Chest Injuries After a Car Accident
Have you suffered a chest injury after a car accident in Mobile, AL? If the accident was caused by another party, either due to negligence or intent, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.
The experienced Mobile car accident attorneys at Lattof & Lattof, P.C., have the resources, knowledge, and experience to fight for maximum compensation.
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How Will Lattof & Lattof, P.C. Help Me Following a Chest Injury in a Car Accident?
Lattof & Lattof, P.C. is a family-run personal injury firm with a national reputation of experience and results. Over the years, we have represented more than 10,000 clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims – securing countless positive outcomes along the way.
If you’ve been injured in an Alabama auto accident, we’ll fight to do the same for you. When you hire our Mobile personal injury lawyers for help, you can expect us to:
- Provide the support and guidance you need during this difficult time
- Investigate the circumstances of your crash
- Determine causation and liability, and then pursue damages from all who share blame
- Defend claims that you share blame for your chest injury
- Defend claims that your chest injury pre-dated your car accident
- Consult with leading medical professionals and vocational specialists as we determine what your car accident chest injury case is worth
We’ll do everything in our power to negotiate a meaningful settlement on your behalf. However, we’ll be ready to go to trial, if necessary.
If you have suffered a chest injury in an Mobile, AL car accident, contact our firm today to learn how we can help you get the maximum compensation you deserve. All consultations are free, and we are only paid if we recover money for you.
What is a Chest Injury?
Thoracic trauma is the medical term for a chest injury. Chest injuries, including both blunt trauma and penetrating trauma, account for about 25% of trauma-related deaths in the U.S. According to one report, the mortality rate in patients with blunt chest trauma can be as high as 60%. Although airbags can save lives, they also can cause serious chest injuries. Chest injuries are potentially serious or fatal injuries for several reasons:
- They pose a threat to the airway (trachea), breathing, and circulation
- They pose a threat to the kidneys if the injury is to the back of the chest
- They pose a threat to the liver or spleen, if the injury is to the side of the chest
- Trauma to the heart can affect circulation by interrupting the heart’s ability to pump blood
- Pulmonary contusions can lead to pneumonia.
It’s essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible following a chest injury. You need hospitalization, oxygen, intravenous fluids, or blood transfusions. Only a doctor can evaluate your symptoms and decide if you need additional diagnostics or follow up care.
Factors That Influence the Risk of Suffering a Chest injury in a Car Accident
Some of the factors that can influence your risk of sustaining a chest injury include:
All age ranges are at risk for chest trauma. However, as people age, they are more likely to develop underlying conditions that can affect the body’s ability to handle trauma and lengthen a recovery period. In elderly individuals, each additional rib fracture increases the odds of dying by 19% and of developing pneumonia by 27%.
Type of Crash and Speed
Chest injuries have the potential to occur in any accident scenario, but are most common in head-on collisions, rollover accidents, right side-impact, and left side-impact collisions. Generally, the faster vehicles are traveling when they collide, the more substantial the damage, and the more serious the injuries.
Where You’re Sitting in the Car
The rear seat area of a vehicle is drastically different from the front seat area of a vehicle. Chest injuries are most common in front seat occupants, who are injured either by the steering wheel or deploying airbags. Elderly front seat occupants have a high prevalence of rib fractures. While rear seat occupants do not have the protections offered by seat belts and airbags, they may be spared potential trauma associated with these safety devices.
Types of Chest Injuries Caused By a Car Accident
The term “chest injury’ refers to different types of trauma, some of which are potentially life-threatening. Occupants of a motor vehicle may suffer any of the following types of chest injuries in a car accident:
Fractured, Broken, or Bruised Ribs
The rib cage is the group of curved bones that protect the heart and lungs inside the chest cavity. When ribs are broken, vital organs can be exposed, causing significant damage. Broken ribs can be extremely uncomfortable, causing even breathing or sneezing to be extremely painful. If more than three ribs are broken, the patient may be hospitalized.
The sternum is a vertical bone (runs parallel to your spine) that connects your collarbones and upper ribs. It protects critical organs and your spinal column from injury. When the sternum is fractured, you are susceptible to other serious injuries such as lung and heart contusions, broken ribs, and soft tissue injuries to the heart, lungs, and diaphragm. Treatment may include surgery and extended bed rest.
