Getting into a car accident is a scary experience. If you get into a car accident while pregnant, it can be even more terrifying. Understandably, you may be worried about possible harm to your baby, even if it’s only a minor accident. In many cases, a car accident won’t lead to any injury to your baby, but you should always seek medical attention to be sure. If you were in a car accident and pregnant, contact a San Francisco car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
What to Do If You’re Pregnant and in a Car Accident
Immediately following the accident, try to document everything if possible. You should exchange information from the other party and get contact information from any witnesses who were present. If you feel up to it, try to take photos of the damage to both vehicles and the surrounding scene. You should also consider calling the police, even if the accident is minor. When you call 911, let them know you are expecting.
If you’re pregnant and in a car accident, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible if paramedics don’t check you out at the scene. If there is a risk of complications, it’s imperative to catch any problems early on. Even if the accident was low impact and you don’t think you were injured, it’s crucial to get examined. You should schedule a thorough examination, no matter how far along you are in your pregnancy.
Some signs to watch for if you are in a car accident and pregnant include:
- Abdominal pain,
- Spotting or bleeding,
- Severe headache,
- Swelling in face or fingers,
- Loss of consciousness,
- Feeling light-headed, and
- Repeated vomiting.
It’s not uncommon to feel ok at the time of the accident but have symptoms develop in the following days. Don’t ignore any signs, and get to a doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms.
When Should You Settle a Claim for a Car Accident If You’re Pregnant?
In many cases, women who are pregnant and in a car accident want to wait to see how their pregnancy goes before agreeing to settle with the insurance company. Waiting will give them time to understand the full extent of their injuries.
If you settle too soon and additional problems develop down the line, you cannot go back and ask for further compensation. For example, if you settle and sign a release of all claims before the baby is born, and there are problems after the baby is born, the at-fault party’s insurance company owes you nothing.
Another reason to consider waiting is you don’t have an accurate picture of your loss of earnings yet. Pregnant women will have more doctors’ appointments during their pregnancy than an injured party who isn’t pregnant at the time of the accident.
What Damages Can You Recover from a Car Accident While Pregnant?
When you are in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you have the right to seek damages for your injuries. If you are pregnant, you may suffer different and even more serious injuries than someone who is not pregnant.
Pregnant women face numerous possible complications following a car accident, which could include:
- Detached placenta (placental abruption),
- Pre-term labor,
- Hemorrhaging, or
- Internal bleeding.
Car accidents can also create a high-risk pregnancy if you didn’t already have one, as the stress of a car accident is not good for you or the baby.
If you suffer pregnancy complications as a result of a car accident, you can seek damages for things like medical bills and mental anguish. Additionally, if you have to take time off work because you are put on bed rest, you could recover for lost wages.
Fetal Trauma and Birth Defects
Potentially even more devastating than pregnancy complications are injuries to your baby. These may be the direct result of the accident, such as brain damage caused by whiplash or “shaken baby syndrome” suffered in the womb. Or the accident may cause pre-term birth, which can result in long-term developmental and health problems for your child.
Fetal trauma and birth defects can involve many long-term medical costs, physical therapy, special care, and pain and suffering for your child. The person who caused your accident should pay for these damages. But in most cases, you will need extensive evidence, including expert witnesses, to prove that a birth defect resulted from an accident.
If you believe your baby’s health or developmental problems were caused by an accident, it’s essential to seek out an experienced personal injury attorney to help with your claim.
Miscarriage and Wrongful Death
As unthinkable as it may be, some car accidents can lead to miscarriages. In other situations, fetal trauma or birth defects may be so extensive that the baby cannot survive long after birth.
California law does not allow parents to pursue a wrongful death claim unless the baby was first delivered alive and then died afterward as a result of damage caused by the accident. In that case, the parents may seek damages for:
- The loss of the child’s love, affection, and companionship;
- Hospital and medical bills for the child;
- The monetary value of services the child would have provided to their parents;
- The financial contributions the child could have been expected to make to their parents over their lifetime; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
If you suffered a miscarriage or your child was stillborn, you won’t be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. However, you can still recover for your own medical bills, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.
Contact a San Francisco Car Accident Lawyer
If you were in an accident while pregnant and suffered complications, you should speak with a San Francisco car accident lawyer. You could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. We have nearly two decades of experience and provide expert legal services for personal injury cases. Our legal team has a proven record of success, recovering millions of dollars for our clients. To learn more about how we can help, contact the Wakeford Law Firm today.