Pregnancy is a wonderful gift for a family that ushers in a new life into the world. The safety of both the mother and the baby is a paramount concern for many aspiring fathers, especially when it comes to driving around on Brisbane, Gold Coast and other Queensland roads and highways.
But as careful and skilled as many fathers are in handling their vehicle, what happens if an accident were to occur? How can the parents utilize every resources they have to protect their unborn child?
Properly Wear Your Seatbelt
A great article on this topic addresses the importance of pregnant mothers properly wearing their seatbelt. To quickly summarize the article, world-renowed safety expert and global chairperson of the International Organisation for Standardisation, Lotta Jakobsson, recommends that properly wearing a seatbelt is one of the most important primary safety systems to protect a mother and her child in a crash situation. Failing to do so can maximize the force of the crash and potential injuries. If the seatbelt is improperly worn across the belly, an impact can cause direct force to the stomach that can injure the unborn child. The most common mistake that is made when wearing seatbelts is forgetting to adjust the belt position.
She highlights a few of the following tips to prevent seatbelt injuries:
- Removing bulky clothes so the seatbelt can be fastened as closely to the body as possible
- Pull the lap belt over the thighs and flat underneath the belly
- Ensure that the torso belt is positioned between the breasts
- Pull tight
Lotta Jakobsson also points out a short walkthrough on how to fasten a seatbelt while pregnant
- Adjust the seat so you can reach the pedals comfortably while maintaining as much distance between your belly and the steering wheel as possible.
- Pull the lap belt over your thighs, buckle it in and pull tightly. It is important to make sure that the lap belt does not run across the belly, but rather, lies flat underneath the curve.
- Position the torso belt across your chest between the breasts and to the side of the belly. Pull tight.
- NEVER tuck the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back. Doing so may cause injury to yourself and the baby.
Be Aware of Your Legal Rights
Lotta Jakobsson says that the most common potential injury risk that is most documented for unborn babies in a car collision is separated placenta. This leads to Foetal distress and early delivery that can result in breathing and nervous system disorders.
An operator of a car in Queensland has a duty to drive their vehicle responsibly and with a reasonable amount of skill and care. If another driver fails to do so and causes you and your baby harm, then they may be liable to compensate you for your losses.
What if my husband caused the accident?
It is not uncommon for a wife to make a compensation claim against their husband if a car accident results. The claim is made against the CTP insurer and not the driver/owner of the vehicle. In this way, the wife can be compensated without seriously disadvantaging the husband.
What can I claim if my unborn baby is injured or worse?
Generally speaking, a mother can claim medical compensation and general damages such as pain and suffering if the accident leads to injury that causes complications in child birth.
If the accident also results in the mother being unable to work, she may also be able to claim for loss of future income.
If the accident causes a fatal injury to an unborn child, a family member of the child may be eligible for ‘nervous shock’ compensation if the loss of the child results in the family member suffering a recognizable psychiatric illness.
An Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Can Help
If a car accident causes serious injury and/or complication in child birth, it is highly recommended that you speak to an accredited specialist in personal injury to be advised of your legal rights that apply to your unique circumstances.
Please feel free to contact East Coast Injury Lawyers today if you need more information on how our firm can answer your questions with a free, no obligation consultation.