As a new mother, I understand the great many things that are on a pregnant woman’s plate. The last thing she needs is an injury caused through no fault of her own in a car crash. But what happens if you do get injured?
Your first instinct is to think of your child and to put yourself second. This is only natural. However, when you see a doctor to follow up after the crash, make sure you include yourself in the check-up.
In Virginia, when someone causes a motor vehicle crash, they are responsible for any injuries that follow – whether they be to you or your child. This type of recovery is often called “compensatory damages.” These are damages designed to make up for or compensate you for what you went through.
Compensatory damages are a two-sided coin. On the one side, you can collect for the full cost of your medical treatment i.e. any bills you incurred related to injuries from the crash. You can also collect for any time missed from work. These are numbers you can see and calculate. That is why we often refer to them as “tangible damages.”
When you are pregnant, you’re already scheduled to go see your OBGYN a set number of times. Since these appointments are pre-set and unrelated to the crash, it can be hard to relate them to your personal injury claim. If you end up going more times, at shorter intervals or see a different provider (such as a hospital), that can change the conversation.
The other side of the damages coin contains what we call “intangible damages.” That’s because you can’t see them on a receipt or a bill. These damages attempt to quantify every way your life has changed because of your injuries from this car crash. You will often hear this described as “pain and suffering.”
Pregnancy already comes with a list of rules you need to follow, including restrictions for what kind of medication you can take. Most people can get a prescription for muscle relaxers and/or pain medication, and are healed within a few weeks. The same cannot be said for pregnant mothers. A lot of these medications are not on the approved list, and those that come close still require a conversation with your doctor about the risks and/or benefits. This remains true after pregnancy, and while you are breastfeeding.
At each stage of pregnancy, you are dealing with changes in your body from putting on more weight, swelling, morning sickness, etc. The last thing you need to deal with is additional pain in your neck, back or other areas of your body because of a car crash. These types of injuries only add to the load you are currently carrying. This increased aggravation is a part of your claim.
Finally, there is the worry. As I sit writing this article, I am thirty-four weeks pregnant and a first-time mother. I worry every day if I’m doing things right. Am I eating enough? Am I eating the right things? Did I forget to take my pre-natal vitamins? Did my baby “kick” enough in the past hour, or should I be worried that he isn’t moving enough? This worry may increase after a motor vehicle crash. You will wonder if your baby is okay. Is another ultrasound needed? What the difference is between a muscle spasm and a contraction? These new questions and worries are also a part of your claim.
If you are injured because someone else did something wrong, and you are pregnant, take a deep breath. Focus on you. Focus on your baby. And allow us to take the stress out of dealing with an insurance company to handle your claim. We are here for you.