I’m Pregnant And Was Hit By A Drunk Driver. What Should I Do First?Last updated on: September 18, 2019
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Getting hit by a drunk driver is frightening enough, but getting into an accident while you’re pregnant can be even worse. It is crucial for all drivers to know than a pregnant mother’s immediate actions following a car accident are critical for the best possible outcome for the mother-to-be and her unborn child.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident while pregnant, call Zinda Law Group at (888) 659-9392 for a 100% free case evaluation with our personal injury attorneys. If we don’t reach a favorable result in your case, you won’t owe us anything.
FIRST STEPS AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Whether pain occurs immediately after an accident, or sometime later, here are some steps that should be followed:
1. Contact Emergency Services
Contact emergency services if you think you need emergency medical care after an accident, or if you experience any of the following:
- Loss of consciousness
- Vaginal bleeding
- Pain in your stomach or pelvis
- When fluid is leaking from your vagina, or believe that the umbilical cord is bulging into your vagina (cord prolapse)
2. See Your Doctor
While it’s advisable that any pregnant woman sees a doctor following any sort of accident, you should call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms in the hours, days, weeks, or months after a crash:
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting
- Swelling in your face or fingers
- Pain in your abdomen or shoulders
- Constant vomiting that is not due to morning sickness
- Chills or fever
- A noticeable change in the frequency or strength of your baby’s movements
- Faintness or dizziness
- Painful or urgent urination
- Leakage of fluid or increased vaginal discharge
COMMON PRENATAL CAR CRASH INJURIES
A car crash can lead to serious consequences for the mother and the unborn baby, which include:
A miscarriage is the accidental and involuntary loss of a fetus before the 20th completed week of pregnancy. Symptoms of a miscarriage may include:
- Blood clots or grayish fetal tissue passing from the vagina
- General pain such as pelvic cramping, lower back aches, or abdominal discomfort
- Vaginal bleeding that is either heavy, light, constant, or irregular. While bleeding is usually the first sign of a miscarriage, bleeding may also occur during the 1st trimester and can also occur during a normal pregnancy. Bleeding that is accompanied with pain and discomfort, especially after an injury, can be a sign of miscarriage.
A normal pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks or 9 months. A baby is premature when it is born before week 37.
Babies who are born around week 32 may not be able to eat on their own, breath on their own, or stay warm on their own. Fortunately, after these babies develop, most of them can leave the hospital safely.
Babies born earlier than 6 months tend to have more severe problems. Babies who are born this early have a strong likelihood of being born very small or sick, which could bring about a grim life-or-death decision about the path of treatment for the baby.
Because the organs of premature babies have not finished growing at birth, this complication can cause serious and costly health problems in the future. Long-term disabilities may include cognitive impairment or cerebral palsy.
During an accident, it’s possible that a separation occurred between the placenta and the uterus, which can have severe consequences for the mother and the fetus. While pain is usually a telltale sign, the mother may not feel anything at first, depending on the severity of the accident. However, damage from this injury is being done at an alarming rate; blood is pooling inside the abdomen, and the baby is being cut off from oxygen. Trauma to the stomach is often the cause of this injury and can cause miscarriage or premature birth.
BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA
When involved in a car accident, your seatbelt likely tightened around your belly, which creates the possibility that the airbag hit with enough force to cause bruising. Many fetuses who die after a car accident do so because of trauma to the mother’s body. Blunt force trauma can cause the fetus to suffer brain injuries, a loss of oxygen, and distress due to the mother’s own organ failure.
How Does a DUI Conviction Affect the Case?
While prosecutors pursue a criminal DUI charge against the driver, any person who was injured by the driver, or any family member of someone killed by the driver, may file a civil lawsuit against the driver for damages.
If the driver ends up being convicted of DUI, then that conviction may be used as affirmative evidence that the driver was negligent. This means that once a driver is convicted of DUI, then the victim of the accident may present evidence to the court that the driver was negligent per se, meaning that the victim need not prove that the driver was negligent because the conduct is automatically considered negligent.
HOW TO FILE A CLAIM
Because it is possible that fetal injuries sustained in a car wreck may not be evident until after the child is born, it is important not to settle your claim before birth. Settling the claim early on means that you could be accepting a compensation amount that may not adequately cover your and your baby’s injuries.
Hiring an experienced attorney may allow you to seek the compensation you may be entitled to. Generally, an experienced personal injury attorney can:
- Assist you in determining liability. If the drunk driver who injured you was not convicted of DUI, an attorney might assist you in proving to the court that the driver who hit you was the one who negligently caused your injuries and your baby’s injuries. A lawyer may also assist you in determining how much you may be entitled to for your injuries based upon each party’s percentage of fault.
- Assist you in collecting and organizing evidence. An attorney may help you collect as much evidence as possible, which includes: the accident report by the police officer at the scene of the accident, names of witnesses and other parties involved in the accident, medical records and costs of treatment, and any photos of the accident scene.
- Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance adjuster or defense attorney. Experienced lawyers may be familiar with calculating the value of cases such as yours. By knowing how much the case is worth, they may help you conduct negotiations with the insurance carrier in order to seek the maximum compensation you may be entitled to.
Typically, damages for personal injury claims fall under two categories: economic or non-economic damages.
The two main types of economic damages are medical expenses and lost wages.
Medical expenses can include:
- Ambulance transportation
- Hospital fees
- Costs of rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Costs for possible future medical treatment for you and/or your child.
Lost wages represent the time you are off from work because of your injuries from the accident.
Lost wages may include:
- Vacation time
- Loss of earning capacity
Non-economic damages are losses or injuries that are suffered by a car accident victim but are not defined in monetary terms. Non-economic damages may cover:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- physical impairment
- Physical disfigurement
- A lowered quality of life
- Mental anguish.
Any injury while pregnant is cause for great distress. Some mothers may face an even greater tragedy as a result of a car accident: the loss of their baby. In a majority of states, losing a fetus could mean additional damages for emotional trauma in a personal injury claim.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, it’s important to keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations for these kinds of cases. The statute of limitations mandates that a victim must file their personal injury claim within a certain time period after the date of the accident. Failing to file a claim within the set time period could bar the claim from being heard in court.
Because each state has its own time limit for car accident cases under the statute of limitations, it’s important that you consult with a legal professional to find out how many years you’ll have to file your lawsuit after the date of your accident.
CALL THE PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury attorneys have the experience and knowledge to help pregnant women seek compensation after suffering an injury from a motor vehicle accident. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible and to seek the maximum compensation you may be entitled to.
Our firm also believes that an injured victim should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable result for your personal injury claim. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving accident while pregnant, call Zinda Law Group at (888) 659 9392 for a 100% free case evaluation with our personal injury attorneys.
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