Atlanta's car accident attorney, Nathan Fitzpatrick, is a leading Atlanta personal injury lawyer. Specializing in motor vehicle accidents and car crashes, he's a trusted auto accident lawyer among Atlanta car accident lawyers.

Knowing When To Seek Medical Assistance After a Car Accident While Pregnant

Car accident while pregnant

Getting into a car accident is always scary, but the stakes become much higher if in a car accident while pregnant. Even a low-impact car crash has the potential to disrupt the fetus or even kill it. If this has happened to you, it’s important to take legal action against the responsible driver.

Nathan Fitzpatrick has been fighting for people just like you since 2009. As a highly experienced car accident attorney serving the Atlanta area, he has won millions for those who have been harmed while operating a motor vehicle. Here, he’s going to let you know all about car accidents, pregnant women, and their injured or killed fetuses. He strongly encourages you to take legal action when you need help after a car accident.    

Concerns for a Pregnant Woman after a Car Crash

Being in a car accident while pregnant is always a cause for concern. It doesn’t matter whether it was a minor fender bender or your car was destroyed. Either way, pregnant women should always seek out immediate medical care. This is the only way to know for sure if your unborn child is okay, after all.

Seeking Accountability for Injuries

It is always a good idea to seek accountability for the injuries that you and/or your fetus have suffered after a car accident. If, for example, the other driver was at fault, you have the legal right to sue them. This probably won’t be anywhere near the top of your mind during the immediate aftermath, but it’s important to ensure that whoever was responsible has to take accountability.

first trimester pregnant car accident injuries

Risks During First and Second Trimesters of Pregnancy

During the first trimester, the risk to an unborn child is relatively minor. However, any type of sudden jolt to pregnant women can still cause serious danger. The most common injury is a placental abruption, which can cause life-threatening injuries to an unborn baby. The risk of this particular injury becomes even worse during the second trimester and it’s followed by:

  • Pre-term delivery
  • Miscarriage
  • Hemorrhage

Safety in Early Stages of Pregnancy

Being in your first trimester offers safety to you and your unborn child during car accidents. There are, of course, some car accident types that can harm both of you, but the danger – as mentioned above – isn’t usually severe. In fact, the first trimester is the absolute safest time to be involved in an automobile accident. This doesn’t mean that nothing will happen to your fetus, however, so you should always be extremely careful when you decide to travel.  

Increased Injury Risks in the Second Trimester

As soon as pregnant women reach their second trimester, the risk to their unborn child skyrockets by 42%. That’s due to the fact that the risk of being involved in a serious enough accident to need emergency medical assistance has gone up by 42%. Although studies have definitively proven this, it’s still unclear why pregnant women in their second trimester have such a heightened risk of getting into a car accident.  

Importance of Prompt Medical Attention

Anyone who is pregnant and gets into a car accident should immediately seek out medical attention. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been injured in any way, it’s vital to ensure that your unborn child has also come out of the incident unharmed. Every moment you wait could cause them to become increasingly at risk of not surviving.

Possible Pregnancy Complications After a Collision

Sadly, being in a car accident happens to approximately 200,000 women every single year, and between 1,500 and 5,000 fetuses are lost as a result of these car crashes. Each of the following conditions can also become a factor.


The worst part about miscarrying after a car accident is that it can be explained away as a ‘normal’ miscarriage if you were in your first trimester. But you know what happened. You got into an accident, and suddenly, you no longer have a viable pregnancy.  

Early Labor

The trauma of being in a car crash may cause premature birth. This can be extremely bad for both the mother and her unborn baby, particularly if you go into labor before you’ve hit the 24-week mark. Even if this happens to you around the 24-week mark, though, your baby may not live.

Severe Bleeding

Severe bleeding puts your unborn child at a very high risk. In fact, the risk of losing your unborn child is 80% if you bleed severely because of a car accident.

Birth Defects

The head of your fetus is the area that’s most likely to be injured, which can lead to cognitive problems and other birth defects. You’ll also become 51% more likely to suffer from a placental abruption.

Maternal Shock

Maternal shock – also known as hypovolemic shock – will cause your body to shut down all but your most essential organs. Just as with severe bleeding, maternal shock leaves you with only a 20% chance of keeping your unborn child alive.

