Injuries to the chest and sternum are some of the most commonly reported car accident injuries. If you have been involved in a Los Angeles car accident and suffered an injury to your chest, you may be entitled to compensation. Hiring an attorney to handle your Los Angeles car accident claim will help you to maximize your financial award. Call Los Angeles personal accident lawyer Joshua W. Glotzer today to request a free consultation and learn more.
Car Accidents and Chest Injuries
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 80 percent of all car accident injuries affect either the chest or head. There are two primary factors that influence whether a driver will suffer a chest injury in a crash:
- The driver’s age, and
- The type of car accident.
Young Drivers vs. Old Drivers
Young drivers are much less likely than others to suffer a chest injury in a car accident. In fact, drivers between the ages of 16-24 report the least number of chest injuries after collisions. Older drivers, on the other hand, are at a much greater risk of suffering trauma and damage to the chest. Statistics show that the rate of chest injuries begins to increase significantly when drivers reach the age of 45. Drivers who are 65 and older, however, report the greatest number of chest injuries.
Type of Car Accident
Car accidents are classified by the NHTSA as either “rollover” or “non-rollover.” Non-rollover accidents can be further classified by where impact is made during the crash (front, right, left, rear).
Chest injuries are most frequently reported in the following types of crashes:
- Non-rollover, front damage
- Non-rollover, left damage, and
- Non-rollover, right damage.
Chest injuries are least likely to occur in non-rollover, rear damage accidents. However, drivers and passengers can still report serious chest injuries in any type of car accident.
Causes of Car Accident Chest Injuries
Car accidents frequently involve injuries to the chest. Why? There are a few different reasons that chest injuries are fairly common:
Airbags: Airbags are installed in passenger vehicles to protect passengers in the event of a crash. While airbags can keep passengers from being thrown into the dashboard or windshield, they can also cause significant damage. When airbags deploy, they are incredibly powerful. The force of an airbag can cause broken ribs, bruising, and internal organ damage. The chances of being injured by an airbag are greater for young children and the elderly.
Seat Belts: Seat belts are a mandatory piece of safety equipment in all passenger vehicles. However, these safety belts can pose a threat to a passenger’s safety. When the belts tighten, individuals can suffer bruising, lacerations, and trauma to the chest and abdomen.
Blunt Force Trauma: Car accidents can be very violent. When a passenger comes into contact with the side panel, windshield, roof, ground, or steering column, the chest may become damaged. Blunt force trauma can happen when objects are thrown into the vehicle or if a passenger is thrown from the car.
Other causes of chest injuries can include airborne glass, flying debris, and defective equipment.
Symptoms of a Chest Injury
Chest injuries can pose a serious threat to your health and safety. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Prompt treatment can help to ensure that you will not suffer from undiagnosed injuries or complications:
- Difficulty breathing
- Coughing blood
- Tenderness and swelling
- Limited mobility
- Chest pains
- Chest not fully expanding when inhaling, and
- Upper abdominal pain and tenderness.
Commonly Reported Car Accident Chest Injuries
A chest injury can be broadly defined to mean any damage to the chest, rib cage, or sternum. Certain chest injuries are reported more frequently than others.
Rib Cage Fractures
The ribs are a collection of long bones that form a protective barrier around many of your vital organs. When the ribs are broken in a car accident, your heart and lungs become vulnerable.
The ribs may fracture and turn inward, puncturing your internal organs or causing internal bleeding. In other situations, the ribs may simply fail to act as a protective barrier, allowing dangerous outside elements into the body. Debris, glass, and even dirt can become lodged in your chest and pose a serious threat to your health.
The rib cage exists because the ribs fuse with one central bone that runs down the center of your chest. This bone, called the sternum, ensure that your rib cage is rigid and strong. When the sternum becomes damaged, the rib cage cannot function properly. In some cases, the sternum may fracture and pose a direct threat to the heart and lungs. In other cases, the soft-tissue connection between the ribs and sternum can become damaged. These injuries can be incredibly painful and require months for recovery.
When blood circulates inside of the body, it is contained within the circulatory system. When you suffer a chest injury, it is possible to suffer from internal bleeding. When blood escapes the circulatory system, it can pose a serious threat to your health. Internal bleeding can result in rapid blood loss from vital organs, inflammation, and pain.
Spinal Cord Damage
Damage to the spinal cord is not a chest injury. However, significant damage to the chest can lead to a spinal cord injury. Indications of spinal cord injuries include limited mobility, difficulty speaking, and paralysis. Contact a medical professional immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Damages Available to Chest Injury Victims
If you have suffered a chest injury in a Los Angeles car accident you may be entitled to compensation. Attorney Joshua W. Glotzer will help you recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are paid to compensate accident victims for verifiable out-of-pocket costs related to an accident. Examples can include:
- Medical bills
- Travel expenses for medical treatment
- Nursing care
- Disability, and
- Lost wages.
Non-economic damages are paid to compensate accident victims for subject harms that are difficult to value. These can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement, and
Get Help Recovering the Money You Deserve
Suffering a chest injury can be devastating. In addition to suffering from tremendous physical pain, you may also become overwhelmed by financial and emotional stress. Filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover monetary damages can help to make this difficult time in your life more manageable.Hiring an attorney to handle your case will help to maximize any financial award you receive. Call Glotzer & Leib, LLP to request a free consultation.
Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys are prepared to help you get the money you deserve after an accident. The statute of limitations for chest injury claims is only two years, so do not hesitate to contact us today. We will review your case and answer any questions that you may have.