When you're pregnant, the fear and uncertainty of a car accident increase significantly. The harm extends not just to you but also to your unborn child, making the situation even more distressing.
If you or a loved one is pregnant and has been in a car accident, it's crucial to understand your rights and options for seeking compensation for any physical, emotional, and financial burdens you're facing.
Obtaining medical attention for you and your child and hiring an Atlanta car accident attorney to handle the personal injury claims process are key steps in moving forward after your accident.
Compensation for Car Accidents During Pregnancy
If a pregnant woman or her unborn child suffers harm in a car accident as a result of someone else's carelessness, she can seek compensation for the financial and psychological costs of the incident through the personal injury claims process. This process allows women to file a claim against the at-fault party's auto liability insurance provider.
In the legal arena, damages refer to compensation for harm due to someone's negligence. Economic damages refer to out-of-pocket expenses you incur due to an accident, such as past and future medical expenses, loss of income, and the costs of repairing or replacing the vehicle you were in when the accident occurred.
Claimants can also seek compensation for noneconomic damages. These are payments for the psychological harm they suffered due to the accident. If a pregnant woman suffered a miscarriage as a result of a car accident that a distracted driver caused, she can seek compensation for the emotional distress, pain, and suffering she experienced.
If the accident resulted in premature labor and the child was born alive, the woman can seek compensation for the child's medical needs and the physical pain and suffering they experienced due to their premature birth.
Car Accidents During Pregnancy
According to a study by the National Library of Medicine, around 92,500 pregnant women are victims of motor vehicle accidents in the United States each year. Car accidents are the leading cause of hospitalized injury and injury-related death during pregnancy. Those involving pregnant women can range from minor fender benders to severe collisions.
Regardless of the seriousness of your accident, seek medical attention immediately, as many injuries might not immediately appear, especially those to the unborn child.
BabyCenter reports that with car accidents and any jarring impact during pregnancy, one of the biggest risks is placental abruption, a condition where the placenta separates from the uterus wall before delivery. Placental abruption can cause serious issues, including hemorrhage, miscarriage, or premature labor.
There can be additional injuries to both the mother and child, making it particularly important for pregnant women to receive a thorough medical evaluation after being in an accident. Even after the evaluation, you need to continue watching for potentially serious symptoms, such as contractions, vaginal bleeding, or severe abdominal pain.
Battling Insurance Companies Post-Accident
The personal injury claims process involves making a claim against a relevant insurance policy. In no-fault states, you make the initial claim against your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, with the ability to seek compensation from the at-fault driver's liability coverage once your expenses and income loss exceed the PIP coverage limits.
Other types of insurance coverage can also come into play after an accident, including your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, MedPay coverage, or even a health insurance policy you have through your employer.
When you file a claim against an insurance policy, the insurance company assigns a claims adjuster to evaluate it. As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics explains, the claims adjuster has the task of investigating, evaluating, and settling claims on behalf of the insurance provider.
This includes determining:
- Whether the policy the claimant filed against covers the losses in their claim.
- Whether the insured was liable for the loss.
- How much the claimant has entitlement to as a result of the insurance provider's liability.
After evaluating a claim, a claims adjuster can take one of three actions. They can pay the claim outright, deny it, or offer to settle for less than its established value. Dealing with insurance companies after a car accident can be challenging.
As businesses looking to safeguard their bottom line, they might undervalue your claim, delay payments, or even deny your claim altogether. Having a lawyer by your side can make a significant difference, as they understand the insurance company's obligation and the information necessary to prove your claim.
What To Do After a Car Accident During Pregnancy
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being in a car accident while pregnant, there are two key steps to take. Always prioritize seeking immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine. Ensure the doctor knows you're pregnant so they can take appropriate precautions with your treatment.
Follow their treatment plans meticulously, attending all medical appointments and taking medications as they prescribe.
It's also important to contact an Atlanta personal injury lawyer. While it may seem like an additional stressor, having a legal professional on your side can mean the difference between receiving fair compensation or getting less than you deserve from insurance companies.
An experienced personal injury lawyer from the Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group can provide many services when handling your claim.
