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What Should You Do if You’re in a Car Accident While Pregnant in Colorado?

Bringing a new life into the world is an incredible journey, but it can also make one more vulnerable to certain risks. Car accidents, unfortunately, can severely injure anyone involved. However, the impact of a car accident can worry pregnant women even more.

Expectant mothers and their babies have unique challenges in car accidents, with potential risks to both mother and baby. After a car accident in Colorado, pregnant mothers must take specific steps to protect their health, the health of their unborn child, and their legal rights. Reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer in Colorado at Varner Faddis, Elite Legal for legal guidance.

Understanding the Risks of Car Accidents During Pregnancy

Car accidents during pregnancy can pose severe risks to the mother and the developing fetus. The impact of a collision can cause sudden jolts, jerks, or abdominal trauma, potentially leading to complications such as placental abruption, premature labor, or miscarriage. Seat belt injuries and airbag deployment may also harm an unborn child.

What Should You Do if You're in a Car Accident While Pregnant in Colorado

Impact on the Abdomen

The abdomen is particularly vulnerable during a car accident. Sudden force or trauma can cause uterus, placenta, or amniotic sac injuries, potentially resulting in placental abruption or miscarriage. Even seemingly minor accidents can have serious consequences, so seek immediate medical evaluation regardless of the collision’s severity or a lack of symptoms.

Seat Belt Injuries

While seat belts are vital for safety and designed to protect automobile passengers, they can also cause injuries in a car accident, especially to pregnant women. The seat belt can cause bruises, fractures, or soft tissue injuries.

Airbag Deployment

Airbags are designed to protect occupants in a crash. Still, they can pose a risk to pregnant women due to their forceful deployment. Airbags may cause placental abruptions or severe injuries to the developing fetus or mother.

Pregnant women should maintain a safe distance from the steering wheel and dashboard, sitting at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel and adjusting the seat position accordingly. Consult the vehicle manufacturer’s guidelines regarding airbags and pregnancy.

Whiplash and Musculoskeletal Injuries

Whiplash, a common car accident injury for even those who aren’t pregnant, occurs when the head jerks forward and backward suddenly. Pregnant women are at an increased risk due to the additional weight and strain on the neck and back. Whiplash can lead to neck pain, headaches, and musculoskeletal injuries. Seek medical attention promptly for proper diagnosis and treatment.

The risk of severe complications increases the longer you are pregnant; a motor vehicle accident in the second trimester is more dangerous than in the first, and a car accident in the third trimester is still more dangerous. In addition, high speed is also an important factor. However, even a low-impact car accident while pregnant has the potential to cause significant complications.

Car Accidents While Pregnant: Symptoms and Injuries

Approximately 200,000 pregnant women are involved in a police-reported car accident annually in the United States. Between 1,500 and 5,000 fetal losses occur annually in the U.S. due to motor vehicle crashes. This doesn’t even include the other adverse outcomes because many children may incur permanent disabilities due to fetal trauma in a car accident.

If you are pregnant and involved in a car accident, don’t waste any time seeking medical treatment. Go by ambulance to the nearest emergency room or have someone drive you. Both you and your baby need a thorough medical exam.

Depending on how advanced your pregnancy is, this may involve an ultrasound examination, lab work, or other diagnostics based on your specific symptoms or the mechanisms of the car accident.

Even if you feel fine, your baby seems fine, and you have no symptoms, seek medical care immediately. You can still have a serious problem without symptoms, such as a partial placenta abruption or bleeding within the uterus. The sooner you receive medical care, the better the potential outcome and the more doctors can do to treat you and your baby.

Listen to your healthcare provider’s recommendations and follow their advice regarding necessary tests, further evaluations, or treatments. They will assess your situation and provide appropriate guidance based on your needs.

Don’t wait for symptoms to seek medical evaluation.

However, concerning symptoms after a car accident for a pregnant mother include:

  • Abdominal or pelvic pain or cramping
  • Vaginal bleeding or leaking of fluid
  • Uterine contractions
  • Lack of or decreased movement of the baby
  • Loss of consciousness during or after the crash
  • Intense headaches
  • Fever or chills
  • Swelling of the face
  • Vomiting that does not seem related to morning sickness

Car accidents during pregnancy can cause:

  • Early labor
  • Premature delivery
  • Placental abruption (the placental coming partially or fully off the internal uterine wall)
  • Loss of amniotic fluid
  • Uterine rupture
  • Skull injuries to the baby
  • Severe and life-threatening bleeding for the mom or baby
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Certain birth defects, such as cerebral palsy

Treatment depends on the severity of the injuries and the baby’s medical status. Some mothers and babies might be fine. Some might need to be on bed rest for the remainder of their pregnancy, and others might need to deliver their baby immediately.

In some car accidents, fetal or maternal death can occur. There’s also a risk of long-term health issues from premature delivery for the baby. In some severe cases, the mother may even lose the ability to carry children in the future.

