Car accidents are traumatic for anyone, but they can be especially traumatic both physically and psychologically for a person who is pregnant.
Those who are involved in car accidents when pregnant have special considerations to think about, since it’s been shown that car accidents increase a pregnant person’s risk for complications, even if the accident and the injuries are minor.
Pregnancy Post-Crash List
It’s good to be prepared – which is why any person who is pregnant should keep a mental checklist to quickly assess whether or not they’re OK in the wake of a car accident.
After an accident, get to someplace safe as soon as possible. Make sure to stay aware of any physical symptoms that may signal that you need emergency medical care. This can include things like:
- Losing consciousness
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting or nausea
- Issues with balance
- Blurry vision
You may be worried about fetal injuries, too. If you are bleeding, then you should seek emergency care immediately and call 911.
If you aren’t worried about medical issues in the wake of an accident, then you still should see your doctor as soon as possible to make sure everything is stable. Pregnant people, just like anyone else, can develop symptoms of injuries later, but it’s also possible that the doctor may catch something overlooked.
Pregnancy Complications After an Accident
Even minor car accidents can lead to serious injuries for both the baby and the parent. Serious complications can include but are not limited to:
Stillbirth or Miscarriage
A fetus can experience trauma from an accident that leads to death. If the pregnancy is less than 20 weeks along, then it may cause a miscarriage. After 20 weeks, fetal death and stillbirth can occur.
Trauma to the Head
Even without direct physical contact, a fetus can suffer an injury to the head that impacts the brain. Remember, a fetus doesn’t have developed muscles in the neck to navigate sudden changes in momentum, so decelerations in a car accident can lead to major injuries.
Problems with the Placenta
The placenta is the organ that feeds the baby through the walls of the uterus, supplying important nutrients and oxygen. Damage to the placenta can be disastrous for a fetus and the pregnant person, causing it to separate from the wall of the uterus and induce massive bleeding.
Pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks, but a baby can be safely delivered from 37 weeks onward. Before this, a car accident can put stress on the body that leads to premature labor, which may then end in premature birth, putting the health of the baby at risk.
How to Pursue Damages
Florida may be a no-fault insurance state, but that doesn’t mean you lack recourse if you have pregnancy complications caused by an accident. If serious injuries are sustained, then a personal injury attorney can help you to get the compensation you need for medical bills that may exceed what your insurance pays. The at-fault driver can be taken to court to help cover those costs, so don’t assume it all has to fall on you.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2021 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2021, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2021.