In 2012, more than 2.5 million Americans went to the emergency room for injuries resulting from vehicular crashes including pregnancy accidents. The average hospital visit for such injuries is $3,300. If the victim requires hospitalization, bills can rise to $57,000. This steep price doesn’t include the amount one loses due to not being able to work after the car accident. Someone with a permanent injury may never be able to work again. The costly nature of a car wreck leads many people to pursue legal action. In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party sues the at-fault party. In most cases, this results in the other party’s insurance company agreeing to a settlement to cover the plaintiff’s medical bills and suffering. However, personal injury cases involve many steps and are often complicated by various factors.
Things that can affect a personal injury case include:
- Severity of injuries
- Level of the recklessness of the at-fault party
- Whether the injured party is pregnant and the effects of the injuries on the fetus
- Length and cost of the recovery period
- Emotional trauma
If you’re pregnant and you’ve recently been in a car wreck, it’s essential to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The first few days after an impact are difficult on both an emotional and physical level. Contacting an attorney quickly will ensure you receive proper legal guidance during this time. After an accident, you are making the right moves can go a long way toward getting you the settlement you deserve.
How Pregnancy Accidents Liability Works: Who is At-fault?
If an accident brought harm to you or your unborn child, you might be entitled to a settlement. Before that can happen, your attorney needs to prove the other party was at fault. However, the role of guilt and whether you have a case, in general, will depend on state law.
Liability in Fault States
Most states use fault as a way to determine legal liability. In some situations, fault is apparent. If someone blows through a stop sign or red light and takes out another car, they’re clearly at fault. They broke the law and drove recklessly, and someone was hurt because of it.
In other situations, fault is less clear. What if both parties were driving recklessly? What if someone was merging onto a freeway and failed to yield to a car going well above the speed limit? There can be lots of gray areas when it comes to fault. This is where comparative and contributory negligence comes into play.
A few states allow someone to counter sue for what’s known as contributory negligence. This applies to situations in which both parties contributed to the crash.
For example, say someone changes lanes on the freeway without checking the rearview mirror first. Perhaps they thought the lane was clear because it’d been clear a moment before, but upon entering the lane, they are hit by a speeding driver. They could file a personal injury claim against the speeding driver, but the speeding driver could then counter sue over the first driver’s failure to check the lane. Of course, the speeding driver’s legal team would have to prove somehow the first driver failed to review, which might be problematic.
This is the model most states use. There are two types: pure and moderative comparative negligence.
In the pure model, the settlement will be lower based on how much the injured party’s actions contributed to the accident. Using the modified model, the plaintiff receives no compensation if it’s determined they contributed by 50% or more to the accident.
Liability in the No-fault States
Some states handle auto pregnancy accidents using the no-fault model, which requires meeting a certain threshold before an injured party can file a lawsuit. The injuries and medical bills must be severe to meet the point. In these states, wounded parties recover costs from their own insurance company rather than the at-fault party’s insurance company. Therefore, a solid insurance policy is crucial if you live in one of these states.
How Pregnancy Accidents Affect Financial Liability in Car Accidents
Studies have found that between 1500 and 5000 fetal deaths occur each year due to trauma from car accidents. In reality, the number might be even higher. Early miscarriage is a natural occurrence in many pregnancies, and the cause is often impossible to determine. For this reason, car accidents are only legally recorded as the cause of death for fetuses older than 20 weeks.
Aside from the risks to the fetus, pregnancy can increase the likelihood of the mother experiencing severe injuries.
Some medical situations that could increase your settlement include:
Trauma to the Fetus
It’s unlikely that a minor accident will cause severe trauma to the fetus. In general, the human body does an excellent job of protecting the unborn. The placenta and amniotic fluid cushion the fetus from minor trauma, such as what one might experience during a trip and fall.
Unfortunately, during a bad crash, the mother can experience trauma to the abdomen that has the potential of causing very serious or life-threatening injuries to the unborn child. Fatal car crash injuries usually affect the skull and can mimic the damage caused by the shaken-baby syndrome.
Uterine Injuries and Placental Abruption
The uterus is greatly expanded during pregnancy to make room for the growing baby. This creates an injury during a car crash, more likely. A ruptured uterus could end the pregnancy, but it could also harm the mother.
Another possible result of an abdominal or uterine injury is placental abruption. If the placenta separates from the uterus before birth, it can be dangerous to the developing fetus.
A premature baby can survive an early birth, but there are risks, and some babies end up with complications or even permanent disabilities. Research has shown that car accidents can contribute to premature births.
Trauma, or conditions like the aforementioned placenta abruption, can lead to a high-risk pregnancy. This will require more excellent medical monitoring and possibly intervention as the pregnancy continues.
In some cases, the mother is required to remain on bed rest. This situation could increase medical bills due to a greater frequency of checkups or other costs. It also may cause great stress to the mother as she worries each day about the possible loss of her high-risk pregnancy.
Having to remain in bed or restrict other activities could result in a loss of income due to no longer being able to work. If a doctor can confirm the high-risk pregnancy resulted from the accident, the loss of income could affect your settlement.
Premature birth and direct trauma can both result in congenital disabilities. Severe many birth defects will require ongoing care. This might include regular checkups, physical therapy, surgeries, medications, and other costly interventions. Talking with your doctor or specialist about your child’s long-term prognosis will help your lawyer gather the information they need to fight for a proper settlement.
It’s possible to lose a pregnancy due to a car crash. If the mother suffers trauma to the abdomen, it can cause a miscarriage. The emotional or physical trauma on the mother’s part can also end the pregnancy in some cases.
Losing your unborn child is a terrible ordeal, mainly when it occurs due to another party’s reckless or negligent behavior. You may seek therapy to help with the grief and anger you’ll experience. Getting psychological help will help your lawyer prove that the miscarriage caused deep pain and suffering. Although no money will make up for such a tragic loss, it can help you create the relaxation and peace you need to heal and move on.
Help for Injured Pregnant Women: Choosing an Experienced Attorney
If you’re involved in an auto accident while pregnant, the first step is seeking immediate medical treatment. It might be crucial to saving the life of your unborn child, and it’s necessary to provide evidence for your case. A doctor must verify whether the accident played a role if a miscarriage, early birth, fetal injury, or other complications occur.
Your next step is to contact a qualified attorney with experience in personal injury cases. Obtaining appropriate legal counsel early on can make or break your case. During this stressful time, you need a lawyer you can trust. Our attorneys are ready to use their knowledge of liability laws to fight for you and your unborn child.
Please get in touch with us now to schedule your free consultation.