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Being involved in a car accident can be an extremely stressful experience for an expecting mother. You have no way of knowing if your child is fine until you visit the doctor. This is why even after relatively minor accidents it is often advisable to seek immediate medical attention. While fortunately the mother and unborn child are often fine, you can never be too safe making a trip to the emergency room.

Car accident cases involving pregnant women in Virginia Beach can become more complex than other motor vehicle collision claims. As such, it is important to reach out to an attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers to discuss your legal options if you are an expecting mother who suffered injuries in a car crash.

Damages Expecting Mothers Could Pursue

After most car crashes, the at-fault driver and his insurance company are responsible for all accident-related medical expenses. If a pregnant woman is in a car accident in Virginia Beach, she may need additional diagnostic testing and ultrasounds to be sure both she and her unborn child are safe. These expenses as well as any accident-related medical costs, whether directly related to the mother or unborn child, are claimable following a crash.

In very unfortunate cases, an accident can cause an expecting mother to go into early labor.  It is not unusual for an expecting mother to begin experiencing contractions after experiencing the trauma of a car accident. This is a serious medical condition that should be evaluated by a physician. This is especially dangerous if the baby is not full term, which can lead to premature deliveries and many associated medical complications. Damages for these losses may be sought as well.

In addition to the medical expenses incurred after a car accident, a woman may be entitled to payment for the pain, stress, and fright resulting from the crash.  Insurance companies grossly undervalue and underpay for these emotional harms that an expecting mother may experience after an accident.

Car Accidents Caused 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.

When Should a Pregnant Woman File a Car Accident Claim?

If a woman in Virginia Beach is involved in a motor vehicle accident while pregnant it is often advisable to wait until after the child is born to settle a case.  If not, she must be certain that her unborn child has not suffered any complications or harms resulting from the accident.  Once a pregnant woman enters a finalized settlement, she releases the at-fault driver and his insurance company from future claims.

If the cases settles but then the mother and child experience complications during delivery, or experiences a premature delivery because of complications caused by the accident, there may be no legal recourse for them at this point. In Virginia, the statute of limitation for a personal injury claim for an adult is typically two years from the date of an accident, and often much longer for a minor. This presents plenty of time to wait until after delivery to engage in settlement discussion to be sure that all harms and losses are considered.

Importance of Hiring a Virginia Beach Attorney for Car Accidents Cases Involving Pregnant Women

Because car accident cases involving pregnant women in Virginia Beach have specific nuances, it is important to retain legal counsel that has experience dealing with these claims, especially early delivery cases. Insurance companies and their adjusters are accustomed to handling claims involving more common car accident injuries. As a result, insurance companies can be more difficult to deal with and are often more unreceptive to pregnancy injury claims, especially if the complications do not happen immediately.

In these cases, expert testimony and interviews with doctors are critical. During testimony, a doctor may state that the trauma from an accident ultimately resulted in premature birth or other injuries to the fetus. One of our attorneys could find medical experts willing to testify.

Additionally, when a pregnant woman gets into an accident, her first concern should be the safety and wellbeing of her unborn child.  It is not evidence preservation and accident investigation. While it is helpful to obtain photographs and witness information at the scene, their number one priority is their safety and the safety of their child.  An experienced lawyer could perform a prompt investigation after an accident so that she can focus on her child’s safety. Our team could quickly contact the investigating law enforcement officers, interview witnesses and attempt to obtain any video from nearby cameras or businesses.  To get started on your case, call today.

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