Determining and Proving Liability
A critical aspect of a successful personal injury claim is showing that someone else was liable for causing the accident that harmed you and your unborn child. After a car accident occurs, the following investigations often take place: The police investigate to determine if any of the parties violated traffic laws.
Claims adjusters examine your claim to understand whether their insured was liable for the car accident.
A personal injury lawyer can also investigate the claim on your behalf to determine the person liable for the physical harm and property damage you incurred and the insurance resources that are available to compensate you. This also allows them to gather documentation and evidence proving your claim.
Valuing the Claim
An experienced personal injury lawyer from Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group knows there is much more to a claim's value than how much money you spend on medical treatment or how much income you lose while recovering. The Center for Justice & Democracy explains that the joy of life often diminishes when someone suffers an injury due to another party's negligence.
When the accident causes injuries to a pregnant woman and her unborn child, the consequences can be two-fold, depriving the woman of the dreams she had for the arrival of her infant and depriving the infant of the opportunity to reach full-term without injuries or damage resulting from traumatic injuries to its mother.
A personal injury lawyer generally waits until their client reaches maximum medical improvement to value a car accident claim. Maximum medical improvement is a commonly used term in workers' compensation cases to determine the extent and permanence of disabilities, and it also applies when determining disabling injuries in a personal injury claim.
As CloudLex explains, maximum medical improvement refers to the point in a sufferer's recovery when their condition stabilizes and likely will not improve, even if medical treatment continues. This is a good time to value your claim, as there is a clearer picture of the treatment you and your child received and any disabilities resulting from the injuries that will impair your quality of life or ability to earn a living in the future.
When valuing your claim, your personal injury lawyer considers factors such as the severity of your injury, the estimated future medical needs of you and your child, and the level of negligence the at-fault party exhibited that resulted in the accident. If an at-fault party exhibited extreme negligence, such as driving at a recklessly high speed or while impaired, you can seek punitive damages.
Negotiating With a Claims Adjuster
Personal injury claimants have two methods of seeking compensation. The first is through filing an insurance claim. If the insurer fails to compensate the claim, you can also seek compensation through the civil court process of filing a legal complaint (or lawsuit). If there is no settlement by the trial date, a judge or jury will listen to the case details and decide on liability and compensation.
According to Black's Law Dictionary, around 95 percent of these cases will settle out of court. Settlements are preferable, as they are the less expensive, faster option for resolving a claim, with less publicity and more control on both sides to broker an effective agreement.
Insurance companies seek to limit their losses on claims, so hire a legal professional who can advocate for you to receive a fair settlement.
Your attorney from Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group can manage communication with a claims adjuster, ensuring the adjuster has the information they need to evaluate the claim and doesn't attempt to reduce the claim unfairly due to irrelevant information.
Filing a Lawsuit
The second way to obtain compensation after you've been in an accident while pregnant is by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Investopedia explains that the statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. This legal deadline is part of state law and varies from state to state. Your attorney will manage your claim to ensure ample time to file a legal complaint if necessary.
Once you have filed a lawsuit, your attorney can still negotiate a settlement agreement while they begin preparing your case for trial. They conduct several pre-trial activities, including filing and responding to motions, deposing witnesses, and preparing evidence exhibits.
Affording the Legal Help You and Your Child Need
Being in a car accident while pregnant can be an overwhelming experience. With the right legal assistance, however, you can navigate this challenging journey with more peace of mind. Personal injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis, so affording your attorney is one less thing to worry about.
The contingent fee means that your lawyer does not charge you an upfront fee to take your case and does not bill you by the hour whenever your legal team works on it.
You will not pay at all while your case is active. When you hire an attorney, you will have to sign a contingent fee agreement. This is legally binding between you and the law firm, outlines the services they will provide for you, and designates a percentage of your compensatory award as payment to your attorney.
Your attorney receives no payment if you don't win your case. If you do win, your attorney will receive your award and deduct the agreed-upon percentage for their pay, help settle any medical liens your healthcare providers or insurers placed on the award, and turn the rest over to you.
Contact Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group Today
For an obligation-free conversation about your case with an experienced attorney from the Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group, contact us to learn more about the process of seeking the compensation you and your child need. Call us at (404) 609-172 , or send us a message online.
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