Pregnancy and car accidents are not two topics that you want to consider in the same conversation. Car accidents cause catastrophic injuries to victims. However, car crashes can cause pregnancy-related injuries that could put the mother’s and baby’s lives in danger.
Immediate medical care is crucial for a pregnant woman after a car accident. In some cases, an expectant mother may not be aware of injuries sustained in the accident.
It is best to see a doctor as soon as possible after the crash. The doctor may want to perform an ultrasound to ensure the mother and baby are not seriously injured. The mother and baby have a better chance of making a full recovery if injuries are diagnosed as soon as possible after a car accident.
Car Accident Injuries Sustained by Expectant Mothers and Their Unborn Babies
An expectant mother may sustain multiple injuries in a car wreck. A pregnant woman might suffer from broken bones, brain injuries, back injuries, and whiplash. However, an expectant mother could also sustain one or more pregnancy-related injuries that could cause life-threatening conditions for her and the baby.
Common pregnancy-related injuries caused by car accidents include, but are not limited to:
Damage To the Placenta
The placenta is vital for the baby. It provides oxygen and nutrients. If the placenta becomes detached (placental abruption) or is damaged during the collision, the baby may not receive an adequate supply of oxygen.
Oxygen deprivation could result in numerous conditions, including cerebral palsy, brain damage, and tissue damage. In some cases, placental abruption could result in stillbirth.
Injuries To the Baby
Even though the baby is protected within the uterus, the baby could sustain direct injuries during the crash. The sudden jolts caused by the collision could result in the baby’s brain being slammed against the skull. The movement could cause brain damage.
Enough pressure on the mother’s abdomen could cause additional injuries, including broken bones. Depending on the severity of the injuries, the result could be a miscarriage.
The mother’s uterus is extended because of the pregnancy. Pressure on the uterus can cause injury to the mother and the baby. A strong enough blow could cause injuries to the baby, bleeding, ruptured uterus, and premature labor.
Seatbelts and Airbags Can Provide Some Protection
Many pregnant women worry that the vehicle’s airbags and seat belts could cause additional injuries in a traffic accident. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that pregnant women continue to use seat belts, with some adjustments. For example, lap belts should be worn under the abdomen instead of across the abdomen.
If you have questions about using airbags and seat belts while pregnant, you should ask your physician. Your doctor may have tailored instructions for you based on your specific circumstances and health.
Seeking Emergency Medical Attention After a Car Accident
If you are pregnant, call your doctor immediately after a car accident. However, if you experience any signs of an injury or unexplained symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Some of the signs that could indicate a serious pregnancy-related car accident injury include, but are not limited to:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Changes in the baby’s movements
- Urgent or painful urination
- Severe headaches, chills, or fever
- Physical trauma to the abdomen
If you are unsure whether you or your baby were injured in the car wreck, it is best to go directly to the emergency room. Prompt treatment could save your life and your baby’s life.
Who Is Responsible for Your Injuries and Damages?
Florida is a no-fault state for car accidents. Drivers are required to purchase PIP insurance coverage to pay for their medical bills and lost income after a car accident. Even if the accident was the other driver’s fault, you must file a claim with your PIP insurance provider.
However, if your injuries meet the serious injury threshold, you might have a claim against the other driver. The other driver could be financially liable for your damages and injuries. Damages in a car accident case could include:
- Medical expenses and bills
- Lost income and benefits
- Disabilities and impairments
- Decreased earning potential
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and mental anguish and trauma
- Loss of quality of life
The other driver’s insurance company may deny liability for the claim based on the serious injury threshold. A car accident lawyer can review your case and advise you of your legal rights regarding a claim.
If you or your unborn baby suffered injuries, it is wise to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Understanding your legal rights and your options for holding the at-fault driver responsible for your injuries is the best way to protect your and your baby’s best interests.