Car Accidents Involving Pregnant Women

If you have been in a car accident while pregnant, you should seek medical attention immediately, even if you believe that you were not hurt, because your unborn child may have been injured. In the event of injury or death to your child, you might be able to recover damages for injuries to both you and your child.

Possible Pregnancy-related Complications

Suffering an accident while pregnant can harm both you and your unborn child in a variety of ways. Possible complications include:

  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Birth defects
  • Emergency induced labor
  • Cesarean section birth

If you file a personal injury lawsuit over any of these complications, the defendant might dispute the issue of causation. He might argue, for example, that your child would have been born prematurely even if there had been no accident. Consequently, make sure your healthcare provider carefully documents any complications.

Personal Injury Claims

If the accident that injured you was due to someone else’s negligence, you may file a lawsuit seeking damages to compensate you for your injuries. You may be entitled to compensation for any losses that you suffered that were reasonably related to the accident including medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering and out-of-pocket expenses such as transportation and child care.

As a pregnant woman, your medical expenses are likely to be higher than a typical plaintiff’s medical expenses for the same accident, due to the fragility of your body during pregnancy. Nevertheless, the defendant cannot answer your claim for damages by asserting that he had no way of knowing in advance that your body was in such a fragile condition – a negligent defendant must take his victim as he finds him.

Wrongful Death Claims

If the accident results in a miscarriage, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim against a negligent defendant based on the death of your child. Your ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit depends on state law – more specifically, whether or not state law recognizes an unborn child as a “person” for the purposes of a wrongful death lawsuit. If your lawsuit is successful, you will be able to recover for your own damages, including the grief that you suffered over the loss of your child.

It might even be possible for you to file both a personal injury lawsuit and a wrongful death lawsuit at the same time. If your personal injuries were relatively minor, you might win more damages in a wrongful death lawsuit than you do in a personal injury lawsuit.

Can the Unborn Child Receive Damages?

Although state laws vary, it is most likely you will be able to file a lawsuit seeking damages on behalf of your unborn child if he is born alive. If your child suffered injuries that require medical treatment or that involve long-term disability, you might also file a personal injury lawsuit on your own behalf and increasing the amount of your damages claim to reflect the increased medical bills and emotional distress that you suffer as a result of injury to your child.