Chest pain after an accident should never be ignored, regardless of how minor the pain seems. Even if you only experience slight pain when sneezing, coughing, or breathing deeply, your condition could deteriorate with time. Chest pain may be a sign of internal organ damage and should always be evaluated by a doctor.
Common Car Accident Chest Injuries
It can be hard to differentiate between bruised and broken ribs without a thorough medical evaluation. The two injuries share vary similar symptoms, including:
- Pain when laughing, coughing, or sneezing
- Tenderness in the areas surrounding the bruise
- Muscle spasms or twitches
A bruised rib can be extremely painful. Thankfully, most bruised ribs heal within three to six weeks.
Fractured ribs can result in sharp, shooting pain and discomfort. In many instances, a fractured rib is just a crack or hairline fracture without any major movement of the bone. However, in more severe injuries, the jagged edge of a broken rib can move to puncture a blood vessel, lung, liver, kidney, or spleen. These severe injuries typical require surgery to correct. Most broken ribs take an average of six weeks to fully heal.
The diaphragm is a muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. The muscle is credited with playing a crucial role in respiration, but the diaphragm also plays a role in bowel movements, birth, swallowing, coughing, urinating, and throwing up. Blunt force trauma can perforate the diaphragm, which results in serious pain and injury. A diaphragmatic rupture is almost always associated with herniation of abdominal organs. The herniation can interfere with breathing and blood supply, which causes cell death in the affected organs. In cases of herniation, injuries can be fatal.
The sternum can be fractured when the chest strikes the steering wheel or dashboard. Breathing becomes incredibly painful with a fractured sternum being that it no longer moves properly with the rib cage when breathing. Because the sternum protects the heart and lungs, injuries to the heart and lungs are commonly associated with a broken sternum.
Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the break, but the most common form of treatment is rest with the application of cold ice packs for swelling and pain. On average, fractured sternums take ten and a half weeks to heal.
Muscle strains are typically the least painful of the most common types of chest injuries. Pain is often dull and aching and the stains in themselves aren’t life threatening. Still, it’s important to seek medical attention for your injuries. It’s best to have confirmation that a more serious injury hasn’t occurred.
The Role Of Seat Belts & Air Bags In Chest Injuries
There is no denying that seat belts save lives and they should always be worn while a car is in motion. Likewise, properly functioning air bags can mean the difference between life and death in a crash. However, it is possible for a seat belt or air bag to be the cause of chest injuries. Often the force applied by the impact of another car is counteracted by the seat belt or air bag.
The sudden collision of the body against the belt or bag can lead to chest bruising, sternum fractures, abrasions, and internal injuries. If a seat belt was the cause of your injuries, early symptoms would manifest in the form of tenderness or bruising where the belt or bag made contact with the chest. In violent crashes, belt marks may be visible across the chest and abdomen, which may indicate serious injuries.
Diagnosing Chest Injuries After An Accident
Your doctor will likely want to perform an imaging test to determine whether or not bones are broken or there is internal damage. If you’ve sustained a chest injury in a Glendale car accident, then there are a number of local hospitals and physicians that can provide prompt medical attention.
Glendale Hospitals & Physicians
1812 Verdugo Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91208
1420 South Central Ave.
Glendale, CA 91204
1000 North Central Ave. #140
Glendale, CA 91202
Megeredchian Law Offers Legal Help For Injured Car Accident Victims
While prompt medical treatment for your injuries is of the utmost importance, receiving legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney is equally important. Insurance companies don’t always act in your best interest and many will use tactics to reduce or deny your accident claim. An attorney can help you determine the full value of your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Megeredchian Law has an illustrious track record for earning California accident victims just compensation. In fact, we settle cases with a 99% success rate, which is far higher than many personal injury firms. Our attorneys can investigate your accident to build you a winning case. Contact Megeredchian Law today to schedule a free initial consultation.