After the Accident

Prioritize experienced medical care after a car accident. Nothing is more important to your pregnancy at that time. However, once you are medically stable:

Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company

You must report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible after your accident. If you fail to do so, they can deny your claim or even cancel your insurance policy. With today’s technology, you may not have to call to make a report. You can report it online or through an app, depending on your insurance company.

Check Your Auto Insurance Policy Coverage

Even if you weren’t at fault for the auto accident, you might need to rely on some of your auto insurance coverage to pay for your damages. Now is an excellent time to review your policy to see what coverages you have available and their limits. You may also want to change your policy coverages and limits going forward based on this experience.

Hire an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

After seeking medical care for an injury accident, meet with an experienced Colorado car accident attorney. You won’t know your legal rights or the value of your case unless you do.

If you procrastinate in meeting with an attorney:

  • Valuable evidence can be lost or destroyed in your claim – An attorney can gather and preserve evidence supporting your car accident claim. This might include pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and your medical bills. You need to hire your lawyer to collect evidence, before anyone loses, damages, or destroys it.
  • You can miss the lawsuit filing deadline – Each state has its own statute of limitations. A statute of limitations limits the amount of time injured individuals have to file a legal claim. In many states, this deadline is as little as one to two years; in others, it is up to six years. However, consult an attorney to find out the statute of limitations that applies to your specific circumstances. The statute of limitations often differs for claims involving minors or those against government entities. Generally, Colorado provides a three-year statute of limitations for car accident victims. If you don’t file your lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations, you no longer have the right to pursue compensation through the civil legal system. Meeting with a lawyer as soon as possible helps ensure that you can file your claim on time.
  • Avoid detrimental mistakes – The sooner you have an attorney on your side, the less likely you are to make seemingly innocent mistakes that can damage your case—for example, not following up with your medical providers when you must, saying something to the insurance adjuster that they can use against you, or posting on social medial about your accident or injuries.

What is the Eggshell Skull Doctrine?

Suppose a pregnant woman suffers an injury in a car accident. In that case, the at-fault party’s insurance company might use her pregnancy as part of their defense. They might argue that she wouldn’t have suffered her injuries if she weren’t pregnant to decrease their insured’s liability or fault.

The eggshell skull doctrine, also called the thin skull rule, doesn’t allow the defense to blam a victim for their weakness, frailty, sensitivity, or feebleness. At-fault parties must take their victims as they are.

The negligent party who causes a car accident injuring a mother or her unborn child is responsible for her new injuries. They are equally responsible for worsening her pre-existing health conditions before the car accident.

The doctrine applies to any pre-existing condition, not just pregnancy. Suppose an insurance company discovers a victim had a previous shoulder injury. The eggshell skull doctrine can prevent them from escaping their responsibility for any new or worsening shoulder injuries from a car accident.

Car Accidents While Pregnant Can Have High Costs

While there is no single average settlement for a car accident while pregnant, pregnancy can increase the cost of a car crash and, therefore, the total value of your claim.

Some of these potential costs include:

  • Pregnant women are more likely to require hospitalization, even as a precaution to monitor the fetus for complications.
  • You may need medical equipment to monitor the fetal heart rate and other potential warning signs.
  • More than one emergency room visit may be necessary. Your OB physician will likely advise you to go to the ER if you experience any symptoms that can indicate a severe complication.
  • You may lose income if pregnancy and crash-related injuries prevent you from working, or your doctor recommends bed rest after the car accident to help prevent complications.
  • You may require additional in-home services if the combination of pregnancy and other crash-related injuries makes you unable to care for children or perform other tasks at home.
  • If the car accident causes certain complications, the baby may need to be born by cesarean section (C-section) instead of vaginally – which incurs both the cost of the surgery itself and a longer recovery time.
  • The emotional impact of a car accident during pregnancy can exceed that of other car accidents due to the added anxiety or fear of harm to the baby.

In addition, if the car accident causes permanent injuries to your baby (such as brain damage), your claim should account for the cost of a lifetime of care for those injuries.

Were You Injured in a Car Accident While Pregnant? Contact a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney Today

Colorado law provides legal recourse for people hurt by the negligence of others, and that protection is crucial during pregnancy.

If you suffered an injury in a Colorado motor vehicle accident while pregnant, you need an attorney with the experience and resources to build strong cases for expectant mothers and unborn children hurt in car accidents.

You need attorneys who aren’t afraid to investigate, negotiate, and, if necessary, litigate for maximum compensation while you focus on healing and rebuilding your life.

If you or someone you love suffered an injury in a car accident during pregnancy, talk to a skilled personal injury attorney who knows how to navigate complex cases as soon as possible.

Lauren Varner, Personal Injury Attorney

Lauren is a Personal Injury Attorney. She is Colorado native who became involved with the field of personal injury long before she became an attorney. Lauren’s professional philosophy centers around good old fashioned hard work, producing quality work product, and treating others professionally, with dignity and respect at all times.

Awards and as featured on

National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 Included in TOP 40 Under 40 by The National TRIAL Lawyers in Centennial CO Varner Faddis Top Lawyers Denver Badge – 5280 Magazine American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorney Top 40 Under 40 5280 Denver Top Lawyers