Being in an auto accident may cause chest injuries, as well as head and spine injuries. Often chest injuries are not treated by first responders because these injuries are not visible. Yet in any auto accident, chest injuries could be serious and urgent. For this reason, you will be asked about chest pain. Unfortunately, with adrenaline pumping you may not notice or recognize the extent or severity of chest injuries.
How Chest Injuries Occur
Some people believe that wearing a seat belt and being in front of an airbag will protect them from all injuries in the event of an accident. There are several potential causes of chest injuries inside any vehicle.
Many injuries occur when the force of the collision forces people into contact with objects in the vehicle or with the doors, dashboard, or steering wheel. These injuries are likely to be more severe in older vehicles with fewer airbags to protect drivers and passengers or if the airbags are not functioning properly.
Seatbelts and airbags can cause chest injuries in an accident. Seatbelts may cause tenderness and bruising, and sometimes abrasions where they cross the chest. They can also cause more serious injuries like broken ribs, sternum, collarbone, and injuries to organs. Abdominal injuries can also be caused by seatbelts.
Airbags can cause a number of injuries, both when they deploy correctly and when they do not. If an airbag crash sensor malfunctions, the airbag may not deploy at all, or it might deploy it too late (when the driver’s head is too close to the steering wheel or the dashboard. Injuries caused by airbag deployment include abrasions or burns, lung irritation or an asthma attack from the chemicals released, or severe eye injury.
Common Auto Accident Chest Injuries
The most common injuries to the chest due to an auto accident are:
- Fractured ribs or sternum are common and are often caused by seat belts. The tendons, ligaments or cartilage in the ribcage may also be harmed.
- Flail chest. This results from a segment of the rib cage breaks and pulls away from the rest of the chest wall. This is a common injury after blunt trauma. Often, it involves injury to the underlying lung.
- Collapsed lung. When a lung collapses, your efforts to breathe send the air into the area around your lung rather than into the lung.
- Diaphragm injury. Trauma can cause this muscle to tear and inhibit breathing.
- Trauma from an accident that damages the ribcage or muscles could result in injury to the underlying organs (heart, major blood vessels, lungs, trachea, esophagus, kidney, liver, or spleen.
- Heart injury. Trauma to the heart can result in several serious injuries. These include muscle damage, bleeding in the heart, ruptured blood vessels, and irregular heartbeat.
Any chest injury can be very serious, especially if it is not treated soon after the accident. Auto accident chest injuries should never be ignored or minimized. If you are not transported to the hospital at the time of the accident, see your doctor or go to the emergency room the next day for evaluation and treatment.
Call Altizer Law, P.C.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another driver, and through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your hurts and harms. Call Altizer Law, P.C., for a free initial consultation and for legal representation. Bettina Altizer and her expert team have been helping clients recover maximum damages for 30 years. They understand that auto accident chest injury can be very painful, require a lengthy recovery period, and cause loss of income. When you are rebuilding your life, and you take legal action, it’s about the money.