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Jonathan Rosenfeld

March 2, 2023

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Fetal Death in Car Accident

Nothing is more precious than the birth of a newborn. The nine months or so of waiting can be the most exciting and scariest time for soon-to-be parents.

When someone’s negligence turns that joy into grief because of a fetal death caused by an auto accident, there is little consolation for the loss of the life that should have been.

Although fetal deaths are not officially tabulated, according to a study published by the American Medical Association (AMA) on fetal mortality, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of fetal deaths in the United States due to maternal trauma.

Hiring an Attorney to Prosecure a Fetal Death in Car Accident Case Can Help

The Chicago car accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represent women and families who have lost a pregnancy in a collision. Our legal team has handled cases where innocent mothers and children were injured or died in car accidents involving seatbelt injuries, deployed airbags, and hitting the steering wheel.

We work directly with the insurance companies representing the defendants to ensure that our clients and surviving family members receive the financial compensation they deserve.

Effects of an Auto Accident on Pregnancy

Estimates indicate that 79,000 unborn children are in police-reported auto accidents each year in the U.S., which is almost double the number of infants reported in the same type of crashes.

Some pregnancies never go to full term due to the motor vehicle crash, either because a miscarriage occurs immediately or other complications in the days or weeks afterward.

The effects of serious injury can have devastating effects and risks for the child and mother at any gestational age, including:

  • Premature labor. In some cases, fetal trauma starts contractions that could lead to premature labor. Babies born prematurely or preterm are at the highest risk for infant mortality and neurological problems.
    Any direct fetal injury with amniotic fluid in the first to the third trimester could be fatal.
  • Placenta abruption. In a car crash, the impact might cause a pregnant woman’s placenta to tear loose from the uterus. A crash could cause internal bleeding, preterm labor, low birth weight, and even fetus death.
    Estimates show that eighty percent of unborn children’s deaths from an auto accidents are due to placental abruption while the child was in utero.
  • Fetal distress. Even pregnant women who do not report any significant injuries due to an auto accident have risks associated with their pregnancies and births due to fetal distress. A gynecology-obstetrics study at the University of Washington showed a high risk for preterm birth, low birth weight, and placental abruption in women in automobile accidents without apparent injuries.

Both the child and mother might appear to be uninjured after being involved in a pregnancy trauma. However, as the prenatal period progresses, complications arise that can lead to a uterine rupture, miscarriage, or infant death during or shortly after birth.

Maternal death is another problem in a fatal car accident where the vehicle collision was the mother’s cause of death. In these cases, the doctor can save the unborn baby through a cesarean section, but the maternal injury is too much to save the mother’s life.

Illinois Allows Wrongful Death Lawsuits for The Death of Unborn Children

Not all states allow wrongful death claims for unborn children. However, Illinois recognizes a fetus as a person once it has become viable, usually at around twenty-four weeks gestation.

When the unthinkable happens, and a child is lost during pregnancy or is stillborn due to an auto accident caused by a negligent driver, the parents of that child might have cause to file a wrongful death lawsuit to obtain financial compensation.

It is impossible to value the life of a child who has been taken away by a needless accident. However, when reckless or negligent actions of a driver behind the wheel can cost bereaved parents an unbearable loss that makes them feel that the irresponsible motorist deserves more than a moving violation for their actions.

A civil suit can provide closure or retribution for the life that was so needlessly taken.

Car Accident Fetal Death FAQs

Can a car Accident Cause a Miscarriage?

Any direct trauma to an expecting mother’s body places her at high risk for miscarriage. The sudden impact of an automobile accident or airbags deployment could lead to a miscarriage, death of the mother, or both.

The fetus might not survive the horrific accident due to internal hemorrhaging or brain injuries that cause a lack of blood or oxygen. Any object inside the vehicle could puncture the mother’s abdomen or uterus, subsequently killing the unborn child.

Can a Minor Car Accident Cause Placental Abruption?

Approximately one out of every 150 pregnancies ended by miscarriage through placental abruption, which usually involves fetal trauma at nearly any gestation stage. Like from an automobile collision, trauma to the mother’s abdominal area could produce injury to the fetus’ brain that results in life-threatening conditions and long-term problems.

What Happens to Your Body in a Fatal Car Accident?

Many fatal car accident victims suffered crushing injuries to the upper body and thorax area. Their death is often the result of fractured ribs, lung damage, internal organ damage, brain hemorrhaging, and crushing injuries.

The impact force of a horrific car accident could rupture internal organs, including the spleen and heart. A severely injured body will often release endorphins immediately following an accident that can calm a victim moments before death.

What are the Signs of Fetal Death?

There are often apparent signs of fetal death when the mother experiences bleeding or spotting. Other symptoms include undetectable fetal heartbeat when using Doppler diagnostic tools or a stethoscope.

Fetal kicks and movement might stop. No detection of the heartbeat during an ultrasound is often used as the stillborn definitive diagnosis.

Alternatively, there are many signs and symptoms associated with fetal death that might not be directly correlated to stillbirth.

How do car Accidents Cause Miscarriages?

Mothers involved in automobile accidents might suffer significant fetal injuries that cause a loss of the fetus. Any puncture to the gut could release the womb’s amniotic fluid.

The mother could lose oxygen and experience immediate cardiac arrest, which would cause a miscarriage.

How Long Can a Baby Survive After Placental Abruption?

Receiving appropriate treatment immediately after placental abruption is crucial to the continuation of pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association reports that approximately fifteen percent of all severe placental abruption cases end in a stillbirth.

About half of all infants surviving a placental abruption will develop life-altering health complications.

Chicago Auto Accident Fetal Death Attorneys, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC

The loss of a baby during pregnancy is often too challenging for any family to endure. Our wrongful death personal injury attorneys understand that no amount of money will ever bring your child back.

However, working on your behalf, we will remain dedicated to handling your delicate cases with extreme professionalism and respect for the solemness of your tragedy.

Our team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is experienced in all types of Chicago wrongful death and auto accident lawsuits, including fetal death cases. We invite you to discuss your pursuit of compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit over the loss of your unborn child taken in a car accident.

Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.

Our attorneys follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).

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