Vehicle crashes and accidents tend to bring up images of whiplash, broken bones, and various cuts and bruises. Some injuries that aren’t brought up as much and are just as common, however, are injuries to the chest. These injuries can occur during a crash from airbags, seatbelts, or from hitting the dashboard or steering wheel during a collision. Trauma to the chest can result in a variety of serious injuries and complications.
Injuries to the chest can occur in both high-speed and low-speed car accidents. Because an airbag may not deploy in a low-speed accident, a seatbelt might not offer enough protection to prevent a driver or passenger from hitting the steering wheel or dashboard. In other situations, an airbag may be defective and cause injury while deploying or, worse, not deploy at all.
Common chest injuries from vehicle crashes
Physical and blunt trauma to the chest can cause a variety of different injuries, some of which can be life-threatening if not attended to immediately. These can include:
- Chest contusions. Blunt force trauma to the chest can cause contusions to the sternum or heart, causing discomfort and pain. If this pain continues or causes discomfort while breathing, you should seek medical attention.
- Fractured and broken ribs. Injuries to the ribs are typically immediately noticeable, as they cause a lot of pain. Bruised ribs may cause a dull, aching pain, but broken or fractured ribs can cause a sharp pain that may impede a person’s breathing. If you suspect broken ribs after a car crash, see a doctor immediately, as complications from these injuries can include development of pneumonia, or even a punctured organ.
- Injuries to internal organs. Injury to the chest can also cause internal injuries. Because many internal injuries do not symptomize until later, often after the damage is done, it is crucial to have a doctor’s examination after any serious car crash.
- Pulled and torn chest muscles. The impact of a collision paired with involuntary contraction of muscles can cause soft tissue tears and injuries to the chest. These muscle injuries can cause sharp or dull pain and discomfort. If you are having discomfort while breathing, seek out medical care.
- Punctured lung. A broken rib or other injury to the chest can cause a punctured lung, symptoms of which include shortness of breath, pain, and difficulty breathing. This can be a life-threatening condition and requires immediate medical treatment.
One issue unique to serious injuries is that often, victims feel an initial surge of adrenaline that can mask pain and trick them into believing they are not badly injured. However, hours or even days later, they may show sudden signs of catastrophic injury. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, especially to the chest area, seek medical attention as soon as possible – even if you feel fine. If you are having trouble breathing or are experiencing chest pain, get to urgent care.
After you have received medical treatment, document your medical visits. In the event you choose to file a personal injury claim against the negligent party who caused the accident that resulted in your injuries, these records will help your case.
The Sevierville personal injury lawyers at Delius & McKenzie, PLLC help victims of car crashes secure the compensation they need to heal from their injuries. For help with any accident case, call 865-428-8780 or complete our contact form to make an appointment. We represent injury victims in Sevierville, Seymour, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the surrounding Tennessee areas.