The screeching of brakes and the sudden impact stuns you as the car does a brief spin. You’ve been in an accident, as you see people on the sidewalk coming towards the vehicle and dialing on their phones for the police. Once your muddled thoughts clear, the first thing you do is place your hand on your swollen belly and check yourself for injuries.
There’s a few scrapes and cuts on your face where your head slammed into the driver’s window. Yet what worries you is the health and safety of your baby. While the seat belt kept you in place, the abdomen area still came in contact with the steering wheel as you see a large bruise when briefly lifting up your shirt. You now wonder what you should do right now.
Seek Medical Attention
It goes without saying that most people should seek medical attention if they have injuries after an accident. Yet pregnant women are in a different situation. While you may have sustained minor injuries that you don’t feel will require a trip to the ER, the car accident may have injured your unborn child. Even low impact accidents can cause a range of different trauma to a baby that may create immediate or future medical complications.
What may be confusing to you is whether you should go to the emergency room for treatment or wait to see your regular doctor the next day. There is no one-size-fits-all scenario since all car accidents are different and a woman may be at different trimesters of the pregnancy when the accident occurs. If you need any treatment for other injuries, such as for a broken bone or concussion, then the hospital staff can check up on the baby also at the time. You should also go directly to the ER if you experience the following:
- vaginal bleeding
- severe pain in the abdomen
- physical impact to the abdomen
If you were in a minor fender-bender and there wasn’t any impact to the abdomen, you may wait to speak with your regular doctor as they will schedule an appointment to see you. Yet if you start experiencing symptoms later such as contractions, bleeding, pain, swelling of fingers or facial area, painful or urgent urination, loss of consciousness, severe headaches, or the baby moves position or doesn’t move as much, you should seek immediate medical care. Always seek out the medical attention that you feel is best for the situation.
Child Complications after a Car Accident
The pregnant mother’s womb area is designed to protect the baby as much as possible. Yet car accident impacts may cause a complication known as placental abruption. Placental abruption occurs when the placenta detaches prematurely from the uterine wall. When the placenta detaches, it interrupts the blood flow to the baby.
This serious, life-threatening condition may lead to internal bleeding, hemorrhaging, miscarriages, or premature labor. There doesn’t have to be any warning signs of a placental abruption after a car accident. You can experience no injuries or symptoms. Yet this condition can be fatal to your baby and put your own health into serious risk.
Record Details of the Accident
To file an insurance claim, record what you can whether you are still at the scene of the accident or are being taken by ambulance to the emergency room. Write down the time, location, and details of the accident. Try to remember if there were any other circumstances, drivers or pedestrians that could have contributed to the crash. While at the hospital, make sure to get medical documents pertaining to your injuries as well as the names of doctors and technicians who examined and treated you.
If you are still at the accident scene, gather the other driver’s information including their name, phone number, address, and insurance company information. It is also a smart idea to write down their license plate number in case they give you false information. Some drivers will give false details because they may not have insurance, may not have gained permission to drive someone’s vehicle, or they may not be allowed to operate any motor vehicle due to an expired or suspended license.
Gather Witness and Police Information
You should also speak with witnesses to get their version of events. If the police are called and they arrive at the scene, get the officer’s information and any police forms they provide. Take photos with your smartphone as you want visual evidence of the accident scene, damages to your vehicle, and any damages caused to the other vehicle.
File Claims and Seek Compensation
With all the gathered medical reports, police forms and witness information, you will be able to accurately fill in the details on insurance claim forms to seek compensation for damages and injuries. You will also have available evidence in case the claims adjuster requires additional information to help decide on a compensation amount. In some cases, you may need to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages or damages against liable parties.
A personal injury attorney can help you with filing insurance claims, preparing lawsuits, and representing your best interests in a court of law. Contact our Indianapolis office of Doehrman Buba Attorney at Law for a free consultation.