Can a Car Accident Cause a Miscarriage?

Pregnant woman after a Car Accident

Pregnant woman after a Car AccidentSimply put, yes. Pregnant women who suffer significant blunt trauma in a car accident may be at risk of a miscarriage. How far along they are in their pregnancy is an important factor, as well as the force and location of the impact. A miscarriage may be caused indirectly if the mother is seriously injured or by direct trauma to the fetus itself. Needless to say, a miscarriage can be extremely traumatic and heartbreaking. As you recover physically and emotionally, the added stress of a lawsuit is probably the last thing you want to think about. That said, though no amount of money will never truly make up for your loss, legal routes toward a measure of accountability exist when the accident occurred at little to no fault of your own. When an unborn baby is lost as a result of a car accident, the baby’s parents may have a wrongful death claim. The legal team at Butler Kahn is here to make sure you do not face the path alone. If you suffered a miscarriage in a car accident, our hearts go out to you. Our personal injury attorneys are ready to provide the compassionate legal representation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.

Trauma-Induced Miscarriage Statistics & Facts

According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, trauma during pregnancy is a leading cause of maternal and fetal death. The study evaluated 878,546 pregnant women aged 16–46 years over an eight-year period. It concluded that most trauma leading to hospitalization during pregnancy is caused by car accidents. Another study reports that trauma is sustained in 8% of all pregnancies. It further concludes that pelvic fracture is involved in 35% of trauma-induced miscarriages, making this the most common maternal injury leading to fetal death. Other leading causes include:

  • Direct Injury to the Fetus (20%)
  • Placental Abruption (32%)
  • Maternal Shock (36%)

A placental abruption, which occurs when the lining of the uterus detaches from the placenta too soon, is particularly dangerous to the life of both the mother and child. A uterine rupture, which occurs when the muscular tissue making up the uterus tears during pregnancy, is also quite dangerous and requires emergency attention. Both may be caused by trauma sustained in car accidents.

How Is Liability Established for a Miscarriage Caused by a Car Accident?

There are two primary routes toward legal compensation for a miscarriage caused by car accidents. This section explores both in turn.

1. Negligence

This route allows a mother to recover compensation for personal injuries caused by a car accident, including those associated with miscarriage. Among other things, a negligence claim may result in compensation for things like:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lowered earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Reduced quality of life

To establish a successful negligence claim, plaintiffs must prove that the defendant caused their injuries by violating their duty to use reasonable care to avoid causing harm to others. Alternatively, if the defendant violated a traffic law designed to keep people safe and thereby caused an accident, they may be held liable under the doctrine of negligence per se, which allows plaintiffs to skip over the traditional elements of negligence.

2. Wrongful Death

This route allows parents to recover compensation for the wrongful death of their unborn child, as well as surviving family members for the wrongful death of the mother in the event she was also killed in the accident. In Georgia, a wrongful death case involving a car accident may be based on the at-fault party’s civil negligence or criminal act. Either way, plaintiffs may be entitled to compensation for the “full value” of the deceased person’s life. In the case of an unborn child, the parents can recover for the loss of an unborn child after the “quickening,” which Georgia courts interpret as when the fetus is capable of moving independently inside the womb. That occurs from 10 weeks to 16 weeks of pregnancy. In all cases, however, determining the appropriate value involves a highly subjective inquiry that is likely to become one of the most contested legal issues. Therefore, it is very important to secure an experienced attorney who can push back when the at-fault party tries to minimize the true nature of your loss. [su_youtube url=”” “width=100%” title=”What if I was in a Car Accident While Pregnant?”]

Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Claim?

Yes. The deadline is set by a law known as the statute of limitations. In Georgia, the deadline for most personal injury cases, as well as wrongful death lawsuits, is set at two years from the date of injury or death. This deadline comes with a few narrow exceptions. For example, if the accident was caused by a crime for which the at-fault party is being prosecuted, the statute may be extended (or in legal language, “tolled”) for a maximum of six years until the prosecution is finished. This exception may be relevant if the at-fault party in the car accident is prosecuted for vehicular homicide or feticide. No matter the precise deadline, if you miss it, your right to recover compensation from the at-fault party will be severely compromised. In most cases, a missed deadline will result in your case being dismissed in court. To make sure your case is filed before the correct deadline, speak to an injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Doing so will also give your attorney plenty of time to build a strong case on your behalf. The personal injury attorneys at Butler Kahn are ready to handle your case.

Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Today

Losing an unborn child may be one of the most difficult experiences someone can go through. Though the law cannot undo this kind of loss, it does provide some avenues to secure a measure of justice and accountability in civil court. Therefore, if you lost your unborn child in a car accident caused at little to no fault of your own, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The injury attorneys at Butler Kahn are ready to evaluate your case and provide the compassionate legal representation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Picture of Jeb Butler
Jeb Butler’s career as a Georgia trial lawyer has led to a $150 million verdict in a product liability case against Chrysler for a dangerous vehicle design that caused the death of a child, a $45 million settlement for a young man who permanently lost the ability to walk and talk, and numerous other verdicts and settlements, many of which are confidential at the defendant’s insistence. Jeb has worked on several cases that led to systemic changes and improvements in public safety. He has been repeatedly recognized as a Georgia SuperLawyer and ranks among Georgia’s legal elite. Jeb graduated in the top 10% of his class at UGA Law, argued on the National Moot Court team, and published in the Law Review. He is the founding partner of Butler Kahn law firm. Connect with me on LinkedIn
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