Recently as you may have heard about in the news, a Des Moines woman who was pregnant was injured when her minivan was struck and flipped onto its top just off of Southeast 14th. Luckily, her injuries turned out to be relatively minor and her unborn child was not, as of the last report, seriously affected. However, this incident serves as an opportunity to discuss the unique scenario that is presented when a pregnant woman suffers injuries as a result of an automobile accident.
To begin with, an Iowan who is injured by the negligence of another driver in Iowa is entitled to compensation for all injuries that are directly caused by that driver's negligence. An Iowan who commits a negligent act must reap the consequences regardless of the condition of the victim prior to the collision. In other words, generally speaking, merely because a certain person may be more prone to suffering injuries does not alleviate the responsibility of the person who caused those injuries. Accordingly, if a mother was injured and her pregnancy was directly affected as a result of an automobile or truck accident, that mother can recover for all medical bills and other damages incurred that can be directly related to the accident. The negligent driver cannot say "well its not my fault she was pregnant." To the contrary, its not the pregnant woman's fault that you were negligent!
However, the analysis does not end there. It is the case that a wrongful death action is generally not allowed in Iowa for the death of an unborn child or fetus. However, certain additional damages may be available to parents of an unborn child that is injured or killed in an automobile, motorcycle, or truck accident. Damages for the effects on a parent's relationship with a child injured or killed in the womb ARE in fact recoverable by the parents in Iowa generally, depending on the circumstances of the case. So regardless of what the claim is called, if you or a loved one has an unborn child injured in a car accident, you are likely going to be entitled to additional recovery. This is the perfect example of the necessity of consulting with an attorney that has experience litigating car accident cases. It is imperative that the attorney recognize all potential claims arising from any given accident as well as every potential claimant.
This post is not meant to be an exhaustive review of every potential type of recovery available to a pregnant woman. If you or a friend or family member is pregnant and have been injured or had your pregnancy affected in a car wreck, please contact an experienced automobile accident attorney such as those at GRLLaw.