Chest pain after a car crash could indicate a minor injury. However, post-accident chest pain may also indicate something more serious or life-threatening, such as a punctured lung or heart attack. In the immediate aftermath of a crash, victims cannot tell whether they are badly hurt. Pain symptoms are often delayed due to shock and if injuries are internal, they are not visible.
Schmidt Kramer talks about common car crash injuries that cause chest pain and why you should not wait to seek immediate emergency medical care.
Need legal help after a serious crash you did not cause? You may be eligible to seek compensation for your medical costs, lost wages and other losses. Our Harrisburg car crash lawyers are highly qualified and ready to discuss your situation, answer your questions and provide the legal help you need.
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What Could Cause Chest Pain After a Car Crash?
Even a minor collision may cause an airbag to deploy. At impact, victims may get hit by the exploding airbag or thrust hard into the seat belt. The violent motion at impact is very likely to cause, at a minimum, bruising and soreness all over. Victims could also inhale cornstarch when the airbag deploys, which could cause shortness of breath.
Severe bruising and all-over soreness are very common after a crash. Having your body jolted around in a big hunk of metal is enough to do that. These may not be minor run-of-the-mill bruises, however. They could be the result of being slammed into your dashboard, steering wheel or some other hard structure inside your vehicle.
Blunt trauma injuries from a car crash could include:
- Broken blood vessels – the force of the impact can cause smaller veins and vessels to break
- Chest abrasions
- Chest muscle strain and sprain – this injury can be intensely painful
- A bruised or fractured sternum (the breastbone) or one or more fractured ribs
- Punctured lungs may result from a fractured rib and can be serious or fatal without treatment
- Pulmonary contusion (bruising to the lungs)
- Hematoma – a large pool of blood that accumulates under the skin due to trauma
- Injuries to your esophagus (where you swallow your food), diaphragm or trachea (windpipe)
- Bruising or blunt injury damage to the heart or aorta
Sometimes your chest pain after a crash may be a secondary issue to internal organ damage. Some internal organ injuries could cause a heart attack or increase the risk of one. For example, if you suffered:
- Collapsed lung
- Myocardial contusion (bruising of the heart muscle)
- Kidney damage
- Spleen injury
- Liver injury
What Symptoms May Indicate Your Chest Pain is a Serious Injury?
There are signs and symptoms that could indicate a severe chest injury. However, these symptoms may sometimes be delayed due to shock, and waiting to see a doctor could put your health at risk.
You should, however, discuss any symptoms with the doctor who examines you, including if you have:
- Bruising and tenderness on your chest, over your ribs or on your back
- Pain when you try to breathe in
- Crunching or cracking sounds you hear or feel under the skin
- Any trouble breathing
- Chest pain that gets worse when you laugh, sneeze or cough
It is critical to understand that chest pain injuries can quickly become life-threatening if not treated. Sometimes the stress of a car crash could bring on a heart attack.
What Should Crash Victims Do if They Experience Chest Pain After a Crash?
Go to the nearest emergency room. Do not ever try to tough it out or wait to see if it will go away on its own. Even if there is a chance your injury is minor, it is better to rule out anything that could be serious or even fatal. If your injury is severe, the longer you wait to get treated, the slimmer your chances are of making a full recovery.
ERs are fully equipped with both staff and equipment to diagnose any potential injuries you have. Doctors will likely order an MRI and CT Scan. It is the quickest and most accurate way to find out if your chest pain after a crash is something to worry about.
Even if you have no symptoms, getting examined by an ER doctor right away is a vital step to protecting your health. It also provides evidence that links your injuries to the crash. This documentation can help later if you decide to file a legal claim.
How Do Doctors Treat Chest Injuries?
The treatment you receive for a chest injury is dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Some chest injuries are minor, while others may be severe.
If your chest injury is painful but not life-threatening, you may be told to use a cold compress combined with over-the-counter pain relievers.
If you have a more serious chest injury, such as a collapsed lung, however, more significant treatment is required. The doctor will need to insert a chest tube or hollow needle in your lung’s pleural space. This allows the excess air to escape so you can breathe properly again. Even with that treatment, you will likely need additional oxygen treatment and even surgery to help you recover.
Schmidt Kramer is Ready to Help if You Suffer a Chest Injury in a Crash
Once your injuries are stabilized, calling an attorney is a good idea. Seeking legal help as soon as possible helps you avoid making mistakes that could hurt your ability to recover compensation.
Your attorney will fully investigate what happened and determine the liable party who caused your injury.
If you entrust Schmidt Kramer with your claim, we will protect your best interests and keep you informed about what is happening throughout the legal process. We are also prepared to speak with other third parties on your behalf, including the insurance company. There are no upfront costs to pay, and we only get paid for our services if we win your case.
Call to discuss your situation and find out what legal options you may have. We can take your call 24/7. (717) 727-1403