pregnant woman driving

Party Rights When Involved in a Car Accident



Anyone who is injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence or carelessness in California has the right to recover financial compensation for all injuries and property damage. This compensation comes from either a settlement of a car accident claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit.

What if a Car Accident Victim is a Pregnant Woman?

Unfortunately, if the victims are a pregnant woman and her unborn child, car accidents can result in catastrophic injuries for those parties. In some cases, both the mother and unborn child can suffer life-threatening injuries. The following are the most common pregnancy complications after a car accident:

  • Miscarriage
  • Severe internal and external bleeding
  • Early labor
  • Birth defects
  • Maternal shock
  • Placental disruption
  • Contrecoup injuries
  • Uterine rupture

In most cases, a pregnant woman should be entitled to the same types of monetary damages in car accident claims. There are two main types of damages: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages consist of out-of-pocket financial losses, while non-economic damages include intangible losses. A pregnant woman can recover compensation for the following losses:

  • Hospital bills and other medical-related expenses
  • Loss of wages
  • Decreased earning potential
  • Permanent impairments or disabilities
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of quality of life

In 2014, Reuters Health reported that pregnant women were 42 percent more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle collision that resulted in an emergency room visit. According to the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, between 1,500 and 5,000 fetal losses occur every year in the United States due to car accidents.

Can You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit from the Loss of an Unborn Child?

Wrongful death is a death caused by another person’s negligence or carelessness. When a fetus is killed in a car accident, there are 34 states that have implemented or made substantial moves to make the wrongful death of an unborn child a legal cause of action.

However, California is not one of these states. According to a California Supreme Court ruling in Justus v. Atchison, “[a] fetus is not a person within the meaning of our wrongful death statute until there has been a live birth.” Therefore, you may not be able to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a child in most cases.

There are some extenuating circumstances and gray areas that could make a fetus’ death eligible for a wrongful death claim in California. For instance, if the trauma of the crash results in the mother going into early labor and the fetus passes away either right after the accident or later in the hospital, the mother may file a wrongful death claim, so long as the child was born alive.

Our Firm is Committed to Helping Injured Parties

Whether you are a pregnant woman who suffered injuries in a devastating car accident or lost your unborn child, our experienced personal injury attorneys at Frish Law Group, APLC are ready to maximize your compensation and help you make the best possible recovery from your injury. Since 2008, we have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our injured clients in a wide range of personal injury claims.

If you have been injured in a car accident in Woodland Hills or within the surrounding area, call Frish Law Group, APLC at (818) 477-1905 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation.

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