Is The Settlement Higher If A Pregnant Woman Was In A Car Crash?
Car accidents can cause serious injuries. When car accidents involve pregnant women, there is also a risk that injuries and emotional trauma could impact the pregnancy or the health of the fetus. Annually, car accidents cause about 3,000 pregnancy losses. Injuries to a pregnant woman or her unborn child can affect the value of a car accident settlement.
Pregnancy Risks After a Car Accident
There are multiple risks that pregnant women and their unborn children face when they are in car accidents.
Any type of trauma can result in a miscarriage. If someone else negligently causes an auto accident that results in the loss of a pregnancy, the personal representative of the estate of the fetus or embryo who died can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Preterm Labor or Premature Birth
Trauma can also cause a woman to experience early labor or premature birth. Babies that are born before the 37th week of pregnancy may need significant care, including hospitalization in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Birth Defects or Injuries
Trauma from a car accident can cause a coup-contrecoup brain injury, which is the same type of injury that occurs with shaken baby syndrome. Trauma from car accidents may also lead to birth defects.
Abdominal injuries can cause the placenta to detach from the uterus. This can put the development, growth and viability of the fetus at risk.
Premature Rupture of Membranes
Injuries from a car accident can cause the amniotic sac to rupture. This can cause placental abruption, respiratory distress syndrome and other pregnancy complications.
A car accident can cause a pregnancy to become high-risk. High-risk pregnancies may result in health problems, such as high blood pressure, slower fetal development, preterm labor, pre-eclampsia and issues with the placenta.
When To Seek Medical Care After a Car Accident When You Are Pregnant
It may be wise to see a doctor as a precaution even if you do not have symptoms. Seek immediate medical care if you experience any of the following:
- Changes in fetal activity or movement
- Swelling in your face or fingers
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding
- Fluid leakage
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Abdominal or shoulder pain
You should also seek medical care if you experience constant or severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, pain when urinating, frequent urination, fainting or dizziness.
Michigan’s no-fault insurance law requires people who have injuries from car accidents to seek coverage through their own insurance. No-fault insurance covers anyone who has injuries from a car accident in Michigan unless they were driving an uninsured car that they own. Michigan no-fault benefits pay for medical expenses, household replacement services, lost wages, and travel expenses for medical care and attendant care.
To receive no-fault benefits, you must file a claim with your auto insurance company. If you do not own a car, you can file a claim with the auto insurance company of a relative that you live with.
If you do not live with anyone who has car insurance and you were driving or riding in someone else’s car when the accident happened, you can file a claim with the vehicle owner’s insurance. Once your baby is born, you may also file a claim for no-fault benefits for any injuries your child suffered due to the car accident.
Work Loss Benefits
If you are unable to work because of injuries from a car accident, your no-fault benefits pay for 85% of your gross lost wages for up to three years after the accident. You must submit a doctor’s disability slip and proof of your wages.
If you need to hire someone to do tasks you are unable to perform because of your injuries, such as cleaning your house, your no-fault benefits will compensate you for up to $20.00 per day for up to three years after the accident.
No-fault benefits cover medical expenses, such as doctor bills, medication, hospital bills, medical equipment and rehabilitation services for up to your lifetime. The limit of coverage depends on which limit you or the policy owner selected.
If you are unable to take care of your daily needs, such as getting dressed or going to the toilet, because of a significant injury from a car accident, your attendant care benefits will pay for someone to perform these tasks for you. Coverage lasts up to a lifetime and the amount depends on your policy and the skill level of the care you need.
If you need to modify your home to make it more accessible due to your injuries, your no-fault benefits will pay for it. However, you will need a prescription from your physician.
Vehicles and Vehicle Modification
If you need a special van or vehicle because of your injuries from an auto accident, your no-fault benefits will pay for it. You can also receive compensation for travel expenses related to medical treatment.
Survivors’ Loss Benefits
If a loved one died because of a car accident, any dependents of the accident victim can receive survivor loss benefits. The deceased person’s post-tax income and other economic contributions determine the value of the benefits, along with a maximum payment that adjusts every year to reflect the cost of living. Survivors’ benefits last for up to three years after the accident.
Michigan Tort Threshold
If you have injuries or have lost a pregnancy or a loved one due to a car accident that someone else is at least 50% at fault for, you can sue the at-fault party for compensation if you meet the Michigan tort threshold. Michigan law allows you to sue the at-fault party if your loved one died, you lost a pregnancy or you have injuries that seriously impair a body function or caused permanent disfigurement.
You can sue for any economic damages, such as medical expenses, you have due to the accident that exceed the limits of your no-fault insurance. You can also sue for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, that resulted from the accident. Additionally, you can sue for up to $3,000 in property damage.
Proving Your Case
To receive compensation from an at-fault party, you must prove three things:
- The other party was at least 50% at fault.
- The other party’s negligence caused your or your unborn child’s injuries or death.
- The value of your damages.
To prove the other party’s negligence, you must submit evidence, such as the police report and witness testimony. To prove the accident caused your injuries or loss of pregnancy, you will need medical records. You may also need expert testimony. You can prove the value of your economic damages by submitting medical bills and receipts. Non-economic damages are more subjective and are often up to the discretion of the judge if you can not settle with the other party or the insurance company.
Accident cases that involve injuries to pregnant women can be particularly complex and insurance companies may try to avoid compensating you for your loss. The experienced car accident attorneys at the Mike Morse Law Firm can help you prove your case and ensure that you receive the full compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.