Close Menu

Pregnant Women, Fetuses, and Injuries to Both


With all the talk of the recent Supreme Court case in Alabama declaring a fetus held in a lab is a person, allowing the family to sue for wrongful death, it’s easy to forget that in Florida, as with many other states, a fetus that is inside of a pregnant woman has long been considered a person, for the purposes of suing when there is an injury to that fetus.

Two People at Risk

When pregnant women are in accidents, there can potentially be two fatalities—that of the mother, and that of the fetus. And yes, accidents are a leading cause of fetal death, more than medical malpractice of criminal acts. It is estimated that around 5,000 pregnancies every year end up terminated because of car accidents.

No Major Impact Needed

You may also be surprised to learn that it doesn’t take a significant impact on the mother to cause the death of a fetus; a mother may only appear to be “minorly injured,” and yet, the effects of the injury and sometimes the recovery, can be enough to terminate the pregnancy. This is true even where the accident didn’t cause any direct trauma or injury to the mother’s stomach region.

What Can Happen to a Fetus

Car accidents can cause damage to, or even terminate pregnancies, in a number of ways.

You’ve probably heard of preeclampsia, a condition that happens when a mother’s blood pressure gets too high. After a car accident, it is natural for any of our blood pressure to skyrocket through fear, stress, anxiety, or the body’s response to injury. That puts an unborn child in serious danger.

You’ve heard of people who get concussions in car accidents? That can happen to a fetus as well, but of course, the fetus’ head is not as developed as an adults. When the baby’s brain is knocked about because of the force of an accident it is called shaken baby syndrome—yes, the same syndrome that often happens to newborn infants after they are born.

The end result, if it isn’t outright death, can be a lifetime of disability and the failure of the brain to ever function properly.

If the force of an accident is strong enough, the baby can separate from the placenta, called an abruption. This can be potentially life threatening for mother and fetus.

Overall Stress

And then there is just stress and trauma surrounding an accident, stress that can lead to miscarriages.

The body and mind are being taxed after an accident, creating an environment ripe for problems with a pregnancy. If the fetus does survive, we do know that stress and trauma and injury can also lead to premature birth, which can lead to permanent, lifelong medical problems and limitations.

Problems with a pregnancy, or injuries to a fetus because of a car accident? Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian and schedule a consultation today.


Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

© 2018 - 2024 Barbas, Nuñez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian, Attorneys and Counselors at Law. All rights reserved.
This law firm website & legal marketing is managed by MileMark Media.