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Chest Injuries
After a Car Accident

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Chest Injuries After a Car Accident

Passenger wearing seatbeltHave you recently been involved in a car accident in which you sustained a chest injury? You may be entitled to recover compensation from the person who is responsible for causing your accident.

Contact Citywide Law Group to find out how we can help you maximize the amount of money you are awarded. Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys know how serious a chest injury can be and will fight to make sure that you are fairly compensated for the harm you have suffered. Call today to request a free consultation.

Prevalence of Chest Injuries in Car Accidents

Nearly 80 percent of all serious car accident injuries affect either the head or the chest. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), older drivers are at a greater risk of suffering a chest injury than other car accident victims. The chances of a driver sustaining a chest injury in an accident depend on the type of crash and the driver’s age:

Rollover Accidents

  • Drivers aged 16-24: 27.4% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 25-44: 21.3% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 45-64: 33.8% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 65 and older: 55.6% report chest injuries.

Non-Rollover, Frontal Damage

  • Drivers aged 16-24: 21.1% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 25-44: 39.5% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 45-64: 39.1% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 65 and older: 35.8% report chest injuries.

Non-Rollover, Right-Side Damage

  • Drivers aged 16-24: 16.5% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 25-44: 20.5% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 45-64: 29.8% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 65 and older: 51.8% report chest injuries.

Non-Rollover, Left-Side Damage

  • Drivers aged 16-24: 27.8% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 25-44: 17% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 45-64: 45% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 65 and older: 50.3% report chest injuries.

Non-Rollover, Rear Damage

  • Drivers aged 16-24: 1.0% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 25-44: 21.3% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 45-64: 33.8% report chest injuries
  • Drivers aged 65 and older: 15.7% report chest injuries.

Causes of Car Accident Chest Injuries

Car accident chest injuries can be caused for a variety of reasons. According to the NHTSA, the leading causes of chest injuries include contact with the:

  • Roof/Top
  • Ground
  • Flying glass
  • Seat belts
  • Airbags
  • Windshield
  • Seat back
  • Steering wheel, and
  • The left panel of the car.

Seat Belts and Chest Injuries

Seat belts significantly reduce the chances of suffering a fatal injury in a car accident. However, seat belts can also pose a risk to passengers involved in a crash. When a car’s momentum suddenly changes, seat belts automatically tighten to restrain a passenger. However, this tightening can cause injuries to the chest.

Commonly reported chest injuries caused by seat belts include:

  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Bruising
  • Fractured ribs
  • Sternum fractures
  • Internal organ damage, and
  • Internal bleeding.

Since seatbelts frequently restrain a passenger across the chest and abdomen, injuries to the stomach and intestines can also occur.

Chest, Rib, and Sternum Fractures

Car accidents can cause victims to suffer painful fractures to the chest, including the ribs and sternum.

Rib Cage Injuries

The ribs are a collection of long, curved bones that protect vital organs in the chest. When a rib becomes fractured, the organs become vulnerable. The broken ribs can pierce the internal organs, compromising their ability to function and causing massive internal bleeding. When ribs become fractured, the internal organs may also become exposed to dangerous outside elements.

Sternum Injuries

The sternum is a long, flat bone running down the center of the chest, connecting the ribcage. The sternum is responsible for protecting the heart and lungs from injury. When the sternum becomes fractured, some of our most vital organs are placed in harm’s way. When broken, the sternum can puncture the organs, send debris into our chest cavity, and/or expose the organs to external dangers.

Sternum injuries will not always include broken bones. The sternum and ribs are connected by soft tissue and cartilage, both of which can become damaged in an accident. These types of chest injuries can take months to heal and can be incredibly painful.

Symptoms of Chest Injuries

While some chest injuries may be immediately noticeable, others may not be detected right away. If you suffer any of the following symptoms after a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately:

  • Chest pains
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Painful breaths
  • Coughing up blood
  • Upper abdomen pain (near the liver or spleen)
  • Tender ribs, and
  • Chest cavity not fully expanding when taking a breath.

Some chest injuries can be so severe that they can cause damage to the spinal cord. If you have any difficulty moving, breathing, or speaking, it is important to contact a medical professional immediately.

Compensation Available for Chest Injury Victims

In California, car accident victims are generally entitled to recover economic and non-economic damages for their injuries. If you have suffered a chest injury in an accident, these damages can help to compensate for:

  • Medical bills
  • Disability
  • Lost wages
  • Transportation
  • Chronic pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Disfigurement and scarring, and
  • Loss of sexual relations.

What Should I Do If I’ve Suffered a Chest Injury in a Car Accident?

The decisions you make immediately after a car accident will affect any future legal claims you decide to pursue. Keeping these suggestions in mind after an accident will help to keep you safe and strengthen your legal arguments.

See a Doctor

Chest injuries, if left untreated, can be life-threatening. It is crucial to seek prompt medical attention after an accident. The medical professional will make sure that all of your injuries are properly diagnosed and treated right away. Your attorney will use the information gathered by your doctor to establish a relationship between the accident and your injuries.

Gather Evidence

The more information you have about your injury and its cause, the stronger your personal injury claim will be. Take photographs of the scene of the crash and your injuries. Write down your recollection of the accident. Speak with anyone who witnessed the accident and gather their contact information. The more your attorney has to work with, the better your chances of maximizing the compensation you receive.

Reject Early Offers

Insurance companies may be eager to negotiate a settlement with you after an accident. Chest injuries can rack up expensive medical bills, limit your ability to work, and saddle you with chronic pain. The lowball offers that you receive immediately after an accident will not be enough to cover these (and other) costs related to your injury. Resist the temptation to take an early offer and direct all communication to your attorney.

Call a Car Accident Attorney

Hiring an attorney is the single best thing you can do if you have suffered a serious chest injury in a Los Angeles car accident. This will level the playing field and take away any advantage the insurance company may have had.

Experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys

Have you suffered a chest injury in a Los Angeles car accident? Call Citywide Law Group to find out how our personal injury lawyers can help you make the most of your claim for damages.

Our car accident attorneys have over 17 years of experience handling complex legal matters. During this time, we have successfully recovered millions in damages for our clients who have suffered from a wide range of trauma, including chest injuries.

We know how important a financial award can be, and we will fight to make sure that you are fairly compensated for your severe chest injury. You only have two years to file a claim for damages, so do not hesitate to call us today to request a free consultation.