A woman’s pregnancy should be an exciting and hopeful time in their lives. However, for some women, it can come with a variety of worries and hazards. Expectant mothers have to face a multitude of potential dangers such as drugs, alcohol, tobacco, raw/undercooked foods, etc. On top of all that, pregnant women also have to worry about the dangers of getting behind the wheel. This danger begs the question: can a car accident cause a miscarriage? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Below, Chicago personal injury lawyers at Curcio Law Offices break down the potential dangers that come with driving while pregnant.
If you have experienced or are currently experiencing a miscarriage after a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. It is imperative that you call the team at Curcio Law Offices if you were pregnant in a car accident and have suffered a loss due to a driver’s carelessness. Please call (312) 321-1111 to set up your free consultation and find out what sets Curcio Law Offices apart as they fight for your legal rights.
What is a Miscarriage?
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy that happens before the 20th week, usually spontaneous or subsequently from an accident. Most miscarriages occur within the first trimester (first 12 weeks), typically from the fetus not developing correctly.
There are several warning signs that may indicate a miscarriage is occurring, with some of them being:
- Cramping, discomfort, or pain in the lower back and abdomen
- Spotting, bleeding, or abnormal discharge and tissue passing from the vagina
- A sudden loss in pregnancy symptoms
- Nausea, vomiting, and extreme fatigue or weakness
Some of these symptoms can mimic normal pregnancy symptoms, so having some or a few of these may not be cause for alarm. Still, it is better to seek medical treatment immediately to ensure the safety of both mother and baby.
How Many Miscarriages Happen in the U.S. Every Year?
In an article written by the Mayo Clinic, approximately 10-20% of U.S. pregnancies end in a miscarriage. Put simply, this means that one in four pregnancies will end in miscarriage.
In light of this information, we can’t ignore the fact that we can never know an exact and accurate number of U.S. miscarriages. This is because some women may experience a miscarriage so early on that they never knew they were pregnant.
Why Do Miscarriages Happen?
When facing such a tough loss, it is easy for mothers to want to place blame on themselves or elsewhere. While other underlying health conditions or accidents (such as a car accident while pregnant) can cause miscarriages, they typically occur due to a developmental issue with the baby. The Mayo Clinic reports that up to 50% of miscarriages happen due to chromosomal abnormalities, and it is not often problems inherited by the parents but instead missing or extra chromosomes due to early embryo division and development.
While it is not as common to lose a pregnancy to a woman’s underlying health conditions, it may still occur.
The health conditions that could potentially cause a miscarriage include:
- Issues with the thyroid
- Untreated or poorly controlled diabetes
- Hormonal imbalances
- High blood pressure
Miscarriage Risk Factors
A pregnant woman may have a greater risk of miscarriage if she:
- Is over the age of 35 years old
- Has an abnormal uterus or cervix
- Has had miscarriages or failed pregnancies in the past
- Is participating in the use of dangerous behaviors such as illicit drugs, smoking, or alcohol consumption
- Has a chronic health condition that is poorly managed
- Is severely underweight or obese
- Has hormonal problems and imbalances
- Has suffered physical violence
Can a Car Accident Cause a Miscarriage?
Unfortunately, yes. If you are in a car wreck while pregnant, a miscarriage can occur.
Can a Low Impact Car Accident Cause a Miscarriage?
Something as simple as a fender bender or some other low impact car accident may only cause soreness or minor bodily injuries, but it can also lead to a tragic pregnancy loss. As an example, the violent airbag deployment can result in injury to both mom and the baby. It is also possible a low sitting steering wheel can deliver a brutal blow and cause harm. This is why it is critical to seek immediate medical attention after a car crash, even if it was minor or if you feel okay.
How Many Miscarriages Happen Due to Car Accidents Every Year?
