During a pregnancy, most mothers go to great lengths to protect the health of their growing baby which is why one of the most terrifying and catastrophic events that can occur for a pregnant woman is a car accident. What is more, statistics show that during a woman’s second trimester, a woman’s risk of being in a car accident that is severe enough to cause injuries warranting an emergency room visit is 42 percent greater. To prevent the following pregnancy injuries from a car accident, be sure to drive safely and wear a seatbelt.
Placental Abruption Injury
The most common injury that a pregnant woman and her unborn child may suffer during a car accident is a placental abruption injury. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that a placental abruption—often leading to fetal loss—occurs in one to five percent of minor car accidents involving pregnant women, and 20 to 50 percent of serious auto accidents involving pregnant women.
A placental abruption injury occurs when the placenta—the organ that nourishes the growing fetus—detaches from the uterine wall. The detaching of the placenta cuts off both the nutrient and the oxygen supply to the fetus. In some cases, a partial, rather than a full, placental abruption may occur.
Injury to the Uterus
A woman’s uterus may also suffer harm during a car accident, referred to as a uterine injury. Two common types of uterine injuries experienced by pregnant women involved in auto accidents are uterine ruptures or/and uterine lacerations reports the NHTSA. However, while these may be common types, uterine injuries are still rare; less than one percent of women involved in auto accidents suffer this injury type. If a uterine rupture occurs in a pregnant woman, the fetus will not survive.
These injuries can be caused by seatbelt loading, improper use of lap belts/seat belts, or lack of seat belt use entirely.
Direct Fetal Injury
In rare cases, a fetus may sustain a direct injury. While this occurs in less than 10 percent of car accidents involving pregnant women, a direct fetal injury can be devastating. Usually, this injury type only occurs after the first three months of pregnancy, as prior to this, the pelvis still completely protects the fetus. It is after three months that the uterus protrudes, i.e. a woman is “showing”, or pregnancy is most obvious.
In the event that a pregnant woman’s stomach is struck during a car accident, her fetus may be struck as well. Most commonly, an injury to the fetus’s head occurs, as this is the largest part of a fetus’s body. The severity of the crash and the strike to the fetus determines the severity of injury. A pregnant woman can reduce her risk of a direct fetal injury by always wearing a seatbelt correctly when riding in a vehicle.
When an Auto Accident Leads to Loss of a Fetus or Fetal Harm
If you have been in a car accident in Georgia, Georgia law allows you to file a claim with your own insurance company, with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or directly against the responsible party. If you have lost a fetus or if your fetus has suffered harm in an auto accident caused by another’s fault, you have the right to seek damages for both economic and noneconomic (e.g., pain and suffering) losses.
At the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C., our personal injury and wrongful death attorneys can help you. Losing a child or knowing that your child was injured is emotional and traumatic; let us guide you through the process of seeking damages. Contact us today at 404-474-0804 to get started.