The injuries a pregnant woman involved in a Virginia Beach car accident suffers vary depending on the severity of the crash. There are some instances where an expecting woman suffers only relatively minor strains and sprains after an accident and her unborn child is thankfully unharmed. However, there are other instances where serious medical complications can occur such as a miscarriage, loss of oxygen to the child, or a ruptured placenta, which can cause a premature birth.
In most cases, a pregnant woman is especially vulnerable to injuries after a serious car accident. That is why it is important to seek immediate medical attention after a crash as well as retain a skilled attorney from Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers.
Recoverable Damages for Pregnant Women Involved in a Car Crash
A pregnant woman is entitled to receive payment for all medical expenses, pain, suffering, fright, inconvenience and scarring suffered as a result of her injuries that she sustained in a Virginia Beach car accident. Even in a minor accident, expecting mothers often incur larger medical expenses than others. More testing must be done to be sure the unborn child and mother are both safe and healthy. Additionally, it is not uncommon for a woman to start experiencing early contractions following the trauma of a motor vehicle crash.
A hospital may decide to keep an expecting mother overnight for observations in case she has a premature delivery of her child. Because these expenses and harms would not have been incurred by the mother but for the accident, they are therefore recoverable.
Car Accidents Causing Miscarriages
Pursuant to Virginia Code §8.01-50, Virginia’s Wrongful Death statute, if the unborn child dies or the mother suffers a miscarriage because of the trauma from an accident, a wrongful death claim can be brought against the at-fault driver for the death of the unborn baby. This law acknowledges the emotional pain and suffering experienced by a family after the loss of an unborn child. After such a horrific event, the family is entitled to payment for:
- Resulting medical care incurred in an effort to save the life;
- Sorrow and mental anguish because of the loss of life;
- Reasonable funeral expenses;
- Punitive damages for willful or wanton conduct such as drinking and driving with an aggravated blood alcohol content.
If an unborn child dies as a result of an accident, Virginia law sets forth both who can recover money for the loss of life and what damages can be claimed. In the instance of a miscarriage, the money is typically split between the child’s parents and siblings.
Premature Delivery as a Result of a Motor Vehicle Accident
If a car accident causes a pregnant woman in Virginia Beach to deliver her child early, not only does she have a personal injury case, but her newborn child has a separate claim as well. In this situation, the mother is entitled to payment for medical bills and other damages resulting from the early labor. For example, if the pregnancy was going well and on schedule for a full-term birth without complications, but because of the accident there was a ruptured placenta necessitating an emergency c-section, the medical expenses for this additional care are recoverable. The mother is be entitled to payment for the scarring and deformity caused by the c-section procedure, as well as additional days in the hospital.
The parents of the prematurely born child can also bring a separate claim on behalf of the child. Tragically, if a child is born prematurely, the baby may require a stay in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A lengthy stay in NICU can often cost well into six figures in medical expenses. If a car wreck causes premature labor and delivery, these costs would not have otherwise been incurred and are therefore claimable as a part of the child’s personal injury case.
Unfortunately, with premature births also come a number of known complications such as breathing problems, heart problems, brain injuries, metabolism problems, and immune system problems. Any resulting injuries related to the premature birth caused by a car accident are claimable as part of the child’s personal injury case.
Contact a Virginia Beach Attorney About the Injuries Pregnant Women May Suffer in a Car Wreck
If you are a pregnant woman who suffered injuries in a Virginia Beach car accident, do not hesitate to speak with an attorney from our firm. It is often beneficial to have a lawyer involved early in the process to consult with medical professional and help determine which components of a claim are provable and relatable to the accident. For more information about how we could help you, call today.