Trauma and damage to the chest are some of the most frequently reported car accident injuries. If you have sustained a chest injury in a San Diego car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Injury Trial Lawyers, APC to find out how we can help you maximize the amount of money you receive from a lawsuit.
At Injury Trial Lawyers, APC, our San Diego personal injury attorneys have over 21 years of combined experience handling complex personal injury matters. We have helped our clients recover millions in compensation for serious injuries, including those affecting the chest. Contact us to set up a free consultation with our skilled legal team to find out how we can help you, too. We will review your case, offer our preliminary opinion about the strength of your claim, and answer the questions you have.
How Common are Car Accident Chest Injuries?
The CDC reports that more than 32,000 people are killed and another 2 million suffer injuries in car accidents across the country every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), chest injuries are among the most commonly reported issues by drivers and passengers after a car accident. In fact, 80 percent of all car accident injuries affect the head and/or chest.
Likelihood of Sustaining a Chest Injury
There are two primary factors that determine how likely you are to sustain a chest injury in a car accident: your age and the type of crash.
Age: Young drivers are less susceptible to chest injuries than older drivers. In fact, drivers between the age of 16-24 are much less likely to suffer a chest injury than any other drivers on the road.
Type of Crash: There are two primary classifications of car accidents: rollover and non-rollover. Non-rollover accidents are further classified based on where impact is made on the car during a crash.
According to statistics provided by the NHTSA, drivers are most likely to suffer a chest injury in rollover crashes and non-rollover crashes with left-side impact. Drivers are least likely to suffer a chest injury in non-rollover crashes with right-side impact.
Causes of Car Accident Chest Injuries
Even though some are more likely than others to suffer a chest injury, drivers, passengers, and pedestrians are all at risk. Common causes of car accident chest injuries include:
Selt Belts: Seat belts save lives. However, they can also cause chest and abdominal injuries. When a car comes to a sudden stop or is involved in a crash, seat belts automatically tighten to secure passengers in the vehicle. This helps to prevent them from being ejected or thrown around the car. In some cases, seat belts can become so tight that they cause bruising, swelling, and/or abrasions to a passenger’s chest. Other times, seat belts may become so tight that they actually cause fractures to the rib cage and sternum.
Steering Wheels: Drivers who are not properly secured in their seats are at risk of suffering blunt force trauma to the chest. The steering wheel sits at the perfect height to make contact with the chest. The steering column is incredibly rigid and can cause significant damage to the chest.
Contact With Side Panels: If a car is involved in an accident where the collision affects the left or right side of the car, the car’s panels may fold in on the passengers.
Flying Glass: Glass and debris flying around the car after a crash can become lodged in a passenger’s chest. If the rib cage becomes compromised, the lungs, heart, and trachea may become vulnerable to glass and debris.
Airbags: Airbags are installed in cars to protect passengers during an accident. There are two scenarios in which airbags can cause chest injuries. First, airbags can be defective. These defects may cause shrapnel and debris to be distributed around the car, or cause the airbag to malfunction and not deploy. Second, airbags deploy with incredible force. Passengers who are cushioned by an airbag may also sustain injuries to the chest. Older passengers and children are at a greater risk of suffering a chest injury because of an airbag.
Types of Chest Injuries
The term “chest injury” refers to a wide range of issues that may be caused by trauma to the chest. Fractures to the ribs and sternum are among the most frequently reported chest injuries.
Rib Cage Fractures: The rib cage is a collection of curved bones that protect vital organs in the chest cavity. When ribs fracture, they can expose these organs to dangerous outside elements and/or travel inward and puncture the organs. This can cause massive bleeding and significant damage to the body.
Sternum Fractures: The sternum is what keeps the rib cage together. It is a long, flat bone that runs down the center of your chest. Ribs are connected to the sternum with cartilage and soft tissue. The sternum itself can become fractured, compromising the internal organs, or the connective tissues can become bruised or severed.
Other commonly reported chest injuries include:
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord damage
- Soft tissue damage, and
Effects of a Car Accident Chest Injury
When you suffer trauma to the chest in a car accident, your injuries may be immediately noticeable. Other times, your chest injury may not be evident right away. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately:
- Sharp chest pains
- Throbbing chest pains
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest cavity not expanding when taking breaths
- Coughing blood, and
- Upper abdominal pain.
Treating Chest Injuries After a Car Accident
Chest injuries can range from minor bruising to life-threatening fractures and internal damage. The course of treatment that is appropriate will depend on the type of injury you sustain. Possible treatment can include surgery to repair damaged tissue and organs, rehabilitation, and time.
If left untreated, chest injuries can be life-threatening. It is important to seek medical treatment immediately. A doctor will ensure that all of your injuries are diagnosed and treated appropriately.
Chest Injury Compensation
Chest injuries can take weeks or months to heal. The process of recovery can be incredibly painful and prevent victims from engaging in normal activities. In some cases, chest injuries can cause temporary and/or permanent disability, forcing an accident victim to suffer a loss of income and earnings. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can allow a car accident victim to recover compensation for a chest injury.
Damages that may be available to car accident chest injury victims include:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Anxiety and depression
- Embarrassment, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Experienced San Diego Car Accident Attorneys
Have you suffered a chest injury in a San Diego car accident? Call Injury Trial Lawyers, APC for help recovering the compensation you need and deserve. Our San Diego car accident attorneys have over 35 years of combined experience handling complex personal injury matters. We have successfully helped clients recover millions in damages for serious and life-threatening injuries, including those involving the chest.
Contact us to request a free consultation and learn more about how we can make sure that you are fairly compensated for your chest injury. You have a limited amount of time to act, so do not hesitate to call us today.