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Auto accidents are scary enough on their own, but when you are pregnant and get in a car crash, the level of fright is rather escalated. It is estimated that nearly 300 to 1,000 pregnancies are lost each year as a result of car crashes. While expectant parents are rarely thinking in terms of liability when disaster strikes, if the expectant parent was injured as a result of someone else's negligence, both the parent and unborn child may have strong legal claims.
Unfortunately, according to a 2014 study, pregnant women are more likely to be involved in a car accident because being pregnant can result in being more easily distracted while behind the wheel for various reasons.
Depending on the state, a person can be held liable for the injury to an unborn child, or for the wrongful death of an unborn child. Regardless, if an unborn child is injured, or dies, the parent's own injury claim can assert their own damages as a result of the lost pregnancy.
Even when a parent's injury may be minor, or resolve within a few months, waiting until the pregnancy is completed before settling any legal claims is good option. The caveat to this is if there are particular time limits involved. For instance, in California, a statute of limitation for an injury claim can be as short as six months if it is against a state or local government agency. However, because the statute of limitations for injury claims is generally longer than pregnancy, waiting to finalize a settlement is recommended.
Each state has a different statute of limitation, or deadline, by which a person has to file a lawsuit or lose their right to do so. Be sure to check the laws of your state before you decide to put a possible lawsuit on hold. If you wait too long, you may lose your ability to bring a claim.
Waiting to finalize a settlement does not mean delaying getting legal help, or letting a statute of limitations expire. If you were injured in a car accident, seeking out legal help early on is advisable. However, if there is even a remote possibility that an injury occurred to your unborn child, waiting until after you give birth to sign a release or settle is probably a smart move.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.