March 20, 2021
Dealing With Chest Injuries After a Car Accident
Experiencing chest pain after a car accident is a cause for concern. While the pain may be minimal and the result of simple bruising or muscle strain, it could also be a symptom of more serious injuries like fractured ribs or damage to the internal organs.
Even minor motor vehicle collisions can induce chest trauma. When left undiagnosed, these minor injuries could lead to major problems. No matter how negligible the pain may seem, seek immediate medical attention.
Recognizing a Chest Injury
Chest contusions and injuries do not typically show any outward physical symptoms. While they may be caused by external impact, it seldom damages the skin, leaving no trace of an injury. However, the lack of physical signs does not mean there is no internal damage to the tissues and blood vessels. In addition to chest pain (minor or otherwise), trouble breathing after a car accident is usually a telltale sign of a serious chest contusion.
This simple symptom could cost you, at best, a week of rest or, at worst, a lifetime of pain. It’s crucial you see a doctor so you can avoid the worst-case scenario.
Expected Injuries and Symptoms
Considered as the body’s most vulnerable part, the chest is home to vital organs. Enclosed in the ribcage are the heart, lungs, diaphragm, trachea, kidney, and liver. The bones are there to keep them safe as you go about your daily life.
But what happens if you get hit in the chest hard? A blunt or penetrating blow to the chest during a car accident can break it. The severity of chest contusions is that they are usually directly proportional to the intensity of the impact. Listed down below are the common types of chest injuries and their symptoms.
- Sternum damage – Also known as the breast bone, the sternum is a flat structure covering the centre of the chest and connected to the ribcage is usually tough. It does not easily break, but a hard enough blow to the sternum could damage the said organs.
- Myocardial contusion – This type of contusion is characterized by a cardiac bruise. Severely damaging the heart’s muscle tissues and motor nerves, this injury could lead to cardiac arrest.
- Tracheal injury – Made of cartilage rings, the trachea serves as the air passageway between your nose and lungs. Damage to the trachea could gravely rob the lungs of the oxygen it needs. This could lead to difficulty breathing and ultimately suffocation.
- Pulmonary contusion – This refers to the bruising of the pulmonary pathway. When a strong blow is inflicted on your lungs, this could lead to the breaking of the blood vessels and the leakage of fluids. In more severe cases, this can result in frank pulmonary oedema.
- Spleen Injury – For pains and complications on the lower side of the chest this would usually mean damage to the spleen. Located on the upper left of the stomach, this fist-sized organ plays a crucial role in producing WBCs (white blood cells) and platelets.
- Punctured Lungs – A punctured lung is akin to a balloon pricked by a needle. The smallest puncture could cause the lungs to collapse and stop functioning.
Upon experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. But, how do you know if a chest injury is serious? After a car accident, whether the trauma is mild, moderate, or severe, the first thing to do is to listen to your body. Be observant of any unusual pains and manifestations, whether it’s chest pain, bloody cough, pale skin, nausea, or extreme thirst.
Fortunately, chest examinations are fairly pain-free and are not invasive. Once in the hospital, you can expect to undergo an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, and ultrasound. However, should the doctors find anything amiss, the treatment for your chest injuries, particularly severe contusions, may involve surgery.
Causes of Chest Injuries During an Accident
Tracing back the specific factor that caused your injury is virtually impossible. However, with thorough research and investigation, forensic scientists have pinpointed the reasons for these injuries, which are ironically the very things kept in place to maintain safety, like seatbelts.
Generally caused by a strong impact force, seatbelts and airbags are the primary culprits of chest contusion. They are generally there to keep you safe from injuries but low-quality materials and poorly designed safety equipment could cause more harm than good. Steering wheels that are too close to the chest are also a cause for concern. Maintaining a safe distance between the wheel and your body is a good way to prevent chest injuries during head-on collisions.
Car Accident Protocol
Whether you are a witness, the victim, or the offender, the main thing to do is to keep calm. We understand that it may be a stressful situation, but panicking will only worsen and slow down medical and legal aid. To expedite these processes, here are a few things you can do.
- Seek emergency care. The first thing to do is call an ambulance and seek medical help. If you are capable, you can perform first-aid on yourself or the victims.
- Call the police to procure an accident report. This can be used in court should both parties file a suit. By calling the police, they can also help in clearing the road and analyzing the situation to determine the party at fault.
Accidents happen. No matter how hard people try to create patterns and order, mishaps and mistakes are bound to occur. The only surefire way to deal with these situations is to be prepared and to know how to react and respond during an emergency.
However, not all emergency cases are visible or obvious. Chest injuries and contusions, while life-threatening, can fly under the radar when left unchecked. With early diagnosis, complications, fatalities, and financial burden can be circumvented.
Just as you need to turn to a reliable medical expert for your injuries, so too should you rely on a trusted personal injury law firm for legal matters relating to vehicular accidents. Get in touch with Michelle Linka Law. We are ready to assist you so you can get the fair compensation that you deserve. We can help drivers with motor vehicle accidents and pedestrian accidents. Call us now for a free consultation at (416) 477-7288.