Anyone can suffer personal injury due to the impact of a car accident, but pregnant women and their unborn children are especially vulnerable to severe injuries in the event of a motor vehicle collision.
If you’re a pregnant woman who was hurt in a car wreck, or if you suffered a miscarriage following an auto accident, the accomplished Denver car accident attorneys at the Frickey Law Firm can help you understand your legal options and pursue the financial compensation you need. Please call 303-237-7373 for your free consultation with one of our lawyers.
Risks of a Car Accident during Pregnancy
Medical attention should be a priority after any car crash that may have resulted in injuries, but timely care is critical for pregnant women, even if there are no obvious signs of injuries. The force of some collisions can result in trauma to children in the womb, and cause unseen internal damage.
Even fender-benders of minor to moderate impact can increase an expecting mother’s risk of early labor, miscarriage, internal hemorrhaging, birth defects and other complications. In addition to facing a heightened risk of injuries to themselves and to their unborn children, pregnant women may also be more likely to be involved in car accidents.
During the second trimester of pregnancy, a woman’s chances of being in a motor vehicle collision are 42 percent greater than in the three years before pregnancy, according to an extensive 2014 study. The second trimester is also an important developmental stage for babies; during this span, babies’ brains, eyes, internal organs and nervous systems—not to mention the babies themselves—grow and mature rapidly.
Injuries to Unborn Children in Car Accidents
The womb’s structure and the amniotic fluid within generally provide unborn children with substantial protection from external trauma. One of the greatest risks to a fetus in the event of a car accident is placental abruption, in which the impact of the steering wheel or the jarring force of the collision causes the placenta to detach from the uterus; this can cause a life-threatening loss of oxygen to the baby.
Other potential fetal injuries in auto accidents include:
- Brain injuries, which may stem from placental abruption
- Birth defects related to injuries sustained in the collision
- Birth injuries related to premature birth
Fetal trauma that results in death is also a risk in motor vehicle accidents that involve pregnant women; the car accident fatality rate for unborn children is about four times greater than the fatality rate for infants and children up to age 4. If you were hurt or suffered a miscarriage as a result of a car accident, it’s advisable to discuss your case with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer who may be able to help you recover the financial security you need to cope with medical expenses and move forward with your life.
Types of Car Accidents Most Dangerous to Pregnant Women
While there are a number of factors that contribute to the type and severity of injuries that may be sustained in a car accident, long-term research indicates that there are certain types of collisions that result in higher rates of severe and catastrophic injuries than others. Among the most dangerous accidents are:
- Side-impact, or T-bone, collisions
- Head-on accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Rear-end collisions
Car accidents pose significant health hazards to pregnant women and their unborn children, but the good news is that automakers continue to develop new safety features and refine existing ones. There are also steps pregnant women can take to protect themselves and their babies in the event of a wreck.
Driving Tips for Pregnant Women
When possible during travel, pregnant women are advised to sit in a seat with a three-point seatbelt; this is the type of seatbelt that has both a shoulder harness and lap belt.
Pregnant women often misuse seatbelts, particularly the lap belt, in an attempt to find a comfortable position. Don’t trade safety for comfort. The shoulder belt should go across the chest and over the shoulder, not above or around the shoulder, and the lap belt should stretch over the pelvis, not the abdomen.
Pregnant women should also sit back from the steering wheel, which is often a contributing factor to maternal and fetal injuries in car accidents. You should be able to comfortably steer and reach the vehicle pedals, but be far enough back that the steering wheel is not in contact with or directly over your abdomen.
If you’re driving long distances, make sure to take frequent breaks in order to rest, stretch and walk. There are also a number of products—including pedal extenders, and back and neck supports—designed to make driving safer and more comfortable for pregnant women.
The car accident lawyers at the Frickey Law Firm are dedicated to helping accident victims from Lakewood and the greater Denver area. If you were hurt or a loved one died as a result of a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver, please contact the Frickey Law Firm online or call us at 303-237-7373 for your complimentary consultation.