Can Being Pregnant In a Car Accident Affect My Personal Injury Case?
A pregnant mother’s worst fear is losing her baby, followed by having her baby suffer preventable harm before they come into this world. Motor vehicle accidents pose very real risks for these tragedies.
According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury and death for pregnant women. They’re also the leading cause of traumatic fetal deaths.
While parents may take every precaution possible to protect their growing babies, including safety-conscious driving, they cannot insulate them from every potential risk. That’s particularly true when others with whom they share public roads fail to safely operate their vehicles.
At Biren Law Group, our Father-Son legal team is well aware of the concerns expectant parents face simply by the nature of being parents-to-be. As attorneys who’ve represented pregnant mothers and fathers in personal injury cases involving preventable auto accidents, we also know these concerns warrant careful consideration when pursuing compensation for our clients’ damages.
Pregnancy As A Consideration in Car Accident Lawsuits
For expectant mothers involved in auto accidents, concerns about the health of an unborn baby can add tremendous emotional turbulence to experiences that are already incredibly difficult. For example, studies have shown that car crashes can significant increase risks of injuries and complications such as:
- Premature birth
- Placental abruption or uterine injury
- Direct and indirect harm to shared maternal and fetal organs
- Fetal trauma or brain damage
- Low birth weight and birth defects
- Wrongful death
These types of injuries are certainly actionable if they were caused by the negligent or wrongful acts of others. Though personal injury claims may be filed over preventable injuries suffered by mothers and babies, the California Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s wrongful death statute (CA Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60) applies only when a baby is delivered alive. Parents who suffer miscarriages as due to accidents may not have grounds for a wrongful death claim, but such a tragic loss is compensable in a personal injury action.
Recoverable Damages for Pregnant Mothers Involved in Auto Accidents
Because pregnancy does introduce unique issues in a personal injury case, it’s vital that they be addressed when the time comes for seeking compensation from those at fault.
In addition to performing the necessary investigations to determine fault and liability and prove the essential elements of a personal injury claim, we take great care in assessing how accidents affected the lives of victims and their families. We also evaluate the scope of economic and non-economic damages to which they are entitled, including pain and suffering, lost income, and medical expenses.
While damages vary in every case, there are special concerns associated with pregnancy that could result in unique economic and non-economic losses, and the right to damages beyond those mentioned above. This is similar to how some military service members or veterans may be entitled to special damages when accidents exacerbate pre-existing conditions such as PTSD.
Because Plaintiffs must prove that they suffered actual damages in order to prevail in their claims, illustrating the scope of tangible losses endured by victims and families is always an important factor in personal injury cases.
For pregnant mothers, these tangible losses can extend beyond the costs of treating and recovering from their own injuries; they may include costs and losses associated with:
- Exams and testing to evaluate the health of an unborn child
- Increased medical monitoring for the remainder of a pregnancy
- Specialized treatment or care to address complications caused by the accident
- Lost income due to medically advised bed rest
- Emergency C-sections necessitated by the auto accident
- Additional care for injured or premature babies
- Long-term medical needs of a child born with birth defects
Victims injured by negligence have the right to recover compensation for their non-economic damages – that is, the intangible losses they incur as a result of their accidents and injuries.
Because preventable injuries have the potential for devastating consequences, non-economic damages are not insignificant in personal injury cases; they can and often do account for a considerable part of any final settlement or verdict, especially if victims suffered catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, or endured other types of “special damages” worth consideration.
For pregnant mothers, this is undoubtedly true. In the wake of a preventable crash, mothers may face overwhelming emotional and psychological suffering, including:
- The emotional toll of having a pregnancy deemed “high-risk” due to a car accident.
- Persistent fears over the health of their unborn baby
- Concerns about the effects on a pregnancy and childbirth, or a baby’s early development
- Stress, anxiety, and depression
- Psychosomatic disorders (physical symptoms arising or influenced by emotions)
- Stress-induced complications
The fear, anguish, and emotional suffering experienced by pregnant mothers following a car accident is not exclusive to mothers who suffer pregnancy-related injuries. Even mothers who experience minor injuries or injuries of an unrelated nature can endure traumatic psychological suffering that may warrant additional compensation.
At Biren Law Group, we have successfully argued that every minute a mother endures without knowing the health and future of her child is worth significant compensation. Few things are more sacred or vulnerable than a mother in this situation.
Additionally, this psychological trauma is not limited to pregnant mothers. Expectant fathers can suffer the same fears, concerns, and feelings of helplessness, especially if they were involved in the accident themselves, and experienced the trauma first-hand.
Biren Law Group: A Father-Son Legal Team Devoted to Helping Families
Accidents and injuries involving pregnant women create unique concerns during the personal injury claim process and the pursuit of financial compensation – and the suffering of parents worried about the fate of their unborn child deserves to be taken into consideration. If you have questions about your rights and options, our team at Biren Law Group is here to help.
Backed by decades of experience, our award-winning trial lawyers represent families across Los Angeles and Southern California. Call or contact us online for a free consultation.