Contrecoup Injuries

The mother is more likely to suffer from a contrecoup injury, although it can also happen to her unborn child. In a contrecoup injury, someone’s head moved until it struck a stationary object. When this happens to a fetus or young baby, it’s called ‘shaken baby syndrome.’

Placental Disruption

This is one of the most serious pregnancy injuries a pregnant woman can face. When the placenta becomes fully or partially separated from your uterus, there is an extremely high risk of death to the fetus. Sadly, placental disruption is somewhat common in automobile accidents, especially if you’re in your second or third trimester.

Uterine Rupture

Finally, we’ve come to uterine rupture. This isn’t a common pregnancy injury, which is a very good thing. If, however, you suffer from uterine rupture, your unborn baby instantly begins to lose oxygen. Without immediate intervention, fetal death will result.

Car Accident Symptoms to Watch Out for While Pregnant

If you’ve been involved in an accident, be sure to keep a close eye on yourself. Symptoms to look for relating to a pregnancy injury include:

  • Leaking fluid
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Cramping
  • Contractions
  • Abdominal pain
  • The decline in fetal movement

Steps to Take After Car Accidents

Even if you think you or your unborn child haven't sustained any car accident injuries, always protect yourselves by doing everything listed below.

Follow the Doctor's Orders

If your doctor tells you not to drive, then don’t drive. Basically, you want to follow ALL of your doctor’s orders. Not only is this for the health of your unborn child and yourself, but it could also become integral if you end up in court.

Preserve Medical Records and Bills

Keep a record of everything that the responsible driver may have to pay for.

Document Accident Scene

Document the scene by taking photos and writing notes. Again, this could come up during your court case.

Maintain Pain Journal

This will be vital if you try to collect money for your pain and suffering.

Seek Legal Assistance

Always turn to an experienced car accident injury attorney. They have the necessary knowledge to help you get the best possible result.

Compensation for Injuries to Unborn Babies in Car Accidents

Georgia law allows you to seek compensation if your unborn baby was injured in a car accident.

Claiming Damages for Prenatal Injuries

If it can be proven that your unborn baby suffered from prenatal injuries as a result of the accident, you can hold the other driver legally responsible in Georgia.

Compensation for Pain and Suffering

Georgia allows you to seek remuneration for pain and suffering. However, this can be difficult to prove, especially if you don’t have an attorney.

Compensation for Miscarriage Caused by Car Accident

The law in Georgia is quite clear – a fetus has the same rights as a person. Therefore, if an expectant mother miscarries because of a car accident, they have just cause to sue on their child's behalf.

Wrongful Death Claim and the "Quickening" Point

Georgia allows you to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your unborn baby. All that’s required is for the so-called quickening point to have passed. This happens somewhere between the 10th week and the fourth month of pregnancy and is determined by fetal movements the mother can feel.

Compensation for Injuries Suffered by Pregnant Mothers in a Car Crash

Just as a non-pregnant person can sue for their personal injuries, so can a pregnant mother on behalf of her unborn baby. Depending on the particular circumstances, you may be able to get more money than usual, too.

Medical Expenses

Keep a record of all medical expenses, as you can ask for them to be covered by the responsible party.

Lost Wages

You can collect your lost wages and may be able to collect future predicted wages, depending on whether you can still work or not.

Physical and Emotional Pain

Again, you can file a lawsuit that asks for compensation for your physical and emotional pain. Be prepared to prove that you’ve suffered from both, though.

Future Medical Care

Let’s say that the car accident left you unable to work and with future medical care expenses expected. Although it will only be an estimate, you can definitely include all expected future medical costs in the amount that you’re seeking.

If You've Been Involved In A Car Accident While Pregnant, Contact The Fitzpatrick Firm For A Complementary Case Review

Experiencing a car wreck can be incredibly stressful and potentially harmful to an expectant mother such as yourself. An experienced car accident attorney is essential in these situations to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Attorney Nathan Fitzpatrick of The Fitzpatrick Firm is an experienced personal injury attorney who is well-positioned to help you navigate this challenging time. Don't hesitate to reach out to The Fitzpatrick Firm today by calling  (678) 607-5550 or filling out the form below for a complimentary case review!

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