The Attorneys at Our Firm Discuss How Pregnant Women can Pursue Compensation for Injuries Resulting from Car Accidents in New Jersey
You watch what you eat, avoid chemicals and caffeine, and take your vitamins, but there is one behavior you might not suspect is a danger to your growing fetus. Driving a car can be especially dangerous to a pregnant person because of the fetus they carry. So many accidents occur on the road that it is a matter of time before you are the next victim. Pregnancy and car crashes are disastrous for the driver, passenger, and fetus.
The Varied Injuries Pregnant Women May Suffer in NJ Car Accidents
Depending on the type of crash T-bone, head-on, or rear-end collision, your damages as a driver or passenger may include back and neck pain, cuts, bruises, and broken bones. The seat belt and airbags can cause neck and chest injuries, and whiplash is common in rear-end accidents. Fortunately, the fetus is well-insulated in the amniotic fluid-filled uterus. However, a significant number of fetal traumas and resulting miscarriages occur after car crashes.
Car Accidents Pose Serious Risks to the Health of the Fetus
A fetus may suffer injury from direct impact or secondary to maternal injury. Severe and mild accidents can cause placental abruption, which describes a detached placenta. When the placenta is no longer attached to the uterine wall, a miscarriage is likely, and the accident victim must rush to the emergency room to protect the life of the mother and fetus. Seatbelts, steering wheels, and airbags cause this condition.
The compression that seatbelts, steering wheels, and airbags cause can create uterine tears and rips, which are rare but deadly to the fetus. But even when no trauma to the uterus occurs, a fetus may suffer insufficient blood flow because of maternal shock. An injured pregnant person’s body works to rush blood flow to injured body parts, cutting the blood flow to the fetus.
Indirect Injuries and Long-term Effects on Mothers and Children After Accidents
More indirect injuries occur after a severe, even mild, accident. Pregnant mothers may feel guilty or agonize over the accident’s effects on the developing fetus long after the accident and throughout childhood. The emotional and psychological toll of wondering if their child suffered cognitive or other damage can affect the mother and child’s relationship and wellbeing.
Slamming the upper body into the steering wheel and other direct impacts can injure the fetus’s head. Sadly, head trauma can affect a developing fetus’s intellectual abilities, so maternal anxiety is not entirely unfounded. Direct trauma leading to placental abruption, uterine rupture, and restricted blood flow can lead to brain damage. To prevent extensive damage to the fetus, a doctor may have to perform an emergency cesarean section.
Other complications following a car accident include hemorrhaging or premature labor associated with placental abruption or loss of amniotic fluid, fetal hemorrhaging, stillbirth, and premature birth. Prematurity itself can be serious when the fetus delivers before 34 weeks gestation. Premature babies may suffer physical and intellectual disabilities that require lifelong medical and therapeutic care.
Maternal and Fetal Health Challenges in Different Car Accident Scenarios
Maternal complications may be uterine injury, hemorrhaging, severe headaches, painful urination, vaginal discharge, facial swelling, fever, preeclampsia (high blood pressure), and loss of consciousness, depending on the impact and internal injuries. Losing consciousness and maternal shock may lead to complications to the fetus short and long-term, when blood flow decreases, depriving the fetus of nutrition and oxygen. In the worst cases, the pregnant woman does not survive the accident.
Since blunt trauma is one of the leading causes of maternal and fetal injury, high-speed car accidents may cause the most damage by airbags, steering wheels, and seatbelts. Broken glass and airbags causing head, neck, and skin injuries and fractures can cause serious damage. T-bones, sideswipes, and rear-end accidents can also cause blunt trauma injuries that jeopardize the pregnancy and the mother’s health.
Recommended Post-Accident Protocols for Pregnant Individuals After a NJ Car Accident
Regardless of the impact, a pregnant person should see a doctor after an accident, even when they feel fine. Though they may feel fine, the fetus may have suffered injury. Some precautions pregnant people can take to reduce the severity of injuries sustained in a car accident are securing seatbelts with the lap belt under the belly and leaving nearly a foot of space between the steering wheel and the breastbone, with the wheel angled upward rather than downward towards the stomach.
In addition, a pregnant accident victim should be alert to signs of injury, such as a painful abdomen, vaginal bleeding, painful urination, dizziness, fainting, facial swelling, chills, and headaches. Any changes in fetal movement are also something to watch for post-accident. After the baby’s birth, long-term vigilance is necessary to detect any suspected physical or cognitive damage.
In addition to seeing a doctor, a pregnant person should undergo any recommended medical treatment and journal about the accident and post-accident experience, noting physical, mental, and emotional stresses that you experience. These written notes will come in handy when filing a claim with an insurance company or at a jury trial for compensation. Before leaving the accident scene, take pictures if possible and ensure you have the information you need to contact witnesses, other drivers, or passengers.
Seeking Compensation for Injuries as a Pregnant Accident Victim
As a pregnant person injured in an accident, you have a rightful claim to compensation for anything you suffer because of someone else’s negligence that causes an accident and injuries. The one causing the accident must pay your medical bills, including any testing for you and your baby; medical treatment for you and the fetus; pain and suffering; lost wages; long-term medical care for you and your baby; delivery complications; and psychological and emotional suffering. You may also sue for the resulting miscarriage or stillbirth from the accident.
With parenting responsibilities so time-consuming and draining, you will want to avoid spending time chasing an insurance company to pay you compensation. They will ask you for proof of your claim by medical records, expert opinion, and other evidence you may have. For this reason, most people hire a personal injury attorney to take care of the legwork that goes into filing an accident claim.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney to Help You Following a Car Accident During Pregnancy in NJ
Insurance companies will fight you on some medical costs and treatment or other damages, so you must have a competent personal injury attorney to steer you and your personal injury case successfully. Reach out to our personal injury lawyers at Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh to pursue your claim to ensure you get the total compensation to cover all damages. We can prepare a claim for the insurance company to review, demand a settlement payment, or sue the negligent driver and their insurance company for damages. Call 732-440-3950 to speak with a local personal injury attorney at our West Long Branch office if you have been injured in a car accident while pregnant in Red Bank, Holmdel, Cranbury, Old Bridge, Wall, Perth Amboy, Howell, Middletown, Belmar, Manasquan, or elsewhere in the Southern New Jersey area.