Car accidents are frightening ordeals to begin with. Add an expecting mother to the equation and the intensity of that fear is amplified. On February 16, 2017, Colorado resident Amy Stevenson Wilson was 34-weeks pregnant when she was involved in a deadly car accident in Salt Lake City, Utah. The other vehicle involved in the head-on collision carried local high school seniors, who were tragically killed in the crash when their car crossed over the median and hit Stevenson's vehicle nearly head-on.
The expectant mother was taken to the University of Utah Hospital where she and her unborn child were heavily monitored due to their critical condition. Stevenson's child was delivered via emergency C-section while she endured multiple surgeries herself.
When a pregnent woman is injured, medical treatment doubles
While immediate action should always be taken in the case of a car accident, timely care for pregnant women is imperative for the expectant mother's and fetus's safety. There is a multitude of complications and fetal injury that can arise if treatment is even slightly delayed because of the sensitive nature of pregnancy and an increased vulnerability to injury. As in the case with Amy Stevenson Wilson, she suffered the loss of a kidney, her spleen, multiple bone fractures in her ribs and pelvis, including an open knee fracture, and underwent traumatic brain injury. Even her baby girl was born without a heartbeat and received CPR for 11-minutes before she was fully resuscitated.
Avoiding Accidents and Minimizing Potential Injuries
Even though Stevenson was not at fault for this particular accident, the likelihood of getting into a car accident significantly increases with pregnancy. According to a study conducted in 2014, during the second trimester of pregnancy, women are 42 percent more likely to get into a car accident. If you are pregnant, there are steps you can take to avoid potential injury. For the sake of comfort, pregnant women often misuse sealtbelts. While wearing one, the shoulder belt should go across the chest and over the shoulder, while the lap belt should stretch over the pelvis, not the abdomen.
Thankfully, the amniotic fluid and the structure of the womb offer a substantial amount of protection from external trauma to unborn children, but injuries can occur. Each injury to pregnant mother is different, but the more serious aftermath includes pre-term labor, internal bleeding, and miscarriage. These traumas can also cause elevated stress levels that can develop problems with the placenta and preeclampsia in a pregnant mother.
Financial Damages for Injuries
In Colorado, you can receive compensation for these injuries, or different ones, medical expenses, and lost wages by filing a personal injury claim in a timely manner or within three-years of the accident. If you or your child sustained a great deal of injury from a car accident that was not your fault, make sure that you know the full scale of damage before you accept a settlement from the insurance company. During the remainder of your pregnancy, if you monitor your child's condition, you can claim any new related medical problems before it's too late.
If you are pregnant and suffered personal injury in a car accident in Colorado, it is essential to seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you with your unique case and ensure that you know all of your rights and are compensated accordingly.