Close this search box.

Car Accidents Involving Pregnant Women in Norfolk, VA

Automobile accidents are dangerous for anyone who is involved, but they pose a particularly serious risk to women who are pregnant. The jarring force that can come from a violent collision between vehicles can have a number of harmful effects on both mother and child, some of which may even be life-threatening.

Because of the unique hazards they face and the expensive nature of associated medical care, car accident cases involving pregnant women in Norfolk are often a lot more complicated than standard-issue car wreck claims. Seeking guidance from a knowledgeable Norfolk car accident attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers could be crucial to ensuring you and your unborn child can get the medical attention and financial recovery you need after such an unfortunate incident.

What Effects Could a Car Crash Have on a Mother and Unborn Baby?

One of the most common injuries that unborn children may experience as a result of car accidents is placental abruption. This occurs when the placenta separates partially or entirely from the uterine wall, preventing the baby from receiving the oxygen and nutrients it needs to develop. For mothers, this condition can lead to hemorrhaging, internal bleeding, and premature labor, and it may significantly increase the risk of a miscarriage.

Depending on the type of accident they are involved in, an unborn child may also or alternatively sustain a direct injury due to trauma sustained during a wreck. Other common injuries seen in Norfolk, VA car wreck cases involving pregnant women include uterine rupture and lacerations, both of which may be life-threatening to the mother and child if not immediately addressed by a qualified medical professional.

It is also very common following the trauma from a car accident for the mother to start experiencing contractions or other complications, which often require fetal monitoring, and additional test and observation.

Placental Abruption

The most common type of injury that pregnant women sustain when they are involved in car accidents in Norfolk is placental abruption. A direct or indirect impact during a car crash may cause the placenta to separate from the uterus either partially or completely, potentially depriving an unborn infant of the nutrients and oxygen needed to survive and develop inside the womb.

Expecting mothers who suffer placental abruption may experience heavy bleeding and hemorrhaging, as well as abdominal pain, back pain, abnormal contractions, tenderness, and/or rigidity inside the uterus. In particularly severe cases, placental abruption can lead to premature birth, developmental problems for the baby, miscarriage, stillbirth, and excessive bleeding may cause a mother to suffer kidney failure or, rarely, necessitate a hysterectomy.

Uterine Rupture or Laceration

Jarring impacts during a car accident in Norfolk may also cause a pregnant woman to suffer injuries to her uterus, especially if she has previously given birth via cesarean section or undergone uterine surgery. If the uterus ruptures or sustains a laceration during pregnancy, the fetus and parts of the uterus may enter the mother’s abdomen, which can produce life-threatening complications for both mother and child.

Uterine rupture may occur immediately during a car accident, or it may occur during childbirth as a direct result of past trauma. For this reason, it is crucial for any pregnant woman involved in a car accident to seek medical attention from a physician specializing in neonatal care as soon as possible after she leaves the accident scene, and especially if she sustains direct trauma to the abdomen.

Direct Fetal Injuries

Even if a pregnant woman does not suffer any direct physical injury during a Norfolk, VA car wreck, her unborn child may have sustained trauma inside the womb. A jarring impact or sudden stop during a crash may cause the fetus to move back and forth violently inside the womb, potentially causing brain damage similar to that associated with shaken baby syndrome. Wearing a lap-and-shoulder seatbelt can do a lot to reduce the risk of direct fetal injury during a car accident.

The Mother and Unborn Child May Both Have Separate Injury Cases

When a pregnant woman is injured in a motor vehicle accident, she can make a personal injury claim for her physical injuries and ailments resulting from the accident.  For example, if a serious car accident causes a mother to go into early labor resulting in an emergency delivery with c-section and a longer hospital stay, the cost of the c-section and additional hospital stay, along with the associated pain, scarring, and terror, is compensable under Virginia law.

The unborn child involved in a car accident may also have a separate personal injury claim.  For example, if the unborn fetus experiences physical injury within the womb an injury claim can be made for those injuries to the child.

A very common and tragic example would be a ruptured placenta following a car accident resulting in a premature birth.  The mother would have an injury claim result from her injuries and the early birth.  If the child is born prematurely and requires additional care, testing and even a lengthy stay neonatal intensive care (NICU) the associated bills and discomfort experienced by the baby.

Death of an Unborn Baby or Fetus as a Result of an Accident

There was a time under Virginia law that if a woman miscarried or a fetus died as a result of a car or truck accident, the mother was limited to pursing her own personal injury claim.

In 2012, Virginia amended its Death By Wrongful Act law to include the death of an unborn child.  Now, Virginia Code Section 8.01-50(B) states that that now in the tragic case of a fetal death, the natural mother of the unborn baby can bring a wrongful death claim for the loss of the child.

Pregnant Mothers Seeking Increased Compensation in a Car Wreck Claim

No matter what specific injury a pregnant mother or her unborn child suffers in a car accident, their ensuing medical expenses are likely to be much greater than those another accident victim might face. As any expecting mother knows all too well, prenatal medical care can be costly even under the best circumstances, and the specialized care that pregnant women may require after a serious accident can lead to additional financial burdens that parents may not be prepared to take on.

These extra costs—not to mention the importance of ensuring an unborn baby is as healthy as possible following an accident—are a big reason why retaining a skilled personal injury or wrongful death attorney in Norfolk can be so important for car accident cases involving pregnant women. A dedicated lawyer could demand payment not only for emergency medical expenses, wage losses, and other damages resulting from a car wreck, but also ensure expecting mothers are compensated for future losses as well. These expenses could potentially include the costs of premature childbirth and any expenses associated with a developmental disability on the part of the child.

Our Norfolk Attorneys Could Help Pregnant Women Pursue Car Accident Cases

No mother wants to imagine they might get caught up in an auto accident while they are pregnant. If someone else’s negligence caused you or your child to suffer physical injury in this way, understanding and taking advantage of your legal options may be critical to preserving both your future prospects and those of your unborn baby.

Seeking positive outcomes to car accident cases involving pregnant women in Norfolk, VA is generally much easier with help from a seasoned lawyer. Call today for a free consultation.

Find Out What Your
Case is Worth


Free eBook

books by Cooper Hurley team

Get a free copy of “The Best Book About Virginia Car Accidents & Injuries”

Learn what to do after an accident, how to deal with insurance agencies, and when to get help. Download your free copy of The Best Book About Virginia Car Accidents & Injuries.

team of attorneys


to request a free consultation