are the steps you should take.
Seek Medical Attention
First and foremost, seek medical attention. Even after a minor accident, there may be complications that aren’t immediately apparent. If you can’t receive medical treatment right away after the accident, pay close attention for any symptoms that something is wrong. These include, but are not limited to:
- Changes in fetal movement or activity;
- Vaginal bleeding;
- Abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting unrelated to morning sickness;
- Headaches; or
Other symptoms unrelated to the pregnancy may also be present. Remember that injuries to the fetus may occur even when the mother seems unaffected. Our firm will refer you to a reputable doctor when we represent you to make sure you get the medical care you need.
Gather Evidence and Document the Accident
Although we will hire investigators to collect evidence, any information you can provide about the accident will help your case. Even before hiring an attorney, writing down details about the accident is useful. If you require medical care, start keeping track of the expenses. The cost of prenatal medical care quickly adds up.
Hire an Attorney to Get a Settlement
Whether the settlement comes from suing the other party or filing a claim with an insurance company, it’s important to hire an attorney. A car accident attorney will know how to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company.
If necessary, a car accident lawyer will also be able to take your case to trial. Settlements for cases involving pregnant women often pose unique situations that can increase a settlement, including:
- The additional medical care required;
- Extra stress if your pregnancy becomes “high risk” after the accident;
- Premature labor and the associated costs and bed rest; and
- Birth defects that require immediate and long-term medical care, possibly for the child’s entire life.
Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers has a national reputation for our work helping accident victims. We will work to get you the settlement you deserve during an emotionally stressful time.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim for My Unborn Baby in Kentucky?
In 1955, the Kentucky Supreme Court decided Mitchell v. Couch, a case that addressed whether Kentucky’s wrongful death statute applied to unborn babies.
The court determined that parents could bring a wrongful death lawsuit when the fetus becomes able to live outside the mother’s body. Thus, parents can file wrongful death claims for an unborn baby in limited circumstances.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers
Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers has recovered tens of millions of dollars for our thousands of clients injured in car accidents.
If you’re pregnant and injured in a car accident, you don’t have to go through the experience alone. There’s no fee unless you win, and we can help you build your case and receive a settlement. Contact us today to request a free case evaluation.