Miscarriage is a heartbreaking experience, but what happens if a miscarriage is caused by a car accident? Can you claim compensation and receive damages? In this blog post, we explore the answers to these questions.
How Do Car Accidents Cause Miscarriages?
Car accidents can cause miscarriages in several ways. The most common is blunt force trauma to the stomach, which can happen when the airbag deploys or when a pregnant woman is thrown from her seat. This force can cause the placenta to tear away from the uterine wall, leading to miscarriage.
Not all car accidents cause immediate miscarriages, but two specific injuries can happen during car accidents and may be life-threatening:
Placental abruption: This is the most common cause of miscarriages in car accidents and happens when the placenta is injured. This placental injury disrupts the supply of oxygen and nutrients to a baby, which can be life-threatening.
Uterine rupture: Uterine injuries such as uterine rupture are rare, but when they do occur, there is little chance a fetus will survive. This fetal injury happens due to blunt-force trauma to the uterus itself.
Another common pregnancy-related injury in car accidents is direct fetal injury. It can result from placental abruption or uterine rupture. Still, it can also occur if a pregnant woman has a maternal pelvic fracture, which impacts the stability of the uterus — and, therefore, the protection of an unborn child.
A car accident can also cause several other birth-related injuries, including:
Car accidents are incredibly stressful, and such a major shock can start contractions and put a pregnant woman into labor, even if it’s far too early for the birth to be successful.
If you’re in your second or third trimester and in a car accident, you may need an emergency Caesarian section (C-section). Even if the fetus is not directly injured during the crash, the shock of the event or other injuries that require emergency treatment may mean a C-section needs to be performed.
What Are the Signs of Miscarriage after a Car Accident?
There are many types of car accidents, ranging from a fender bender to a devastating multi-vehicle crash. Whatever the type, it can result in a miscarriage.
The most common symptom of miscarriage is vaginal bleeding, pain, pelvic cramps, and abdominal pain, but other signs can include:
- Facial swelling
- Swelling in the fingers
- Increased fluid
- Severe or persistent headaches
- High blood pressure
- Pain in the shoulder and lower back
- A change in your baby’s movements — including how often your baby kicks or how strong the movement is
- Feeling faint or dizzy.
These symptoms may not start immediately, it can take hours or even days before you start experiencing them, but you will typically notice bleeding first. This is why any pregnant woman involved in a car accident must seek medical treatment.
Can You Claim Compensation for a Miscarriage after a Car Accident?
Sadly, some states do not allow parents to file a wrongful death lawsuit unless their child is born before they do. Fortunately, Texas is not one of those states.
This means that if you have experienced a miscarriage due to a car accident, you may be able to claim compensation. This will depend on the circumstances of the accident and whether you can prove the miscarriage was caused by the accident.
In Texas — as per Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code — a wrongful death occurs when:
- an injury causes a person’s death or a fetus’s failure to be born alive
- the injury is caused by another person’s or entity’s wrongful act, neglect, or carelessness, and
- the injured person would have been entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit had they lived or been born alive.
It’s vital to know that claims for car accidents that cause a miscarriage can be difficult to pursue.
Sometimes, a miscarriage may not happen until days or weeks after the car accident, and the other party’s insurance company may argue that the car accident didn’t cause the death of your unborn child.
If you have a prior history of miscarriage or premature birth, lose your baby during the early stages of pregnancy, or have a high-risk pregnancy due to your age or a medical condition, the other party may claim that these factors were the primary contributing factor.
That said, this doesn’t mean this type of car accident injury claim is impossible to bring. A car accident lawyer can look at your case, gather evidence, and determine your chance of success.
What Damages Can You Recover after a Car Accident?
As part of a car accident claim, you can recover compensation for several damages. These are split into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those with a monetary value and often include medical expenses and lost wages.
After a car accident, you may need significant medical treatment for pregnancy injuries — such as testing fetal health, addressing any fetal trauma and other pregnancy complications, and counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder in the tragic event of a miscarriage. You will likely also need medical care for any other car accident injuries you may sustain, such as a brain injury or broken bones.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys in Texas can recover your medical expenses and lost wages due to being unable to work after your accident.
The second type of damages available to pregnant women involved in a car accident is non-economic.
Non-economic damages you may be able to claim after your car accident include:
- Mental anguish or emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium — a type of damages restricted to spousal and parent-child relationships. In this case, a mother can claim compensation for the lost affection and companionship resulting from the death of their child.
This type of damage is harder to calculate because it doesn’t have a specific financial value — who can put a price on the tragic loss of an unborn baby?
While no amount of money can alleviate the devastating loss of an unborn child, compensation can help with your financial burden.
If you’re entitled to claim, a personal injury lawyer can handle the process for you, allowing you to focus on healing your emotional and physical injuries.
What Are Your Other Options for Covering Expenses?
Texas is a fault state, meaning all road drivers must have car insurance to cover accidents. However, sometimes, a premium might not provide the full amount of compensation you’re entitled to, and in some cases, a driver may not have insurance.
Fortunately, you may have other options to cover the expenses for your pregnancy injuries.
If you’re in a car accident with an uninsured driver, your policy might include uninsured motorist coverage.
You may also have Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP). In many insurance policies, PIP is included by default unless you opted out of it in writing when you took out your insurance. This won’t provide damages for emotional distress, loss of consortium, or other non-economic damages, but it will cover your medical care and a percentage of your lost income. If you’re unsure if you have this type of insurance, it’s worth contacting your insurance company.
You should also consult a car accident lawyer, who can explore your best options for filing an auto accident claim.
What Should You Do If You Experience a Miscarriage after a Car Accident?
If you’re involved in a car accident and experience a miscarriage or any other pregnancy injury, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. You should also speak to a personal injury lawyer who specializes in wrongful death and car accident injury claims to explore your options for claiming compensation.
A car accident lawyer will handle your case compassionately and do their best to accommodate your needs. If you prefer to be more hands-off with your claim, your attorney will deal with the responsible party’s insurance company on your behalf and keep you updated when they reach a fair settlement.
No one should have to go through the heartbreak of miscarriage, but if it is caused by a car accident, you may be able to claim compensation. We understand how difficult a time this is for you and want to help you get the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, contact our car accident lawyers in San Antonio and McAllen by calling 855-LAW-NINJA.