The changes that occur to a woman during pregnancy increase her chances of falling. Slowly, her center of gravity moves forward and the tissue in soft joints begins to relax, making it more difficult for her to move as she did before. Additionally, changes in the inner ear exacerbate balance issues. Many women do fall during pregnancy for that reason.
But when her fall is caused by unsafe conditions on-premises that should have been cleared, the potential for serious harm to a mother and baby increases, particularly on hard flooring. Pregnant women are already dealing with uncomfortable physical changes and increasingly extra weight on her frame until she delivers, making good balance even more difficult. A fall during pregnancy is not only dangerous to the mother, but to the unborn child as well.
Duty Of Care
Property owners, managers, and employees have a duty of care to ensure that a place of business open to the public is safe for everyone who enters. Failing to repair or remedy a hazard or warn visitors of a hazard is considered negligence. This field of law is known as premises liability.
Causes of slip and falls include:
- Wet or slick floors
- Uneven walkways
- Broken concrete
- Damaged floorings such as torn carpet or damaged floors
- Cluttered areas that block the footpath
- Stairs without handrails or in disrepair
Disregarding the safety of the public by not remediating a hazardous situation can be considered negligence. Slips and falls by anyone can lead to injuries such as sprains, broken bones, lacerations, nerve damage, spine/neck/head injuries as well as brain injuries. In the case of a pregnant woman, the injuries from a slip and fall accident can be damaging to her as well as her unborn baby.
Pregnancy Slip and Fall Accident Complications
Slipping and falling during the first trimester may just result in a little bruising and embarrassment. The body develops defenses to protect the baby during development. But as the pregnancy progresses, the risks increase during the second and third trimester. An expectant mother is not only more prone to not only falling but sustaining injuries to herself and the baby, such as:
- Internal bleeding, resulting from injuries to the uterus and/or stomach that leads to damage to internal organs
- Preterm labor from the accident, leading to a baby being born before it’s viable leading to fetal death
- Placental abruption, when the placenta separates from the abdominal wall, leading to bleeding, distress to the unborn baby, preterm labor, and possibly death of the mother
After any fall, an expectant mother should check with her OB-GYN for any possible injuries or damage to herself or to her baby.
As with any slip and fall accident, it’s also a good idea to get pictures of the area where the accident happened, as well as witness information, and names of employees and managers on duty at the time.
For any type of slip and fall, you will be required to show that the other party’s negligence led to your accident and therefore caused your injuries. If you’ve suffered a fetal miscarriage (loss) along with other injuries such as broken bones, you will also have to have direct medical evidence demonstrating the link between the accident and complications or loss.
Insurers for the other party will naturally try to deny your claim, and either refuse to offer a settlement or offer a very small, insignificant amount of money for your injuries. Allowing a slip and fall lawyer to negotiate on your behalf can help you get the compensation you need to take care of yourself after the accident.
Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier—A Slip And Fall Accident Law Firm In Greenwich Village
A pregnancy slip and fall accident can have longer-reaching implications than the usual broken bones, lacerations, and other injuries. A fall can impact both the mother and unborn baby that results in more serious injuries, and in some cases, death. If you or your baby have suffered an injury during pregnancy after a slip and fall, consider seeking legal assistance immediately.
Call us at (212) 777-9400 (or use our online contact form.) Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier is a family-owned personal injury law firm, with more than 26 years of experience helping residents of Greenwich Village and New York City after they’ve suffered injuries. Our contingency fee arrangement means we don’t get paid until you do, whether we settle your case or take it to court.