A New York Times article today, entitled “Pregnant Women are Particularly Vulnerable during Car Accidents,” provides food for thought. The article says that 300 to 1,000 unborn children die in car accidents in the U.S. each year. An unborn child has a four times greater chance of dying in a car accident than a child up to age 4.
The biggest risk for an unborn child in a car crash is “placenta uterine attachment”. The placenta can detach easily in crashes, which in turn causes the baby to lose its oxygen supply. That accounts for about 80 percent of fetus losses in auto accidents.
What’s the main culprit in causing this detachment? The steering wheel. If you are a “very” pregnant woman, the steering wheel is probably only inches from your belly. The impact between your belly and the steering wheel in a crash, even a minor one, is what usually causes the placenta to detach.
Solution? The article recommends purchasing “pedal extenders”, which allow you to operate the pedals with your seat pushed further back, thus creating more distance between your belly and the steering wheel.
What’s the biggest mistake you can make as a pregnant woman in a car? Not properly adjusting your seat belt. If you’re pregnant, you probably find a seat belt uncomfortable. This causes you to try to adjust the belt upward, around your belly. In fact, the safest way for you to wear your seat belt is down around the bony pelvis area. This is true for everyone, but especially if you are pregnant because, in a crash, the seat belt itself can exert pressure on your belly, causing the placenta to detach.
New York State law recognizes that the loss of a fetus, at any stage, is a very serious event for a woman. That is why the New York State No-Fault Law specifically lists “loss of a fetus” as one of the categories of “serious injury”. If a woman has lost a fetus, at any stage of development, through the fault of another driver, she is automatically entitled to compensation for her pain and suffering.
Are you a pregnant motorist? Drive very carefully. Adjust your seat belt properly. See if “pedal extenders” will work for you. If you are injured in an auto accident get medical attention. If you decide to seek compensation for your injuries, feel free to call Michaels & Smolak. We’re glad to help.