If you have been involved in a car accident caused by another driver's negligence, it may be tempting to brush off your injuries as a minor annoyance and try to move on with your life as quickly as possible. However, chest pain following a car crash may point to more serious injuries.
Causes of Chest Pain After a Car Accident
Soreness in the upper torso or a feeling of tightness throughout your chest could be the result of compression from your seat belt or hitting the steering wheel upon impact. Other conditions associated with car accident chest pain include:
- Bruised or fractured ribs: Fractured ribs are characterized by a sharp shooting pain in the chest. If the pain is dull and aching or comes and goes with physical activity, the ribs are more likely bruised, but in either case medical attention is absolutely required.
- Organ damage: Internal damage to the kidneys, lungs, liver, or spleen can cause chest pain. This type of chest pain may be accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, and a headache. Organ damage requires immediate medical attention, as this condition is potentially life-threatening.
- Internal bleeding: Chest pain accompanied by abdominal pain, skin color changes, and blood in the stool, urine, or vomit can suggest internal bleeding. Car accident victims can suffer from internal bleeding even if they have no visible cuts or lacerations on the skin.
- Heart attack: If the force from the accident places stress on the ligaments surrounding the heart, chest pain could be the sign of a heart attack. The risk of this complication is increased if the person already has a history of heart trouble.
The only way to know for sure what is causing your chest pain is to seek an evaluation from a qualified medical professional. After conducting a physical exam and taking a medical history, your doctor may order an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI to pinpoint the cause of your pain.
Seeking Compensation for Car Accident Chest Pain
To receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to car accident chest pain, you must be able to establish four elements that are necessary components of any personal injury claim:
- Duty of care: The defendant driver had a duty to operate his or her vehicle in a way that reduced the risk of harm to others.
- Breach of duty: The defendant driver was reckless and failed to follow reasonable safe driving practices.
- Injuries: The defendant driver's recklessness resulted in your injuries.
- Damages: You suffered specific monetary losses that you can prove with invoices, billing statements, or other forms of documentation, and/or you suffered emotional or physical injuries.
Proving the link between your injuries and the driver's recklessness is often the most challenging aspect of a personal injury claim. Chest pain can be attributed to a number of causes other than a car accident. To be eligible for compensation, you need to have medical records or doctor’s opinion stating that your chest pain is substantially contributed to by the car accident.
You are still entitled to receive compensation for your car accident expenses if you were determined to be partially at fault for the accident. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault to reflect your own financial responsibility for your injuries. For example, if you are dealing with just one defendant and one injured party, if you have $100,000 in medical expenses related to a car accident and are determined to be 40 percent at fault for the accident, you would only receive 60 percent of all the damages you might otherwise be entitled to for your injuries.
Inland Empire Law Group's experienced California personal injury attorneys can help you build a successful personal injury claim by assessing the worth of your case, locating evidence, gathering documentation of your expenses, and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. Call (888) 694-3529 to schedule an appointment at our Rancho Cucamonga or Victorville office locations.