Chest Pain After a Car Accident: What it Could Mean
Many car accident victims brush off symptoms immediately after a crash, believing that they may not be serious, or in some cases, only experiencing minor discomfort because adrenaline masks the worst of the pain. Ignoring symptoms in this way, however, can be dangerous. This is especially true for certain types of symptoms, like chest pain, which could be indicative of a very serious problem.
How Chest Injuries Occur
Most car accident-related chest injuries are caused by blunt force trauma, such as coming into contact with
- The steering wheel, dashboard, or another object inside the vehicle;
- The airbags, which can deploy with such force that they actually cause blunt force injuries to the chest; and
- Seat belts, which, when they tighten to restrain the body upon impact, can exert too much pressure on the sternum and chest area.
It is, however, also possible for a car accident victim to suffer chest injuries as a result of penetrating trauma. This occurs when something actually pierces the chest area, like a piece of the vehicle itself, or even a fractured bone. These kinds of traumas can cause chest pain and difficulty breathing, which can worsen over time if a person fails to seek treatment.
Diagnosing a Chest Injury
Chest pain could indicate a serious underlying problem, which is why it’s so important for accident victims who experience chest pain to seek medical attention right away. By conducting a physical examination, followed by a series of scans, such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, a medical professional can determine what type of treatment a person requires. The most common car accident-related chest injuries include:
- Bruised or broken ribs, which can impede breathing and lacerate nearby organs;
- Bruised or fractured sternums, which are often caused by seat belts and are sometimes accompanied by pulmonary injuries;
- Chest contusions, or bruising to the chest;
- Pulmonary contusions, or bruised lungs, which can occur when a blunt force trauma damages the vessels and causes blood to leak into the lungs themselves; and
- Punctured lungs, which often occur as a result of broken ribs and can cause internal bleeding, lung collapse, and even respiratory failure.
Treatment for these injuries could involve everything from hospitalization and prescription medications to surgical repair and ventilation. Many patients are also referred to pulmonary or cardiology specialists. These expenses can quickly become overwhelming, especially for accident victims who are unable to work while they recuperate. Fortunately, accident victims who can prove that someone else’s negligence caused their injury, could be entitled to reimbursement for these costs, as well as for other accident-related losses, like lost income, vehicle damage, and even pain and suffering.
Set Up a Free Consultation Today
To speak with an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer about your own recovery options following a crash for which you were not at fault, please call Shiver Hamilton Campbell at 404-593-0020 today. We know how stressful it can be to try and move on after a serious car crash and are ready to put our experience and resources to work in your own case.