Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | December 25, 2020 | Car Accidents
Vehicular collisions are frightening for everyone. But a car accident is an especially terrifying prospect for expectant mothers. Besides the possibility of being injured themselves, their growing fetus can also suffer injuries.
If you are pregnant and have been involved in a car crash, seek medical care immediately. In the case of a serious accident, hospitalization is an important precautionary measure to ensure the health of the fetus.
One study from Reuters found that when people drive while pregnant, their risk of being involved in an accident increases by 42%. Fetal mortality and severe maternal injuries from collisions are an enormous problem, affecting approximately 93,000 women each year.
Beyond the primary safety considerations, pregnant women often face more financial damages than other car crash victims. The presence of the fetus requires more intensive monitoring and doctor’s visits. If the fetus has sustained injuries, treating them is also costly.
If you have been involved in a car crash while expecting, you may have the right to claim financial compensation. Because of the added costs, your financial recovery is likely to be much higher than if you were not pregnant. For this reason, it is vital to consult with a skilled personal injury attorney following your accident.
Possible Injuries for Pregnant Car Accident Victims
Car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries for pregnant women. In this post, we will examine eight of the most common pregnancy injuries that can result from a collision.
When someone is pregnant, the fetus is well protected and surrounded by amniotic fluid. Because of this, the risk of miscarriage is low unless the stomach and uterus of the mother has been punctured in the collision. Additionally, if the woman goes into cardiac arrest, the lack of oxygen could lead to a miscarriage.
Premature births affect nearly 500,000 people annually. That accounts for nearly 1 out of every 8 infants in the United States. When birth occurs prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is considered a “preterm” birth. The strain that the mother’s body faces in a severe auto accident can lead to premature birth in some cases.
These eight injuries are not mutually exclusive. For instance, premature birth or direct injuries to the fetus can cause a range of birth defects. Babies who were injured as fetuses or who experienced preterm births are not guaranteed to have birth defects. However, preterm birth and injuries both increase the risk for long-term disabilities.
Any abdominal trauma that the mother sustains as the result of a crash can also cause injury to the uterus. This is due to the fact that the uterus is enlarged during pregnancy, making it more susceptible to damage. Unfortunately, in cases of uterine rupture, fetal mortality is incredibly likely.
In the case of uterine rupture, the mother may also face dangerous health complications. For instance, a ruptured uterus can lead to significant internal bleeding. The mortality rate for pregnant people who suffer uterine rupture is approximately 10%.
Coup and Contrecoup Injury
A coup injury occurs when a moving object strikes someone’s head while the person is stationary. A contrecoup injury occurs when someone’s head is moving and strikes a stationary object. Both of these types of injuries are very common in the context of automobile collisions.
In the case of a pregnant driver or passenger, the mother is more likely to experience these injuries than the fetus. However, a fetus can experience coup and contrecoup injuries in some cases. When a baby suffers these injuries, it’s commonly known as “shaken baby syndrome.”
A pregnancy is considered “high-risk” when the mother or fetus requires particularly extensive monitoring, observation, or care. Outside the context of car accidents, high-risk pregnancies are usually due to the mother’s pre-existing medical condition(s). But pregnancy can become high-risk as the result of health problems caused by a collision.
This type of injury is incredibly serious. A placental abruption occurs when the placenta partially or entirely separates from the mother’s uterus before birth. This condition affects roughly 1 in every 150 pregnancies. Any abdominal impacts that the mother suffers during a car accident increase the risk of placental abruption.
A high number of fetal deaths each year are caused by automobile collisions. Injuries to the brain or body of the fetus can result in long-term and life-threatening conditions. If the mother suffers from abdominal trauma, lack of oxygen, or other injuries during the car crash, fetal trauma may result.
Regardless of the type of injury you may have suffered, you should seek medical care immediately after a car accident. Additionally, it is important to speak with a skilled car accident lawyer to ensure that you secure the compensation you deserve.
While nothing can undo the damage of experiencing a collision when pregnant, you should not have to bear the burden of your financial losses and damages alone.
Important Safety Measures for Car Travel While Pregnant
One recent study calculated that between 1,500 and 5,000 fetal deaths are the result of auto accidents in the U.S. each year. Preventative measures are incredibly important for pregnant people who are traveling by car.
Seat belts are the most important safety measure in any automobile. They are especially important to wear when you are pregnant.
Consider the following seat belt safety suggestions during pregnancy:
- Use a seatbelt with both a lap and shoulder belt
- Do not put the lap belt across your stomach
- Place the lap belt under your stomach, across your hip bones
- Make sure that the shoulder belt goes between your breasts, securing your chest against the seat
- When driving, be sure that your stomach is a safe distance from the airbag
- Your stomach should always remain at least 10 inches from the steering wheel or dash
Follow these important safety tips when traveling while pregnant. If you have been injured in a car accident while pregnant, seeking immediate medical care is vital. Additionally, speaking with a trusted car accident attorney can help you determine your best options for financial recovery.