Chest injuries can be painful and cause long-term impairments. People often sustain chest injuries in automobile accidents, but that is not the only cause of these injuries.
If you sustained a chest injury in a car accident or other personal injury incident, these are the things you need to know about a personal injury claim.
How Do Chest Injuries Happen?
Chest injuries can be categorized in several ways. Three of the common ways chest injuries occur are:
Blunt Force Trauma
Blunt force trauma occurs when an object impacts the body. It could be an object slamming into the chest or the chest being propelled and slammed into the object. Car accidents are common causes of blunt force trauma injuries.
A flying object could hit you when you are involved in a car accident. Also, your body could be slammed into the door frame, steering wheel, window, or dashboard. Even the seatbelt suddenly tightening and being hit by the airbag during a crash could cause a blunt-force chest injury.
The result could be fractured ribs, collapsed lungs, broken ribs, and internal bleeding.
Penetrating trauma occurs when an object enters the body through the skin. The object can enter the thorax (the medical term for your chest) anywhere between your neck and abdomen.
In addition to the penetrating object causing broken ribs, the object could puncture any of the organs in the chest cavity. A penetrating chest injury could result in massive internal bleeding. Because an object penetrates the soft tissues, there is a risk of infection from the puncture wound.
A crushing injury occurs when the chest is caught between two objects or a weight presses down on the chest. The crushing injury has the same impact and can cause the same damage as blunt force trauma. However, the person could suffocate when their chest is crushed.
What Are Common Causes of Chest Injuries?
Many different incidents can cause a chest injury.
Common causes of unintentional chest injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Workplace accidents
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Construction accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Boating accidents
- Defective products
Chest injuries may also be caused by intentional acts. For example, nursing home abuse can result in a chest injury. In addition, violent acts, including assault and gunshot wounds, can cause injuries to the chest.
What Types of Chest Injuries Can Occur?
A chest injury might be mild. For example, chest injuries after a car accident might be limited to some bruising and mild chest pains from the seat belt and hitting the steering wheel.
However, a person might have suffered a chest injury in a car crash that becomes life-threatening because of internal bleeding. It could be difficult to know if you sustained a severe injury without a medical exam.
Common chest injuries people sustain in accidents and other personal injury incidents include:
- Bruising and soreness
- Fractured or broken ribs
- Ruptured aorta, cardiac tamponade, and other injuries to the heart
- Collapsed lung (pneumothorax)
- Internal bleeding
- Ruptured diaphragm
- Soft tissue injuries and muscle strains
- Injuries to the trachea or esophagus
- Flail chest
A doctor will review your symptoms and perform one or more diagnostic tests to determine the severity of the chest injury. The doctor might order an MRI, chest x-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan to diagnose the chest wound.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Chest Injury?
Because everyone responds to trauma differently and injuries present different symptoms, it is always best to seek medical attention immediately after an injury.
Symptoms and signs that you could be suffering from a chest injury include, but are not limited to:
- Pain from any areas of the chest cavity
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain that becomes worse when you breathe or cough
- Discoloration and/or bruising
- Pain shooting up or down from your chest and/or along your arms and legs
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Any change, even the slightest pain, could indicate that you sustained a chest injury. Immediate medical attention could be required to prevent death or permanent impairment.
Chest injuries can have long-term consequences that include:
- Respiratory failure
- Chronic pain
- Loss of bodily functions
- Heart damage
- Long-term pulmonary conditions
- Pleural sepsis
- Wrongful death
Treatment for chest injuries can be expensive. The long-term costs for permanent impairments can total millions of dollars over a person’s lifetime. Determining how much a chest injury claim is worth can be challenging if you do not have the help of an experienced Lexington chest injury lawyer.
How Much Is My Chest Injury Claim Worth?
Most personal injury victims can recover compensation for their physical injuries, financial losses, and other damages. The damages include non-economic and economic damages.
The types of damages you could receive for a chest injury claim include the following:
- The cost of your medical treatment and care, including physical therapy and rehabilitation
- The cost of personal care and assistance with household chores
- Out-of-pocket expenses and costs
- Long-term and in-home nursing care
- Loss of income, wages, and benefits, including a decrease in future earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- A decrease in your quality of life
How much your chest injury claim is worth depends on the factors and circumstances of your case. The severity of your injuries and your total financial losses are significant factors. In addition, the strength of your evidence proving causation and fault are crucial factors for winning a personal injury case.
You have the burden of proving that the other party caused your injuries. Most chest injury claims are based on negligence or intentional torts.
Therefore, you would need to prove that the other party owed you a duty of care and breached the duty of care. Then, you must prove that the party’s conduct was the cause of your chest injury and that you sustained damages.
The other party may raise one or more defenses, including contributory fault or failure to mitigate damages. Both defenses are designed to decrease the amount you receive in your personal injury claim. We are prepared for these tactics and will fight back with evidence to prove that you were not at fault and took reasonable steps to avoid unnecessary damages.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Lexington Personal Injury Lawyers If You’ve Sustained a Chest Injury
A chest injury can have long-term consequences for your health and your life. Contact or call our law office at (859) 550-2900 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Lexington personal injury attorney. The legal team at Minner Vines Moncus Injury Lawyers will work to get you the money you need after sustaining a devastating chest injury.