Here Are Your Legal Options After a Car Accident During Pregnancy

As a top car accident lawyer in Costa Mesa, we’ve seen more than our fair share of devastating wrecks, but few are as scary as car accidents during pregnancy. If you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident while pregnant, we may be able to help. Contact us online

Being involved in a car accident during pregnancy is extremely stressful. One of the biggest challenges for these accident victims is to keep stress levels low while taking care of themselves and their baby. Our Orange County injury attorney explains further. 

The three most important things to do right away are:

  1. Seek medical treatment to evaluate the accident’s impact on your health.
  2. Seek legal expertise to understand your best next steps.
  3. Practice self-care to reduce stress and stay calm.

woman pregnant in vehicle

After you see a medical provider and know you and your baby are healthy and safe, it’s important to consider your legal options. 

You may have legal options that could help reduce the stress of talking with insurance adjusters, paying bills, and receiving the full compensation you deserve. However, many accident victims don’t know where to start. That’s why it’s generally a good idea to contact an experienced car accident attorney. 

Keep reading to learn more about what to do after a car accident during pregnancy, and remember: If you have questions or concerns, our legal experts are only a phone call away.

Need legal assistance right now? The compassionate attorneys at Case Barnett Law are waiting to speak with you. Give us a call at (949) 409-0055 to schedule a free consultation. 

Statistics on Car Crashes Involving Pregnant Women

If you’ve been in a car accident during pregnancy, you are not alone. 

In fact, a University of Michigan study found that every year approximately 200,000 auto crashes involving pregnant women occur. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for expecting mothers.

If you’ve been in a car accident while pregnant, the risks are high—and they increase with each trimester.

Risks Change Depending On The Stage of Pregnancy

According to the CDC, potential complications can affect the health of both the mother and the fetus. These risks increase as the pregnancy progresses. 

The first twelve weeks of pregnancy are generally considered to be the safest time for traveling and driving. However, by the second trimester, the risk of injury skyrockets. The baby can be deprived of oxygen if the placenta gets detached from a jolt or crash. Other risks include miscarriage, preterm delivery, and hemorrhage.

The third trimester is considered the riskiest for the baby. Injuries from a crash can result in premature birth, stillbirth or excessive bleeding during birth. A study published in the Journal of Perinatology shows a strong connection between airbag deployment and neurological injuries in newborns. 

Maternal Warning Signs and Symptoms

Whether you’ve been involved in a small or major accident, the first step is to get medical attention. Call 911 right away, as well as your doctor or midwife. While you wait for help to arrive, it’s important to look out for warning signs and symptoms of serious injuries. 

According to the CDC, maternal warning signs after a car accident during pregnancy can include the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding
  • Losing consciousness

Remember, not all symptoms present right away. Some symptoms may appear in the days following the accident, such as:

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling in the arms, legs or face
  • Headaches
  • Changes in vision
  • Changes in how much the fetus is moving
  • Temperature changes, such as chills or fever

If you experience any of these warning signs, the CDC urges you to take action. Even if something just doesn’t feel right, it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider. 

Car Accident Injuries During Pregnancy

Certain car accident injuries may show up right away, while others may develop over time. 

Because of this, it is essential to keep detailed documents of all medical appointments, insurance information, eyewitness statements, hospital visits, and interactions with law enforcement.

Be meticulous in keeping and maintaining records. It is easier to remember details when you take notes close to the time of each event. 

Complications for Mother and Baby

If you were involved in a car accident during pregnancy, you and your baby may be facing serious injuries that require medical attention. Here are some of the complications the mother may encounter:

  • Detached placenta (also known as placental abruption)
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Internal bleeding
  • Preterm labor
  • Emotional distress

Unfortunately, the pregnant party isn’t the only one at risk. A serious car accident can result in the following injuries to the fetus: 

  • Brain damage
  • Preterm birth
  • Long-term developmental issues
  • Future health problems

As scary as this sounds, the stress of not knowing can be worse. That’s why it’s essential to talk with a medical professional right away. After you’ve received medical treatment, it’s time to start thinking about the next steps. 

Why Hire a Car Accident Attorney?

Before you contact an insurance agent, you may want to consider speaking with an expert attorney. That’s because insurance companies don’t always offer fair settlements, and you may end up needing more help than you realize. 

A car accident can have short and long-term effects. You may not be able to work. You may have physical injuries. You may have lost wages. You could experience emotional distress. Your baby may have medical issues, be born prematurely or experience long-term health problems. 

Talking with a legal expert is often the best way to understand your options. Depending on the extent of your injuries or the fetus’ injuries, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for the following:  

  • Medical expenses, including bills and future treatments
  • Lost wages
  • Lost ability to work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Property damage
  • Disability or disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Funeral and burial expenses

At the end of the day, exploring your legal options only serves to protect you. And the more you know, the better position you can be in to secure the compensation you deserve. 

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law