Slip and Fall While Pregnant Settlement
Pregnancy can be a time of anxiety as much as it is one of hope and wonder. As a pregnancy progresses, changes occur in a woman’s balance and center of gravity. The idea of suffering a slip and fall accident while pregnant is a frightening one for the expectant mother concerned about herself and her child.
Unfortunately, the hazards that cause slip and fall accidents in New York City do not cease to exist when a pregnant woman enters a grocery store or shopping center. Slippery floors, cluttered aisles, uneven walkways, potholes and other dangers can cause a pregnant woman to fall and hurt herself and, in some cases, her baby.
Your body generally does a good job of protecting your unborn child during pregnancy. Still, after a slip and fall accident, it is important to consult your OB/GYN if you are pregnant. If you and/or your child are injured in a fall that was not your fault, you should speak to a slip and fall accident lawyer about whether to seek compensation for your medical costs related to the accident. David Resnick & Associates, P.C. offers a free consultation to review your claim.
Falling While Pregnant: Don’t Blame Yourself
Slip and fall accidents during pregnancy are not uncommon. As a baby grows in the womb, the mother’s center of gravity moves forward, making it easier for her to lose her balance and fall, particularly during the third trimester. A pregnant woman who encounters a hazard that throws her off balance may have a difficult time avoiding a fall.
Falls are the most common cause of minor injury during pregnancy and are estimated to cause 17 to 39 percent of trauma associated with emergency department visits and hospital admissions, second only to car accidents, researchers said.
A study published by Maternal and Child Health Journal says 27 percent of women surveyed had fallen during pregnancy. Among them, 35 percent reported falling two or more times, 20 percent sought medical care and 21 percent had two or more days of restricted activity because of a fall. Only 1.5 percent reported premature labor or delivery due to a fall.
The two factors accounting for 72.5 percent of the falls were stairs and slippery surfaces. Further, a quarter of falls involved women who were carrying additional loads, even though their pregnancy had limited their ability to see the floor and their feet. Women also fell while wearing inappropriate shoes such as high heels and because they did not use handrails on stairs or because handrails were absent.
Women 20 to 24 years old were almost twice as likely to fall compared to those over 35 years.
Fall Injuries During Pregnancy
Falls during pregnancy may result in injury to the mother, including:
- Head injury
- Rupture of internal organs
- Premature separation of the placenta from the uterus
- Rupture of the uterus and membranes
- Maternal or fetal death
The severity of injuries from falling during pregnancy can vary depending on when the fall occurs during gestation. For example, a bad fall in the early stages of pregnancy may trigger a miscarriage, while falling toward the end of pregnancy may prompt an early delivery. However, falling at any point during pregnancy can have serious consequences.
The information below is no substitute for your obstetrician’s advice, but it can give you a better idea of the implications for yourself and your baby if you fall during pregnancy.
Consequences of Falling While Pregnant: First Trimester
Pregnant women are most vulnerable to miscarriage during the first trimester. However, the uterus is entirely within the pelvis during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, which means the pelvic bone and pelvic wall protect the uterus. During a fall, the bone and muscles surrounding the uterus, both around the hips and the pelvic floor, protect the uterus and the baby.
However, you should always inform your doctor about any fall during pregnancy, especially if you begin spotting or experiencing cramps.
Consequences of Falling While Pregnant: Second Trimester
As the baby grows, the uterus expands outside the pelvic floor and into the lower abdomen. This means that the top portion of the uterus is no longer protected as it was in the first trimester. Thus, a fall during this stage of pregnancy may directly harm the uterus and baby. Although the amniotic fluid in the uterus protects the baby, if a pregnant woman falls on an object or lands the wrong way, she and the baby could suffer serious injuries.
If you start spotting or cramping, feel a tenderness in your abdomen, or notice a difference in your baby’s movement pattern after a fall, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Consequences of Falling During Pregnancy: Third Trimester
As a baby grows during pregnancy, the uterus expands into the abdomen and is near the ribcage. Falling during the last trimester of pregnancy can trigger contractions. A doctor may prescribe medication to stop the contractions and advise bed rest, or, if the mother is close enough to full-term, may deliver the baby early.
The most significant danger of falling during the last trimester of pregnancy is damage to the placenta. After a fall, the placenta may partially detach from the uterine wall, which may require the pregnant woman to go on bed rest. Or, a fall could cause a small tear in the sac around the baby, resulting in a slow leak of amniotic fluid or even a complete rupture. In that case, a doctor may have no option but to deliver the baby, as the risk of infection is high.
