Any slip and fall accident can be frightening and embarrassing. Often the person who has fallen just wants to get up and leave the situation quickly.
However, a slip and fall while pregnant brings increased concern with it. Not only are you wondering if you have been hurt, but you are also wondering if the fall hurt your baby.
Even if you think you aren’t hurt from your slip and fall, your baby could be. You and your baby should both seek immediate medical attention, if for no other reason than for peace of mind. If you wait until your baby is born to find out if your baby was hurt, the results might be more tragic.
Risks to You and Your Baby from a Slip and Fall While Pregnant
Overall, the inside of a mother’s uterus is a very safe place for her baby. Inside the placenta, the baby is cushioned by fluid and shielded by the strong walls of the womb, both helping to protect against the motions of everyday life.
However, a mother’s slip and fall accident with a baby inside can be more than what is considered “normal” for a baby to experience. A slip and fall accident while pregnant can lead to serious complications for both mother and baby alike.
Instinctively, pregnant mothers will turn their stomachs away from the ground when they slip and fall, hoping to protect the baby inside from any harm. For the mom, however, this may lead to a greater likelihood of back and side injuries.
Doctors have identified several serious risks for you and your baby as well, including:
- Loss of amniotic fluid, possibly leading to delays in your baby’s development and growth inside the womb
- Placental abruption, which is the separation of the placenta from the inside wall of the uterus (womb), causing the baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients to be cut off
- Baby’s blood cells traveling into the mother’s bloodstream, a dangerous condition medically known as fetomaternal hemorrhage
- Uterine contractions, possibly leading to premature birth or loss of the pregnancy (miscarriage)
Serious complications that may arise specifically for the baby include birth defects such as learning disabilities, deafness or blindness, as well as possible heart defects. Life-threatening internal injuries may also result, including organ damage, internal bleeding, or even a similar type of head trauma like that of “shaken baby syndrome.”
Treating any broken bones that a mother may have because of her slip and fall accident can lead to further problems too. Potential drug treatments and any surgery needed to treat the mother could be hazardous for the unborn baby.
For both the mother and child, infection is another serious concern. An undetected, untreated infection can lead to septic shock if it moves into the bloodstream of the mother or the baby. Septic shock is a condition causing a significant drop in blood pressure that can lead to respiratory or heart failure, stroke, failure of other organs, and death.
Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall, Especially When You’re Pregnant
The most important thing you can do first is to remain calm. Staying calm will help you to think more clearly and act more quickly.
As with any type of slip and fall accident, there are steps to take following the incident. Whether it took place on someone’s private property, at a store or other business location, or a public building, it is important to follow these next steps:
- Seek immediate medical attention. Do not decline seeking medical attention. You cannot know whether you or your baby have any injuries from your slip and fall without a medical examination. Call for an ambulance, or have a loved one take you to the emergency room to get any possible injuries for you or the baby checked out. Be sure to tell any emergency medical personnel that you are pregnant. Also be sure to contact your OB/GYN right away for further follow-up care. Your OB/GYN’s report may be a crucial part of any legal action you take.
- Tell the property owner or business right away. Notify an employee or the property owner of the accident and be sure to collect copies of any completed reports.
- Document the incident thoroughly. Gather any witnesses’ names and contact information. Take photos of where your slip and fall took place, including any possible slippery spots or trip hazards, and of any visible injuries, such as cuts, bruises, or breaks.
- Gather and keep all paperwork, including anything you receive about the accident from medical professionals, emergency personnel, or property owners and location management, and especially any from your own OB/GYN.
- Contact an attorney, one experienced with slip and fall and personal injury cases. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you file your claim, handle the paperwork, and get a fair settlement for both you and your baby. Hipskind & McAninch has dealt with many personal injury cases, including slip and fall cases while pregnant, throughout St. Louis and Illinois.
- Keep documenting any changes you notice in your daily physical and mental health, as well as any changes you notice about your baby and your pregnancy.
Getting Compensation for Injuries from a Slip and Fall While Pregnant
If your slip and fall leaves you or your baby with an injury that happened through no clear fault of your own, you have a right to hold the property owner responsible, and to pursue fair compensation.
Compensation can cover expenses you incurred for emergency treatment, follow-up, and possibly even future care if any serious injuries occurred with longer-lasting impact to you or your baby’s health.
In order to seek and receive fair compensation for your or your baby’s injuries resulting from your slip and fall accident while pregnant, you will need to prove that your injuries were not caused by you. You’ll need to prove that the injuries were a result of the property owner’s actions, or failure to act, which led to a dangerous situation or hazardous condition.
Anytime someone has a slip and fall accident, they are often embarrassed and want to just get up and leave. But when you are pregnant and have a slip and fall, you have the added concern of whether your baby is hurt.
Every mother has the right to give birth to their baby in as safe and healthy of a way as possible. If you suffer a slip and fall injury while pregnant, take quick action to help protect the health of both you and your baby. Discuss your slip and fall incident with an attorney who has the experience to fight for your best interests.