How Will Your Pregnancy Impact Your Personal Injury Claim?
Pregnant accident victims need to care for their child and themselves after an accident. In addition to everything going on in your life, a vehicle or slip and fall accident may severely injure you, your child, or both. These cases can be medically and legally complicated, so hire an experienced personal injury attorney you can trust.
If you’re pregnant and involved in a severe vehicle accident, you may have suffered significant injuries. Not everyone hurt in an accident benefits from legal representation. But if you’re injured, and it’s impacted your pregnancy, contact the attorneys at Callaway & Wolf at 415-541-0300 to schedule your free case evaluation.
An Accident Could End a Pregnancy
Anyone could suffer a severe injury in a vehicle crash or pedestrian accident, but some of us are more vulnerable than others. The elderly, the disabled, and pregnant women can more easily suffer injuries in an accident. You may suffer the same impact whether you’re pregnant or not, or the injury may specifically affect your child and or your ability to carry the pregnancy to term.
A miscarriage occurs when a baby dies in the uterus before 20 weeks of pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes. Miscarriages end ten to 15 percent of pregnancies, mainly before the 12th week. Miscarriages in the second trimester (between 13 and 19 weeks) happen in one to five percent of pregnancies. Stillbirths occur after 20 weeks of gestation, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and happen during about one in 160 pregnancies.
A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed if you’ve suffered harm because a close family member was killed by another person’s negligence or intentional act. That legal action isn’t available to a parent after a stillbirth or miscarriage, even if another party causes it.
A Pregnant Woman May Have Legal Claims if She’s Injured in an Accident
You may be able to sue for damages because of the physical and emotional harm caused by an accident, including if it caused your pregnancy’s premature end. If you’re carrying a child you not only care about yourself but your child too. The suffering caused by an accident injuring your or ending the pregnancy could be extreme. The physical impact of this stress could also potentially harm your child. If your child is injured, but the pregnancy continues, you could file legal claims on their behalf after they’re born.
Without Supporting Evidence You Have No Case
No matter what claims are made, there must be evidence connecting an injury to the accident. This includes a claim an accident caused fetal injuries, a miscarriage, or stillbirth.
There would be timeline evidence that the accident preceded the miscarriage but also expert medical testimony as well. Expert medical witnesses are common in personal injury cases, and they play a vital role. A judge or jury won’t take your word for it that the T-bone car accident you suffered ended your pregnancy.
The dots in your case must connect. An accident reconstruction expert can come up with an opinion of who caused the accident, how much force was generated, that it passed through the vehicle and you. A medical expert can next explain how that force injured your body, and how the harm ended your pregnancy or harmed your child.
Expect the Insurance Company to Fight Your Claim
Given the possible award at stake, there’s a good chance an insurance company will strongly defend the case. It will investigate the accident and based on what it finds, seek expert opinions that support their case that the miscarriage, stillbirth, or injury wasn’t caused by the crash.
Like any personal injury claim, you’ll need to sign a release so the insurance company can access your medical history to try to verify and defend your claim. Issues they could explore include:
- Any history of prior miscarriages
- Your age because older women are more likely to miscarriage
- When in the pregnancy it happened, since early pregnancies have a higher risk of miscarriage
- Whether you received prenatal care and the results of your last exam
The insurance company will also look into the accident’s severity to determine if it was serious enough to cause the alleged harm.
What Should You Do if You’re in a Low-Impact Car Accident While Pregnant?
Get medical attention if you’re pregnant and involved in a car accident. What that attention should be depends on the situation. Even if you’re just shaken up, seeing your physician is a wise choice. You may not be aware of changes that could be found during a medical exam. If you’re obviously injured, see a healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.
You not only need to care for yourself and your child, but these actions may protect your legal rights. If you don’t promptly get medical care and an injury that could’ve been spotted earlier later becomes obvious, the insurance company may claim it’s unrelated to the accident. You may also have delayed treatment, possibly worsening the injury to you or your child.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney in San Francisco, CA
Callaway & Wolf serves clients throughout Northern California, including the Bay Area, and from our San Francisco office. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, ask for a free consultation by calling 415-541-0300. Or click here to contact us online for a free case evaluation.
Boone Callaway is a personal injury & medical malpractice lawyer in San Francisco who has been working with clients in the Bay Area for over 25 years. Mr. Callaway is one of only a few personal injury litigators in San Francisco who is a Super Lawyer, AV Rated and is also a member of ABOTA – American Board of Trial Advocates.