Throughout a pregnancy, a mother’s goal is to keep her baby safe. The foods she eats, the way she exercises, and the environments she puts herself in all have an impact on her growing child. Unfortunately, we cannot always control what happens in our daily lives, and pregnant women are injured in car accidents throughout the United States every day. What are your rights, as a pregnant woman, if you are involved in a traffic accident? What happens if your unborn child is injured?
If you are involved in an accident, such as a truck accident, automobile accident, or the like, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. You should consent to treatment at the scene and you should ask to be transported to the emergency room for additional screening. Make sure you follow through on any instructions you are given at the emergency room, such as making an appointment with your obstetrician.
Sometimes, the mother goes into premature labor from the trauma of an accident. Babies born too early are at an increased risk of complications and likely have to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). An extended stay in the NICU can easily be hundreds of thousands of dollars. If your child is born prematurely because of an auto accident, you may add these additional medical bills to your damages claim. Similarly, if a pregnant mother requires extended hospitalization to monitor the baby for signs of distress, these bills may also be added to a damages claim after an auto accident.
If your unborn child is fatally injured in an auto accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Illinois has recognized the rights of parents to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of unborn children that are killed in accidents. Generally, the fetus must be viable, meaning that the baby would be able to survive apart from the mother. A fetus is usually considered viable at about 24 weeks of pregnancy.
In the wrongful death claim, the parents must show that the fetus was viable, that the at-fault driver was negligent, and that the at-fault driver’s negligence is directly related to the fetus’ death. Proving wrongful death claims requires the careful review of many different types of evidence, such as medical records, accident reports, expert witness reports, photographs, eyewitness statements, and others.
With the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney, pregnant mothers involved in auto accidents will be able to pursue all avenues of liability to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve. These attorneys focus on pursuing legal claims on behalf of accident victims so that these victims may focus on healing and recovering.
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If you were injured in a vehicle accident in Illinois, contact Stein & Shulman, LLC, today to discuss your legal options with a skilled Chicago car wreck lawyer. You can schedule a case consultation at no cost to you by calling our office at (312) 422-0500.