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5 Steps for Pregnant Passengers to Take After a Car Crash

Legal Options for Pregnant Passengers in Car Accidents

Car accidents can be terrifying experiences for everyone involved, but for pregnant individuals, the stakes can feel significantly higher. What steps can pregnant passengers take after a car crash to protect their unborn child, ensure they receive the appropriate standard of care, and obtain the maximum compensation they deserve?

In this blog, we’ll review the legal options available to expectant mothers involved in car accidents, including when to seek medical attention, and what steps they can take to file a personal injury claim in California. Keep reading to learn more.

Can Pregnant Passengers Sue After a Car Accident in CA?

Yes. Put simply, mothers-to-be in California have the right to sue after suffering injuries or pregnancy complications as a result of a car accident. However, to successfully file a personal injury claim and seek maximum compensation, proving negligence on the part of the offending driver (“defendant”) is necessary to establish liability.

Establishing Liability in a Car Crash

To prove that the other driver was negligent, meaning they demonstrated an act of carelessness that caused the accident, four elements must be established by the injured party (“plaintiff”) in court. These key elements include:

  1. Duty of Care – This involves proving that the offender was obligated to provide a certain standard of care to the injured party. For example, a fellow California driver is obligated to obey traffic laws to avoid causing harm on the roads. Similarly, a licensed physician is legally and ethically obligated to provide a reasonable standard of care to their patients.
  2. Breach of Duty – The plaintiff must then prove that the defendant breached the aforementioned duty of care. In other words, the injured party must prove the offender failed to act like a reasonable person by failing to uphold the duty of care.
  3. Causation – Next, the plaintiff must prove that the aforementioned breach of duty was directly responsible for their injuries or was otherwise responsible for the harm that ensued.
  4. Compensatory Damages – To successfully bring a personal injury lawsuit against a defendant, the plaintiff must establish compensatory damages. Put simply, this requires the victim to prove that the injuries they sustained are “recoverable damages” (e.g. relief can be obtained through financial compensation for losses suffered.

Recoverable Damages After Car Accidents

There are two types of damages that can be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit, including:

  1. Economic Damages – This includes compensation for financial losses, or items that are quantifiable in monetary amounts. Examples include hospital bills, medical treatment costs, and loss of wages.
  2. Non-Economic Damages – These damages entail subjective losses that aren’t necessarily financial in nature, but can still be compensated in court, such as emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and scarring and disfigurement.

Can Car Accidents Cause Pregnancy Complications?

The unfortunate reality is that pregnancy can be a fragile and unpredictable time for most women. Although embryos can be as tiny as a poppy seed, unborn children are still impacted by environmental changes. The slightest shift in mothers’ bodies can lead to health complications for both mother and baby, from hormonal changes to anemia to hypertension.

Risks to Pregnant Passengers in Car Accidents

Given the sensitive nature of growing new life, it’s crucial for moms-to-be to exercise caution and take action immediately if involved in a car crash—even if they don’t perceive any apparent injuries. Common pregnancy complications sustained in car accidents include:

  • Placental abruption – This injury occurs when the placenta detaches from the uterus wall, which can stop the unborn baby from getting oxygen or nutrients, potentially causing permanent brain damage.
  • Uterine rupture or laceration – A severe impact can cause the uterus to rupture or tear, leading to serious complications.
  • Direct fetal injury – The fetus can be directly injured in an accident, especially if there is a forceful impact on the mother's abdomen.
  • Miscarriage – A traumatic event such as a car accident can potentially lead to miscarriage.
  • Premature birth – The stress and physical trauma caused by a car accident can induce labor and lead to premature birth.
  • Birth defects – Some studies suggest that significant trauma during pregnancy can increase the risk of certain birth defects.
  • Coup and contrecoup injury – These are injuries to the brain that occur on both the side of the impact and the opposite side.
  • Hypovolemic shock – This condition occurs when a large amount of blood volume is lost, which can happen if the pregnant woman is severely injured.

5 Steps for Pregnant Passengers to Take After a Car Crash

If you were in a car crash while pregnant, it’s imperative to take action immediately, even if there are no apparent signs of injury or illness, as even low-impact accidents can lead to serious health complications.

After a car accident, pregnant passengers can pursue compensation and protect their unborn baby by taking these steps:

  1. Seek immediate medical attention – Regardless of the severity of the accident or whether you experience visible injuries, it is crucial to seek medical attention promptly. Pregnant women should go to the hospital for a thorough evaluation, even if they feel fine, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
  2. If physically able, document the accident scene – Take photographs of the vehicles involved, their positions, license plates, the road conditions, and any visible injuries you or other parties have sustained. This documentation can be valuable for insurance claims or potential legal action.
  3. Exchange contact information – If possible, it’s important to exchange contact and insurance information with all involved parties in the accident, including other drivers, passengers, and any witnesses at the scene.
  4. Notify your healthcare provider – Inform your healthcare provider about the car accident, even if you received medical attention immediately after the incident. They may want to conduct additional checks to ensure the well-being of both you and your unborn child.
  5. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney – It’s imperative to secure strong representation from a qualified personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. Ideally, your legal representative should have a reputable reputation and experience assisting other clients in your shoes. Their in-depth legal knowledge and guidance can be invaluable assets to guide your steps accordingly throughout your case.

Over Half a Billion Dollars Recovered for the Wrongfully Injured

At Alvandi Law Group, P.C., our seasoned advocates have extensive experience representing the wrongfully injured in Orange County. From workers’ comp claims to premises liability claims, our accomplished attorneys have the comprehensive knowledge and skillset required to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf after sustaining injuries thanks to someone else’s negligence. Don’t wait to take legal action after being wrongfully injured. When you partner with our dedicated firm, you can rest assured that we’ll fight tooth and nail to secure the justice you rightfully deserve.

Wrongfully injured in California? Turn to an accomplished firm with over 75 years of combined experience. Call (800) 980-6905 to request a consultation.



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