Another danger to pregnant women, no matter which trimester they are in, is severe damage to the joints. Pregnancy hormones make the ligaments and tendons looser throughout the body, so a fall that seems minor can cause severe sprains for a pregnant woman.
Who Can Be Held Liable for My Slip and Fall Injury in New York?
Where and how a slip and fall during pregnancy occurs can determine which parties may be liable for harm to you and your baby. For example, if you slip and fall on a spill in a grocery store, the store owner may be liable for the injury if they did not promptly clean up the spill. Property owners are responsible for keeping their premises free of hazards and reasonably safe for visitors.
Some examples of parties that could be liable for slip-and-fall injuries include:
- Property owners or managers
- Business owners that lease properties and are responsible for maintaining them
- Construction companies that fail to maintain safe sites for passersby
- State or local agencies or entities responsible for maintaining and repairing public areas
- Homeowners who fail to maintain places where guests walk
Should I Be Worried About My Baby If I Fall While Pregnant?
The Mayo Clinic explains that your body is designed to protect your developing baby during pregnancy. The walls of the uterus are thick, strong muscles that protect the womb, and amniotic fluid surrounds and cushions the fetus. During the early weeks of pregnancy, the uterus is tucked behind the pelvic bone.
Minor falls during early pregnancy are typically not of concern. But, during the second and third trimester, trauma to your abdomen could harm your baby, the Mayo Clinic says.
The What to Expect site says, “At every stage of pregnancy, your belly is meant to withstand some pretty tough circumstances in order to protect your baby. … It would take a severe accident for any blow to penetrate beyond those protective layers and affect your baby.”
Contact your doctor after a fall to explain what happened and discuss any pain or other symptoms you are experiencing. After a fall toward the end of your second trimester or anytime during your third trimester, see your health care provider as soon as possible, the Mayo Clinic says.
Seek emergency care after a fall if you experience:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Uterine contractions
- Inability to feel the baby move or reduced movement
Should I Contact a Lawyer About a Slip and Fall While Pregnant?
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident that was caused by a New York property owner’s negligent maintenance or failure to correct or warn about a hazard, you may have a valid legal claim against the party or parties responsible for your fall.
Commercial property owners and managers who invite guests to commercial venues such as stores, restaurants and theaters have a responsibility to know of any dangerous conditions on the premises and to correct them or adequately warn visitors about them.
Homeowners have similar obligations toward invited guests. If you can show that the property owner failed to meet their legal responsibility for your safety and this negligence led to your accident and injury, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses.
A NYC personal injury attorney from David Resnick & Associates can assess your accident and potential to bring a successful injury claim during a free consultation. We can investigate the cause of your accident and gather evidence to show your injuries were caused by the property owner’s negligence. In many cases, we are able to negotiate a slip-and-fall settlement without going through a trial.
A proper settlement should provide full compensation for all your losses, including pain, suffering and the distress of harm or possible harm to your baby. If you are contacted by an insurance company and offered a quick settlement, you should have an experienced New York personal injury attorney review it before you agree to accept or sign anything.
Contact David Resnick & Associates, P.C., for a free consultation about your slip and fall accident, and we can help every step of the way.
Although you generally have three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit, you should act quickly to ensure that valuable evidence is gathered and preserved. If you fail to file a suit by the statutory deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case. If so, you could lose your chance to seek compensation for your injury in civil court. Contacting an attorney immediately is crucial to protecting your right to pursue financial relief.
Preventive Measures for Pregnant Women
The chances of a serious injury from a slip-and-fall accident increase as pregnancy progresses. A pregnant woman’s center of gravity shifts as her abdomen expands, and she may feel more unwieldy. Although you cannot control the actions of property owners or other parties, it’s essential to take proactive measures to avoid tripping or slipping and falling.
Some ways you can protect yourself from a slip-and-fall accident during pregnancy include the following:
- Wear flat shoes instead of heels or wedges.
- Make sure that your shoes have non-skid soles.
- Avoid slippery surfaces, or take smaller, slower, and more deliberate steps while walking on a slick or icy surface.
- Use handrails if available, especially when going up or down stairs.
Contact an NYC Slip and Fall Lawyer If You Fell During Your Pregnancy
Do you need help seeking a slip and fall while pregnant settlement? At David Resnick & Associates, P.C., we understand this is an emotionally distressing time, especially if you or your baby suffered harm from a slip-and-fall accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Our personal injury attorneys are ready to handle every aspect of your case, giving you the time and space you need to heal and move forward.
We want to advocate for your rights and fight for the maximum settlement you deserve for your injuries and the harm you suffer. Contact our New York City slip-and-fall lawyers today for a free consultation.