I Suffered a Chest Injury from a Car Accident-What Now?
Seat belts save lives. No one disputes that. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts cut the risk of death in a car accident by about 50%. In one year alone, about 15,000 lives were saved by buckling up.
However, seat belts can also cause serious chest injuries that leave victims in a lot of pain. Recovering from a chest injury from a car accident takes time and can require expensive medical care.
And if someone does not wear a seatbelt? Well, the damage caused by crashing into the steering wheel can dwarf any injury caused by a seatbelt.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you need to consider whether you qualify for compensation. Bringing a car accident claim can help you receive money to pay for medical bills and replace lost income.
Types of Chest Injuries from a Car Accident
You can suffer many different types of chest injuries in a car accident, including:
- Cuts or lacerations. The seat belt can cut through someone’s clothes and into the skin. Cuts should heal if they are properly cleaned, though they can leave unsightly scars and might be infected.
- Bruising (contusion) to the heart. A compressed sternum or ribs can cause a chest contusion after a car accident, leading to a blood clot in the coronary artery and possibly a heart attack.
- Lung contusion. A car accident can also damage the lungs, which can make breathing painful.
- Rib or sternum fracture. These are incredibly painful and can make it harder to breathe. Many people with rib injuries end up developing pneumonia or other complications, especially if they are elderly.
- Muscle injuries. You could stretch or tear the pectoral muscle in your chest.
- Breast damage. Women can damage their breasts in a severe car accident, leading to disfigurement.
The most common symptom for all these injuries is probably pain, which can be intense in the moments after a car accident. It might be difficult to move your arms around, to breathe, or to talk. You probably don’t know the severity of your injury, so it is best to go to the doctor as soon as possible.
Other chest injury symptoms might take 24 hours or more before they manifest. This is particularly true of a bruise to the lungs. If you begin to feel discomfort at any point, even a few days after the collision, go to the doctor.
Diagnosing and Treating a Chest Injury
Your doctor might need to order different tests to properly diagnose whether you have suffered a serious chest injury from your car accident. For example, you might need imaging tests like an X-ray or an MRI. The doctor will probably ask you to breathe deeply and identify where you feel pain.
The type of treatment you receive will depend on your injury. Many chest injuries can be treated conservatively with rest, heat, ice, and/or compression. You can manage pain with over the counter painkillers. Minor injuries might keep you out of work for a few weeks or a couple of months, but you should make a full recovery.
More serious injuries might require surgery to correct. A chest contusion, in particular, could require monitoring to make sure that the victim does not suffer a heart attack in the weeks after an accident.
When it comes to receiving compensation, chest injuries are no different from any other injury you might suffer in a collision. You must fully document how much the accident cost you in terms of medical care, lost income, and property damage. You might also receive compensation for pain and suffering and your emotional distress.
Keep all bills and receipts in a big folder so you can show them to your attorney. You can send a demand for compensation to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, but sometimes there are questions about who is to blame or an insurer does not want to pay out fair compensation. When that happens, you might need to file a lawsuit to get the money you are owed.
Contact Starpoint Law
If you suffered a chest injury from a car accident, you should meet with an experienced California attorney as soon as possible. At our firm, we have helped clients come back from devastating chest contusions and other injuries to live the lives they have always wanted. We know how to negotiate with insurance companies and how to effectively bring a lawsuit, if necessary.
For help with your case, please contact us to schedule a free consultation.