We have noticed an increase in the amount of chest injuries suffered in car crashes in Massachusetts. Chest injuries from a car accident can be extremely painful, stressful, and uncomfortable. The description “chest injury” is very general and can include multiple injuries to several different body parts in and around the chest area. Some of the most common chest injuries include chest wall injuries, bruised ribs, fractured ribs, muscle strains, and an injury to internal organs, including the heart and lungs.
How Chest Injuries Happen in Car Accidents
Car accidents range from minor fender benders to severe crashes. In the numerous cases we have handled, we have seen several causes of chest injuries in auto accidents. Chest injuries, or trauma, can be the direct result of an airbag deploying, a strike to the steering wheel, or a jolt to the spine of the injured person. This can happen in a head-on collision, rear-end collision, or a T-bone collision.
In a head-on collision, the impact is often so severe that the airbag deploys or the dashboard is pushed into the driver, or passenger, as they are being gravitated forward. In a rear-end collision, the driver or passenger is usually jolted forward, slamming their chest into the steering wheel, dashboard, or restrained by the seatbelt. In a T-bone collision, the driver or passenger’s momentum is usually jolted sideways striking the car door or middle console.
Types of Chest Injuries
Now that we know how chest injuries occur in car accidents, let’s take a more detailed look at some of the common type of chest injuries:
Chest Wall Injury
A chest wall injury may be considered a less serious injury; however, it does still produce extreme pain. This pain can occur with shoulder, arm, trunk body, and/or rib cage movement. Additionally, breathing, coughing, or sneezing may increase the pain. Pain may be sustained for days to weeks after a chest wall injury has occurred.
A significant strike to the chest may break or crack a rib. The pain is associated with a fractured or broken ribs is often described as sharp or shooting discomfort. The cartilage surrounding the rib cage and the sternum are also at risk of suffering from injury. This bruising injury commonly causes pain described as dull and aching that worsens with movement or pressure.
Dull or aching chest pain can also be the result of a muscle strain. A muscle strain is a stretch or tear in a muscle. Sprains often happen after a fall, twist, or force out of normal body position. Muscle strains, especially in the chest, are important to be evaluated by a medical professional because muscles in the chest are attached to both the ribs and sternum. A medical professional can evaluate and rule out any more serious injuries in addition to the muscle strains.
Injuries to Internal Organs
More serious chest injuries from a motor vehicle accident involve damage to internal organs and pose as a risk of a potential life threatening injury. The heart is a main component of the chest; therefore, heart contusions are potential injuries following a car crash. Heart contusions in layman’s terms are bruises of the heart muscle, which can vary from mild to severe. Additionally, heart attacks, though are not commonly associated because of a car accident, are the result of a severely damaged heart with the lack of blood flow to the muscle. Extreme trauma to the chest, such as a car crash, therefore can inhibit a heart attack.
Additionally, lungs and the pulmonary system are also at risk for suffering an injury after chest trauma due to a car accident. Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath following a car accident are additional symptoms of a serious internal injury. There have been wrongful death cases where accident victims have passed away from serious chest injuries, including internal organ damage.
As with any injury from a car crash, a chest injury can result in numerous damages, including expensive medical bills, loss of income, and significant pain and suffering. The chest is a complex and crucial area of the body because of the multiple components and organs involved. Because of the severity of a chest injury and the extensive damage it may create, seeking fair and just compensation can be difficult. An experienced personal injury attorney can help get the injured party the financial compensation he or she deserves.
If you or someone you know suffered a chest injury because of someone else’s negligent driving, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. Mahaney & Pappas, LLP specializes in representing people injured in car accidents in Massachusetts. Please contact us, or call (508) 879-3500 for free information on accident claims or to schedule a complimentary meeting.