Pregnant women are naturally much more vulnerable to a variety of dangers and health problems compared to non-pregnant women. Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, deli meat, and even riding in the car can pose major threats to both mother and baby. After reading this brief list of things to avoid during pregnancy, you may be wondering: can a car accident cause a miscarriage? Tragically, the answer is yes. If you have experienced pregnancy loss after a car accident, you have legal options. It’s crucial to call an Albany car accident attorney at Bailey, Johnson & Peck if you have suffered pregnancy loss or complications due to a negligent driver. We can help you obtain justice and financial compensation. Call 518-456-0082 to schedule a free consultation at our legal team.
What is a Miscarriage?
A miscarriage is a fetal death that occurs before the 20th week of pregnancy. So a miscarriage can happen several weeks into the second trimester, although most miscarriages happen in the first trimester, generally before week 12.
These are warning signs and symptoms that a miscarriage may be occurring:
- Vaginal spotting and bleeding
- Cramping in the lower abdomen or lower back
- Strange fluid or tissue coming out of the vagina
- A sudden loss of typical pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and breast soreness
Some of these symptoms – such as vaginal spotting and cramping in the lower abdomen – are normal during the first trimester of a healthy pregnancy. Still, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately to make sure that everything is okay.
How Many Miscarriages Happen in the U.S. Every Year?
According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 10% to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage in the United States. This means that approximately 1 million pregnant women lose their pregnancies on an annual basis.
The actual number of annual miscarriages in the U.S. could be much higher than this, because some women experience a miscarriage before they even know that they’re pregnant.
Why Do Miscarriages Happen?
Many pregnant women assume that their miscarriage occurred due to underlying health problems, and while this is sometimes true, about half of miscarriages occur due to a developmental flaw with the fetus. In fact, the Mayo Clinic claims that up to 50% of miscarriages occur due to chromosomal abnormalities. The chromosomal abnormalities are often not caused by or inherited by the parents. Most of the time, extra or missing chromosomes occur due to errors in embryo division and growth.
Less commonly, a miscarriage may occur due to the mother’s underlying health conditions. Health conditions that can lead to a miscarriage include:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Problems with the uterus or cervix
- Thyroid problems
- Untreated or poorly managed diabetes
Miscarriage Risk Factors
A pregnant woman may have a higher risk of having a miscarriage if she:
- Has problems with her uterus or cervix
- Is over the age of 35
- Has had previous miscarriages
- Is suffering from physical abuse, such as domestic violence
- Has chronic health conditions such as poorly managed diabetes or major hormonal imbalances
- Is drinking alcohol, smoking, and is using illicit drugs
- Is severely underweight or overweight
Can a Car Accident Cause a Miscarriage?
Yes, a car crash can cause a miscarriage or a stillbirth. Stillbirth is when an unborn baby dies during the later stages of pregnancy, usually after 20 weeks.
Can a Low Impact Car Accident Cause a Miscarriage?
A low impact car accident – such as a fender bender – can cause fetal death, but it’s more likely to cause a variety of pregnancy injuries. For example, driver side airbag deployment and seat belt syndrome can negatively impact both the mother and the unborn child. A steering wheel that sits too low and violently hits the pregnant belly could also cause injury of some kind. That’s why it’s always a good idea to seek medical care after a car crash, even if you feel fine.
How Many Miscarriages Happen Due to Car Accidents Every Year?
Tragically, car crashes are responsible for thousands of miscarriages and stillbirths every year in the United States. In fact, this study claims that between 1,500 and 5,000 pregnancy losses occur due to motor vehicle crashes on an annual basis.
Even if the fetus does survive the car wreck, it may endure lifelong complications due to the trauma sustained in the womb.
Common Car Accident Injuries During Pregnancy
Getting into a car accident while pregnant can result in pregnancy injuries for both the mother and the baby. Below, we discuss some of the possible pregnancy complications that can occur during an auto accident.
Placental abruption is when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall during pregnancy. This pregnancy complication restricts blood flow and oxygen to the unborn baby, which can result in fetal death, especially without immediate medical attention.
Placental abruption is the most common cause of pregnancy loss in car accidents. In fact, the same study linked above claims that this complication occurs in 1% to 5% of minor accidents and 20% to 50% of major accidents involving pregnant women.
Pregnant women are more likely to experience placental abruption in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. It generally happens when the mother’s body and womb is jerked forward and backward during a sudden stop. This violent force can easily rip the placenta from the uterine wall. Placental abruption can also occur due to the violent force on the mother’s belly from a seat belt or a steering wheel.
Uterine rupture occurs when the uterus tears. This is one of the most rare pregnancy complications and it carries the highest risk of death to the unborn child. In fact, the mortality rate is almost 100%. In order to potentially save the baby, it must be delivered immediately. But premature birth comes with other complications, including death to the baby.
Uterine rupture can occur due to the violent force of a seat belt, steering wheel, or airbag in a car crash. Additionally, a pregnant woman can sustain this injury if she isn’t wearing a seat belt during a crash, she ejects from her seat, and violently lands on the dashboard or hood.
A pregnant woman can go into hypovolemic shock after a car wreck. Hypovolemic shock occurs when the body can’t pump enough blood throughout the body due to massive blood loss. So the body will try to compensate for the blood loss by directing remaining blood to the most essential organs. Without emergency medical care, the organs can fail and the unborn baby can die.
Lastly, and most uncommonly, an unborn child can suffer direct injury during a car accident. Direct Fetal Injury (DFI) only happens in about 10% of crashes involving pregnant women, and is most common during the second and third trimesters.
Can I Sue if a Car Accident Caused My Miscarriage?
Yes, you can certainly sue if a negligent driver crashed into you and caused the death of your unborn baby. Most states allow the mother to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the fetus as long as it is viable at the time of death. Fetuses are considered viable after 24 weeks.
If you suffered major pregnancy complications as a result of a motor vehicle accident – such as preterm labor, placental abruption, uterine rupture, hypovolemic shock, etc. – then you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.
The legal team at Bailey, Johnson & Peck has the skill and experience necessary to take on both personal injury and wrongful death cases related to car accidents. We understand how physically and emotionally traumatic both pregnancy loss and car crashes can be. And if a drunk driver or a texting driver is to blame, then you have grounds to obtain justice and financial compensation.
Damages for Loss of Fetus and/or Pregnancy Complications During a Car Accident
If you were involved in a car accident while pregnant, our legal team can help you recover financial compensation for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future rehabilitative bills
- Lost wages
- Mental health counseling bills
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of fetus
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, and disability (for the mother)
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, and disability (for the baby, if it survives the crash)
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of fertility
How Our Legal Team Can Help You If You Got Into a Car Accident While Pregnant
If you or your unborn child suffered major complications during an auto accident, you should seek strong legal representation as soon as possible. This is how Albany personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck can help you:
- Listen to your story
- Investigate the details of the accident
- Help you determine if you have grounds to file a personal injury and/or wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party
- Gather sufficient evidence to prove the driver’s negligence directly caused the pregnancy loss/trauma
- Help you file an insurance claim with your own insurance company (because New York is a no-fault state)
- Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company
- Protect your legal rights
Call Albany Car Accident Lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck Today
If you are an expectant mother who was involved in a car accident – and who suffered major injuries and/or pregnancy loss as a result – you need an Albany car accident attorney on your side. Pregnancy loss and complications are traumatic on their own, but adding the trauma of a car crash into the mix makes everything so much harder. Our legal team wants to support you and obtain justice for you during this impossible time. Call 518-456-0082 to schedule a free consultation at our law firm today.