What Should You Do If You’re in a Car Accident While Pregnant?

Pregnant woman driving in the highway.

If an expectant mother is involved in a car accident, there is cause for concern for both her and her unborn child.

If you were pregnant when were in a car crash, you have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable for any injuries you’ve sustained, as well as any injuries to your unborn child. The Georgia car accident lawyers at Butler Law Firm have decades of experience helping car crash victims, including pregnant mothers.

Our firm is committed to providing the help you need. When you hire us, you will work directly with one of our attorneys. They’ll be with you through every step of the legal process.

If you think we could help with your situation and you’d like to talk with us about it, contact us by phone or online. It costs nothing to speak to our lawyers and our conversation will be completely confidential.

Risks During the First and Second Trimesters of Pregnancy

While there are health risks if you’re involved in a car accident at any point in your pregnancy, those risks are somewhat less pronounced in the early stages.

During the first trimester (the first 12 weeks or so of the pregnancy), traveling in a car is generally safer than when you’re further along. If you are involved in a car crash in the first trimester, the fetus has greater protection from the effects of a crash and is less susceptible to sudden stops and jolts.

During the second trimester (the next 12 weeks of the pregnancy), the fetus is still fairly well protected from the effects of a crash, but you could sustain greater injuries yourself. If these injuries are severe enough, they could end up having an impact on your unborn child.

While the dangers from a car accident are reduced in the first and second trimesters, any car accident when you’re pregnant could raise serious health concerns. If you’re involved in a crash, you should get to the ER as soon as possible and see your obstetrician.

Possible Pregnancy Complications After a Collision

Some of the possible health complications from being involved in a car accident while pregnant include:

  • Miscarriage
  • Early labor
  • Severe bleeding, both internally or externally
  • Birth defects
  • Maternal shock, which occurs when a mother loses so much blood that the heart cannot function properly. When this happens, the body will redirect blood and other nutrients away from the fetus to the mother, putting the fetus in jeopardy.
  • Contrecoup injuries, which occur when your body is violently forced in one direction before abruptly snapping back in the other direction. This puts intense stress on your body and can harm the fetus.
  • Placental disruption, which is when your placenta prematurely detaches from the wall of the uterus. This can put your unborn child in extreme danger and can lead to fetal death.
  • Uterine rupture, which is when a collision causes a spontaneous tear of the uterus. These injuries are fatal to the unborn child in nearly all instances.

Car Accident Symptoms to Look Out for When Pregnant

If you’re involved in a car accident while you’re pregnant, here are a few warning signs to watch out for:

  • Losing consciousness during or after the accident
  • Pain in your pelvic region
  • Any fluid discharging from your vagina
  • Bleeding from your vagina
  • Severe headaches
  • Facial swelling
  • Chills and/or fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting that does not seem to be related to morning sickness
  • Any change or cessation in your baby’s movements

Any of these symptoms could be a sign of serious underlying injuries to you, your child, or both. Seek emergency medical treatment right away and call your obstetrician if you experience any of these symptoms.

Ways for Pregnant Drivers to Protect Themselves

While it would be ideal if pregnant women could avoid driving, it is just not feasible for the vast majority. If you need to travel in a car while you’re pregnant, especially in the later stages of pregnancy, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid getting behind the wheel if possible. Having a family member or friend drive you means you aren’t in a position where you could hit the steering wheel in the event of an accident.
  • Wear your seatbelt properly. Place the lap belt under your abdomen and above your hips. This will prevent the seatbelt from constricting your developing child if you’re in a crash. Also make sure the shoulder belt is across your chest, above your abdomen.
  • Move your seat back away from the steering wheel when driving. You want to do everything you can to keep from being pressed into the steering wheel in the event of a crash.

What to Do After the Crash

If you are involved in a crash while you’re pregnant, here are the steps you should take to give yourself the best chance of recovering compensation:

  • Follow your doctor’s orders exactly as they’re given. Not only does ignoring your doctor’s instructions put you and your unborn baby in danger, but it could also give the insurance company ammunition to argue for a lower payout.
  • Save all your medical records, bills, and pay stubs. This evidence helps demonstrate the nature of your injuries and offers a record of the financial losses you’ve sustained.
  • Preserve whatever evidence you can from the accident scene. Take pictures if you can and try to remember as much as you can about the details of the crash.
  • Start a journal and monitor your daily pain levels. To get compensation for the pain you’ve endured as a result of the accident, you’ll need to show how your injuries have impacted your daily life. Writing down the details of the accident can help preserve them for future reference.
  • Get help from a car accident attorney. Under Georgia law, you have two years to file a lawsuit in a personal injury case. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the faster they can start building your case to seek the compensation you deserve.

Compensation for Injuries Suffered by Pregnant Mothers in Car Crashes

Here are a few of the things you could be compensated for if you’re involved in a car accident while pregnant:

  • Your medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • The physical pain you’ve endured
  • Emotional pain and anguish
  • The cost of any future medical care you or your child may need

Still have questions about your rights after being involved in a car crash while pregnant? We’re here to help. Contact Butler Law Firm for a free case review. We’ll discuss your legal rights and options and explain how we can help you seek the compensation you deserve.