More at Stake When Accident Victim Is Pregnant - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Monday, 17 July 2017

More at Stake When Accident Victim Is Pregnant

#AskStephanieSlavens

Driving is a risky activity according to statistics released last year by the provincial government in Ontario. Motorists were involved in almost 36,000 collisions that resulted in personal injuries to 49,601 people and the deaths of 483 others. Pregnancy adds greater risk for mothers and their unborn child in the event of an accident and affects how personal injury claims are handled by lawyers and the courts.

Driving while pregnant: Does the risk of having an accident increase?

Women in their second trimester of pregnancy appear to be at greater risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident according to a research study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. A doctor-led team of researchers based its findings on the experiences of 500,000 Ontario women over a five-year period.

The study found the rate at which car accidents occurred in the study group increased significantly, by almost 42 percent, during the second trimester. The occurrence of collisions dropped to pre-pregnancy rates following this sharp increase midway through the second three months of the pregnancy. Researchers did not offer a reason explaining why pregnant women were more prone to being involved in car accidents, but fatigue, nausea and stress experienced by women during pregnancy were offered by one doctor as possible factors contributing to the occurrence of accidents.

Women can reduce the risk of having an accident during pregnancy by being attentive to basic safety rules that all drivers should obey, including:

  • Keep a lookout for other vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Obey stop signs and other traffic control devices
  • Avoid cellphones and other distractions while driving
  • Wear a seatbelt

A pregnant woman should ask her doctor to show her the best method for securing her seatbelt to minimize the risk of injury to her unborn child. Airbags should remain activated as they provide the best protection for drivers and passengers in the event of a collision, but experts recommend that women who are pregnant move their car seats as far back from the dashboard or steering wheel as comfortably possible.

Issues arising when a personal injury victim is pregnant

Doctors treating a pregnant woman injured in any type of accident must be concerned about possible injuries to the fetus. Even though the mother might not exhibit outward signs of injury, a fall, car accident or other type of mishap could cause injury to the fetus.

X-rays, CT scans and other diagnostic testing methods used by doctors to diagnose and treat a patient become evidence for personal injury lawyers to use in court or during negotiations with insurers in support of a victim’s claim for compensation. These test results might not be available for a woman injured during her pregnancy because of the harm they might cause to the unborn child. Lawyers must rely upon doctor’s reports and other medical records to support the victim’s claim for damages instead of X-rays and similar diagnostic tools.

Pregnancy can delay settlement of a personal injury claim

As a general rule, most victims suffering a personal injury in an accident want to resolve their claim for compensation as quickly as possible, but this might not be a good idea in cases in which the victim is pregnant. A pregnant accident victim might be better served by waiting until after she gives birth because injuries to the unborn child could lead to additional medical care and other damages after the birth.

Seek help from experienced Ontario lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond provide experienced legal advice and superiorrepresentation for accident victims and their families.Call our 24/7 personal injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to one of our team members. We offer free consultations and case evaluations and have offices throughout Ontario.

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