The aorta is the first vessel coming off of the heart and the main artery of the body. A serious car accident can cause the aorta to rupture, releasing a large amount of blood into the internal body cavity. This internal bleeding can quickly be fatal, and is a reason patients die on the way to the hospital. An aortic rupture is a concern with blunt trauma, especially if patients have multiple rib fractures.
Internal Organ Damage
Forceful blows to the chest can injure the heart, lungs, trachea, liver, spleen, or kidneys. While these injuries may heal on their own, medical care and follow-up care are essential to ensure injuries are healing properly.
When a chest muscle is stretched or torn, a muscle strain can cause sudden, sharp pain. Muscle strains from car accidents will be categorized as acute. A complete muscle rupture may require surgery. Chest scans like X-rays, EKGs, or MRIs may be used to rule out a heart attack or internal bleeding.
The diaphragm is the muscle that helps you breathe, most of the time, involuntarily. A rupture to the diaphragm can cause severe respiratory distress and difficulty breathing. An injury can be penetrating or blunt trauma. Motor vehicle crashes account for about 90% of blunt trauma diaphragm ruptures.
A broken rib in a car accident can puncture a lung. A chest can also be punctured by a vehicle part, such as the steering column, or unsecured cargo in a vehicle. A puncture can cause spontaneous pneumothorax, a sudden, collapsed lung. This can develop abruptly and can be life-threatening.
After any type of chest injury due to another person’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions, an experienced chest injury attorney can help you understand your rights and seek financial compensation for your injuries.
Symptoms of a Chest Injury After a Car Accident
Chest injury symptoms may be mistaken for a panic attack or a heart attack, and sometimes, symptoms of a chest injury may not show up immediately after an accident. If you feel any of the following symptoms after an accident, seek medical treatment as soon as possible:
- Chest pain
- Pain that increases with deep breathing, laughing, coughing, or sneezing
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling or bruising in the chest area.
Although some chest injuries may heal on their own with rest, seeking medical attention immediately is important to rule out life-threatening conditions. If you will be pursuing a personal injury claim, your medical treatment record will be an important part of your claim. If you suspect a chest injury or any serious injury, do not delay in getting to a doctor or hospital after an accident.
Causes of Chest Injuries in a Car Accident
Chest injuries in a car accident are unique in that they may be caused by seat belts or airbags, two of the biggest safety devices in a vehicle. However, experts agree that the benefits of seatbelts and airbags outweigh the risk. Some of the ways a chest injury can occur in an accident include:
- A seatbelt tightening on the chest during a crash
- Airbags deploying in a car accident
- Projectiles from a defective airbag
- The chest striking the steering wheel, dashboard, door, or another part of a vehicle.
If your chest injury or a loved one’s chest injury in a car accident is caused by another driver, contact the Mobile car accident attorneys at Lattof & Lattof, P.C. to discuss your rights in a personal injury claim.
Damages Available to Chest Injury Victims in Alabama
In Alabama, car accident victims who have been injured due to the negligence of another driver may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical expenses: Emergency treatment, hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, prescription medication, and medical treatment
- Lost earnings: If you are unable to go to work because of your injuries, the negligent party may be liable for your lost wages and any loss of earning capacity, if you’re unable to work going forward.
- Pain and suffering: Non-economic damages may compensate you for your physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional distress.
Damages are negotiated during a settlement or awarded by a jury at trial. Because chest injuries are extremely painful and potentially very serious, compensation may be substantial. An experienced Mobile chest injury attorney can help you maximize the value of your case and obtain the fair compensation you are entitled to.
Contact Our Mobile Car Accident Attorneys For Help Today
Alabama has strict time limits on personal injury claims, called a statute of limitations. You can ensure you do not risk being barred from recovering compensation by filing all claims within appropriate deadlines.
The Mobile personal injury lawyers at Lattof & Lattof, P.C. level the playing field for victims of accidents. We have helped our clients recover millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements. We hold individuals, corporations, and insurance companies accountable and see to it that our clients recover the fair compensation they deserve. If you have suffered a chest injury in an Alabama car accident, contact us to see if you have a case. As part of our contingency fee arrangement, we are only paid if, and when, we recover money for you.