Pregnancy and car accident aren’t two words anyone likes to hear together, but regrettably it is very common. In this article by the Birth Injury Health Center, they place the number at an approximate 3,000-5,000 fetuses miscarried as a result of a vehicular accident, with the number of expectant moms experiencing a car crash at about 200,000.
If the unborn child survives the crash, it is still possible the wreck can cause lifelong health problems and complications due to the impact trauma sustained in the womb.
Common Car Accident Injuries During Pregnancy
Being the victim of a car crash while pregnant can cause a variety of pregnancy related injuries for both mother and the unborn child. Below, we touch on just a few of the possible pregnancy complications to watch out for.
Placental abruption, simply put, is when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall. This restricts blood flow, resulting in not enough oxygen getting to the baby. This can result in fetal death without immediate medical intervention. Placental abruption is more likely to happen towards the middle or end of a pregnancy, with the force of the impact tearing a placenta from a uterine wall with little to no effort. It can also occur from a violent force of a lap belt, steering wheel, or air bag on the stomach. This study shows that this pregnancy complication occurs in 1-5% of minor crashes and 20-50% of major motor vehicle accidents involving expecting mothers.
A uterine rupture is very much like it sounds; it is when there is a tear in the uterus. This complication is rare, but it carries the highest risk of death to the fetus. Sadly, the mortality rate from this complication is almost 100%. The only option to possibly save the baby would be an immediate delivery, but based on your gestation time, there may be other serious difficulties such as premature birth.
A uterine rupture can also be caused due to a number of other factors in a car accident, including airbag deployment, or the force from a seat belt or steering wheel. This is an injury that can occur whether or not you are wearing your seatbelt, as you can be thrown across the dash or from the car.
It is possible for a pregnant woman to go into what is called hypovolemic shock after a car accident. Hypovolemic shock is a condition defined as an emergency situation when the body can’t pump enough blood throughout the body due to massive blood loss. As a result, the body will try to correct this by sending the blood to the essential organs. Without immediate medical care, the organs can fail and the fetus can die.
Fetal trauma, though the most uncommon amongst this list, can also occur during a car accident. This is when the fetus sustains a direct hit or injury during a car accident. Direct Fetal Injury, or DFI for short, statistically only happens in about 10% of wrecks involving pregnant women. It is most common during the second and third trimester.
Can I Sue if a Car Accident Caused my Miscarriage?
Yes, you can absolutely sue if you suffered a miscarriage or pregnancy loss as a result of a negligent driver. In most states, including Illinois, the mother may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit if she was more than 24 weeks pregnant at the time of the crash. This stage in pregnancy marks fetal viability, meaning the fetus could have survived outside the womb.
If you suffered or are suffering major or debilitating complications as a result of a car crash, such as hypovolemic shock, uterine rupture, placental injury, or preterm labor, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at fault party. If you are looking for a compassionate legal team to handle your lawsuit, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Curcio Law Offices. We have the skill and experience necessary to handle pregnancy injuries caused by car crashes.
Damages for Loss of Fetus and/or Pregnancy Complications During a Car Accident
If you happen to find yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident while carrying a child, our law office can help you recover financially with compensation for any of the following types of damages:
- Past and any future medical bills and treatment
- Past and future rehabilitation bills
- Lost wages
- Future infertility
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental health counseling, treatment and subsequent bills
- Physical pain/suffering
- Permanent disfigurement, disabilities, developmental problems, and scarring
- Death of the fetus
Call Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers at Curcio Law Offices Today
No one should ever have to Google the words pregnant car accident compensation, but choosing a strong and competent legal team is vital to the process of receiving justice and financial compensation. The answer to this is Chicago’s own Curcio Law Offices, who will fight for you during this impossible time. The team is ready and waiting to take your call and listen to your story. We know that financial compensation can’t replace the death of an unborn baby, but still, it can give you the resources you need to heal from this traumatic experience. Please visit our website at www.curcio-law.com or call us today at (312) 321-1111 to schedule your free consultation today.