Chest pain is never a good sign, especially after a car accident. You may have suffered a serious injury in the crash, and ignoring the chest pain could lead to further health complications. Therefore, if you are experiencing chest pain after a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
Then, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer with Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. today for what steps to take next and whether or not you have the right to file a personal injury claim.
Is Chest Pain Normal After a Car Accident?
Chest pain can be a normal response after a car accident, as the body is trying to cope with the sudden change in environment. However, if you are experiencing severe chest pain accompanied by other symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention.
Causes of Chest Pain After a Car Accident
There are many potential causes for chest pain following a car accident. These may include:
Internal Organ Injuries
The chest cavity is home to many of the body’s internal organs. These include:
- Heart and lungs
- Spleen and liver
- Esophagus, stomach, small intestines, and large intestines (GI tract)
Any one or more of these organs can become injured in a car accident due to the sheer force of the crash. The organs can start to bleed or swell when this happens, leading to chest pains.
Bruising and Blunt Trauma
The chest area is especially vulnerable to bruising and blunt trauma in a car accident. The rib cage will often crack under the force of impact, leading to severe pain. Muscles can be bruised as well, which can cause pain when you take deep breaths or move your body.
Airbags deploy in the chest and face areas of vehicles. The force behind their deployment can lead to serious injuries, including broken ribs and blunt trauma around the face. This is especially true if there are existing medical conditions such as heart disease or weak bones causing osteoporosis.
Seat Belt Injuries
Seat belts are designed to protect passengers in the event of a car accident. However, if they are not worn properly or if there is an existing medical condition, they can cause injuries. One common injury is bruising and tearing of the flesh around the chest area from the seat belt buckle.
You may feel your chest muscles strain when you breathe after a car accident. Muscle strain is common in car accidents, as the muscles are not prepared for sudden jerking motions. It can lead to a number of symptoms, including chest pain and soreness when moving or taking deep breaths. In most cases, muscle strain will get better on its own with rest and over-the-counter pain medications.
Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Car accidents can be extremely traumatic events, and some people may experience psychological trauma in the aftermath. This can manifest itself in the form of chest pain, especially if you were driving at the time of the crash. This may be accompanied by shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat, as well as fatigue and mood swings.
Psychological trauma can be just as painful and debilitating as physical injuries. If you are experiencing chest pain that is not accompanied by other symptoms or an injury diagnosis, speak with your doctor about a referral to a psychiatrist.
Anxiety and PTSD can develop soon after a car accident or months later. They often get better with time but could become chronic if left untreated.
Common Chest Injuries After Car Accidents
Many types of chest injuries can occur from car accidents. These may include:
Broken ribs are the most common cause of post-car accident chest pain, according to studies. A fractured rib can occur when you experience blunt force trauma during the collision, such as getting hit by an airbag or the steering wheel. The injury could also occur as a result of whiplash or if you hit your chest on the dashboard.
The organs in your chest cavity can be damaged or injured during a car accident. The most common injuries to the heart and lungs are contusions, which occur when blood vessels in the area are torn by blunt force trauma.
If you are experiencing chest pain following an auto accident and have not yet been diagnosed with an injury, internal organ damage is possible if:
- The pain does not lessen over time;
- You feel pressure in your chest that radiates into your arms or jaw;
- You experience shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or a rapid heart rate;
- You vomit blood or have black stools.
The sternum, or breastbone, is a thin bone that sits in the middle of the chest. It can easily be bruised during a car accident when it takes blunt force trauma. This can cause pain in the center of your chest that lasts for several days.
How Long Does a Chest Injury Take to Heal?
The time it takes to heal from a chest injury varies based on the severity and type of the injury. Minor rib fractures, for example, can take between four and six weeks to heal. However, a severe chest injury may require surgery or other medical treatment that could prolong recovery.
Post-Car Accident Chest Pain Treatment
Chest pain may require different treatment options depending on the cause and severity of your injury. Some examples include:
- Pain medication
- Physical therapy to help you breathe properly again, especially if you have broken ribs
- Surgery to repair internal organ damage or fractures
- Psychological counseling
It is important to seek immediate medical attention and follow your doctor’s instructions for treatment if you are experiencing chest pain after a motor vehicle accident. Ignoring the pain could lead to further health complications.
What Should I Do If I Have Chest Pain After a Car Accident?
If you are experiencing chest pain after a car crash, seek medical attention immediately. Do not try to self-diagnose the injury or treat it yourself. Chest pain can signify many different types of injuries, some of which may be life-threatening. Your doctor will diagnose the injury and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Seek Legal Representation From an Auto Accident Lawyer
Seek legal advice as soon as possible, as you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
A car accident attorney can help you file a claim and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. If the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement, the personal injury lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
What Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Can Do For You
The Washington, D.C. car accident lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have a proven track record of success helping clients obtain the maximum compensation possible for injuries they have suffered due to the negligence of others. Our firm has consistently demonstrated we have the expertise needed to help our clients see that justice is served. We have the resources needed to conduct thorough investigations of all the circumstances contributing to a motor vehicle accident, gathering the evidence to establish liability and negligence.
Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has achieved more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements, and our attorneys have more than a century of combined legal experience. Two of our partners are certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our firm has also earned the highest AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, one of the most respected attorney-ranking service organizations in the United States. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. attorneys work passionately on behalf of our clients to help them secure fair compensation – there is no type of case that is too complex for us to litigate.
Determining the Value of Your Case
Many factors go into determining the value of your case. These include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our attorneys have experience evaluating cases just like yours to determine what they may be worth and will work hard to get you fair compensation for your injuries.
Here are a few of our case results:
- $6 million for a client who suffered a brain injury after being involved in a rear-end collision.
- $4.8 million for a severely injured client after another vehicle struck his motorcycle.
- $1.9 million for a client who suffered a permanent back injury due to a car accident.
- $1.5 million for a client who had to undergo multiple surgeries after a negligent motorist cut off his motorcycle.
- $1 million settlement obtained on behalf of our 19-year-old client who was a passenger in a car in which the driver lost control, causing a collision. As a result, our client suffered extensive brain damage with cognitive impairment. He was in a coma for an extended period of time. Although he has regained consciousness, he is unable to care for himself. The law firm asked the Court to appoint him a guardian to care for him. The law firm is helping to establish a special needs trust so that the proceeds from the settlement will be protected against any medical liens.
- $1 million settlement on behalf of a client that suffered a brain injury when the driver of the car in which he was a passenger lost control of his vehicle.
Contact an Accident Lawyer Today
If you are looking for the highest level representation available for your personal injury case, turn to Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Our firm has helped clients recover more than $500 million in compensation, and we have more than 100 years of combined experience. All of our partners are recognized by Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers®, and our firm includes three past presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
We work to help our clients obtain fair settlement offers to compensate them for the injuries they’ve suffered, but our attorneys are extremely well-equipped to go to trial if needed. Call (202) 659-8600 or contact us online to get the proven legal representation you deserve.