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What Should You Do if You’re Pregnant and in a Car Accident?

Steven Matz
February 21, 2023 | Car Accident

Getting into a car accident can be one of the most stressful events in your life, but if you go through the ordeal while pregnant, the experience can be monumentally worse. You’ll need to get medical treatment urgently, not just for your own sake, but for the sake of your unborn child. Unfortunately, 3,000 to 5,000 fetuses are lost every year following injuries from a car accident, according to the Birth Injury Help Center.

If you were involved in an auto accident in Michigan as an expectant mother and subsequently lost your child, you may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and even wrongful death in some cases. Our personal injury lawyers at Matz Injury Law can help you if a car accident harms you or your child. Call our law firm at 1-866-22Not33 for a free consultation.

What Happens if I Am in a Car Accident While Pregnant?

pregnant woman putting a seatbelt on

Car crashes are dangerous enough under normal circumstances, but they’re especially troublesome if you’re pregnant. Even minor car accidents that you would otherwise be able to walk away from just fine can cause complications for a growing fetus. In fact, seat belts and airbags, which generally keep us safe, can actually cause fetal injuries.

Low-impact accidents are commonly referred to as fender benders, and they most often don’t result in any problems for the unborn baby. In about 5% of cases, though, the pregnant person can suffer what’s known as placental abruption. The greater the impact of the accident, the greater risk of injury there is to the child.

Despite their protective functionality, seat belts and airbags can be particularly dangerous to pregnant people. A deploying airbag can hit a person’s abdomen with significant force. While that force is obviously better than what you’d experience hitting the steering wheel or dash, that impact can harm a fetus. Seat belts offer a similar risk to the abdomen area, but those injuries pale compared to most injuries that occur when no seat belt is used.

What to Do in a Car Accident While Pregnant

If you’re involved in a Michigan car accident while pregnant, there are a few steps you should follow to make sure your health and your child’s health are prioritized over everything else.

Call the Police

You’ll want to get emergency services to your position as soon as possible, which means calling the police immediately. You should prioritize your own medical attention over anything else.

Inform Emergency Care of Your Pregnancy

Once EMTs arrive, you’ll want to inform them of your pregnancy right away. They need to be able to take the proper precautions when treating you to give the child the best chance of making it in the aftermath.

Seek Medical Care

After emergency services have been informed, your priority should be getting all the medical treatment you need. Try not to worry about medical bills or other troublesome distractions. Instead, focus on getting the care necessary in the wake of the accident.

Contact Your Insurance Company

With your medical needs taken care of, it’s time to contact your insurance company. Note that this is just to alert them that the accident occurred. This isn’t a point where you should be agreeing to any kind of settlement or compensation from your auto insurance company.

Hire an Attorney

Finally, you should hire a personal injury attorney for your case. Remember that insurance companies profit by denying as much coverage as possible, so you’ll want a car accident lawyer on your side that can put you in a better position for compensation.

6 Common Injuries From Car Accidents While Pregnant

pregnant woman holding her stomach in pain

Getting into a car accident while pregnant can lead to numerous types of injuries to the child, of which you should be aware. Your current week of pregnancy can impact the severity and risk of these injuries.

Placental Abruption

A placental abruption occurs when the placenta is disconnected from the wall of the uterus before it’s time to give birth. It may be complete or partial, and it’s more likely to occur in the later stages of pregnancy. When this happens, blood and oxygen to the baby can be restricted.

Uterine Rupture

While uterine ruptures are rare, it’s important to be aware of them. This is when the wall of the uterus is torn. It is incredibly dangerous with a high fetal mortality rate. In these cases, the baby must be delivered or it will be deprived of oxygen.

Maternal Shock

Maternal shock is a kind of hypovolemic shock in which the body restricts blood flow to the most essential organs as a kind of trauma response. In cases of pregnancy, the body does not consider the fetus to be essential.

Congenital Abnormalities

Due to the wide variety of potential injuries a pregnant person can suffer during an accident, your fetus could experience congenital anomalies, which are also known as birth defects. They could be benign, or they could be serious injuries.

Direct Fetal Trauma

Direct fetal trauma is when the fetus itself suffers physical injury. This doesn’t happen very often, with less than 10% of all accidents involving pregnant women having direct fetal trauma.

Premature Birth

Preterm labor is an uncommon but possible outcome of a car accident while pregnant. This will have the same potential medical issues as any other kind of premature birth.

What Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident While Pregnant?

In the wake of a motor vehicle accident while pregnant, you may be entitled to compensation for several different types of damages, even in no-fault accidents. Here are the most common.

Medical Expenses

The most obvious damages are medical expenses. These include treatment for both you and your child. These damages are typically easy to quantify simply by adding up the cost of medical treatments. Note that they can also include future treatments related to the accident.

Lost Wages

Getting into an accident can leave you injured to the point where you cannot work anymore, leading to missed opportunities for wages. Recovering damages for lost wages is meant to offset that.

Replacement Services

Recovering from an injury typically requires you to stay off your feet, so you’ll need someone else to take care of daily tasks like housekeeping and general maintenance.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering damages are difficult to quantify, but they generally involve the trauma and mental anguish you suffer in the aftermath of an accident.

Can I Sue for Wrongful Death if I Miscarry After a Car Accident?

husband and wife looking distressed at ultrasound pictures

Yes, you can sue for wrongful death if you suffer a fetal death after a car accident. Not only can you file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver, but they could also be faced with a felony charge. The mother of the lost child typically brings these lawsuits, but any family member can do so.

Protecting Injured Victims From Conception Onward

At Matz Injury Law, we fight against the negligence of drivers who put you and your child at risk as well as insurance companies that try to offer you less than you deserve. Your job is to focus on recovery. We’ll take care of the rest. Contact a Michigan accident attorney today for a free consultation by filling out our online contact form or calling 1-866-22Not33.

steven matz headshot

Written By Steven Matz

Founding Shareholder

Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury.

The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 331/3%. Michigan court rules require that the attorney fee be computed on the net sum recovered after deducting all disbursements properly chargeable to the enforcement of the claim.

What does 22not33 mean, exactly?

We can charge 22% while virtually all other injury attorneys charge 331/3% because we are very, very, good at obtaining results for our clients.

We do not spend millions of dollars on television ads; instead, we offer a lower fee to all our clients. We do not have dozens of lower paid associates handling our work. All our clients are represented by Steven and Jared Matz. Steven Matz started the firm in 1977 and since then has dedicated his life to representing injury victims. Jared joined the firm in 2016 but grew up listening to stories, discussing theories, and generally learning at the dinner table about how to effectively and compassionately represent injury victims. Jared Matz was literally born to represent individuals involved in motor vehicle crashes.

All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee and all our cases are handled at 22%. Whether the case settles or goes through trial, the fee does not change. While our competitors make excuses as to why they charge so much, we are obtaining results for our clients at a lower fee.

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