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Chest Injuries in Auto Accidents and California Case Values

Any kind of chest pain after an accident should raise a huge red flag. That’s why accident victims need to get to an emergency room right away after an accident. The best way of doing that is to get to that emergency room by ambulance with paramedics, especially if there are any signs at all of serious trouble. That chest pain might be a sign of a life-threatening injury that was caused by the accident. The last thing that a victim wants to do is ignore it and leave it undiagnosed.

Chest Injury Symptoms:

There are a variety of different symptoms of a chest injury that a vehicle occupant might suffer after an accident. Here are a few of them:

  • Painful and difficult breathing.
  • Internal bleeding and low blood pressure from blood loss.
  • Crackling or popping sounds when an emergency room physician presses on the ribs.
  • Coughing or spitting up blood.
  • Chest wall destabilization during inhalation known as flail chest.

Causes of Chest Injuries in Auto Accidents

Chest injuries in auto accidents are almost always attributable to four causes. Those causes follow:

  • Seat Belts: In an accident, a properly functioning seat belt is going to lock up right away to protect a vehicle occupant when his or her body is thrown forward. The National Safety Council says that seat belt use in automobiles reduces driver and front seat passenger injuries by 45% and moderate to critical injuries by 50%. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration relates that in 2017, seat belt use saved nearly 15,000 lives. Soft tissue injuries and bruised or cracked ribs are a far better alternative than a fatality.
  • Air Bags: Although intended for the protection of drivers and passengers, air bags can deploy at nearly 200 mph. Deployment alone can cause chest, rib and serious cardiovascular injuries, especially if the person on the other end of deployment isn’t restrained by a seat belt.  Air bags also cause significant risks of injuries at low speeds when drivers tend to sit closer to the steering wheel when the air bag is deployed. Those cardiovascular injuries might not be readily apparent either. They could take up to a month for symptoms to begin to manifest themselves.
  • Steering Wheels: A car’s steering column can be moved backward by a frontal crash. When moved too far, the effectiveness of seat belts is significantly diminished. Drivers are at particular risk if the car’s air bag doesn’t fully inflate by the time that they make contact with it. Typical chest and thoracic injuries from an impact with a steering wheel will include a bruised or fractured sternum, torn rib cartilage bruised or fractured ribs or even a bruised heart. The aorta is the body’s main artery. Steering wheel injuries can even include splitting of the aorta. According to the Mayo Clinic, should blood escape the outer aortic wall, the injury is likely to be fatal.
  • Ejection: A complete or partial ejection from a vehicle in a crash is likely to result in severe or even fatal chest injuries. A total of 12 types of ejection chest injuries have been labeled the “deadly dozen” by the National Institute of Health. They can range from flail chest to massive aortic splitting.

What to Do if You Suffer Chest Pain After a Car Accident in California:

Many of the “deadly dozen” chest injuries are silent killers. That’s why you need to be examined in an emergency room immediately upon experiencing chest pain from a car accident. The sooner that you obtain early documentation of your chest injury, the more likely it will be that it can be medically and legally tied into your accident. The opposing insurance company will be looking for that connection or the lack thereof. After being examined, notify your car insurance company that you were in an accident. If it wasn’t your fault, you don’t need to worry about your premiums increasing. That’s against the law in California. You’ll also want to contact us here at Maison Law to speak with an experienced and dedicated California car accident lawyer. We offer free consultations and case reviews for accident victims. Whatever you do, politely refuse to provide any type of a statement to the opposing insurance company until you talk with us. 

Chest Injury Case Values in California: 

Here are a few indications of settlements and verdicts from across the country on chest injury cases. Keep the fact in mind that they might be significantly lower in other cases.

  • $1,450,000 as a wrongful death settlement in Vermont when a truck collided with the decedent’s car causing massive chest injuries and eventual death. 
  • $297,889 verdict, with about 80% of it for pain and suffering involving a fractured sternum suffered in an uninsured motorist case caused by a head-on collision in Minnesota.
  • $490,000 in a boat collision accident when two sailboats collided. The claimant was a 78-year-old man who suffered a collapsed lung. Surgery was required and a plate was implanted for purposes of stabilizing rib fractures.
  • $309,276 Maryland verdict for a 42-year-old man who was rear-ended by a dump truck. His rib and sternum fractures required surgery. His expert testified that the victim would be unable to work, but the jury apparently didn’t believe him. There are always risks when you go to trial.
  • $44,941 verdict in Ohio when a car backed into a pedestrian and caused three rib fractures. 

Contact a California Car Accident Lawyer

Be sure to have any chest injuries checked out at an emergency room immediately after any accident. After that, contact us at Maison Law for that free consultation and case review with our California car accident lawyer. We promise to listen to you carefully and answer your questions too. You can tell us how your chest injuries have affected you, and we’ll advise you on all of your legal options. At Maison Law, there are no legal fees to be paid up front. In fact, we don’t even get paid unless we obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf. Remember not to give any type of a statement to an opposing insurance company. California law doesn’t require you to do that, and you don’t want to take the chance of having your own words used against you in the future. Talk with Maison Law first. 

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