Chest pain after a car accident
Chest pain after a car accident is common, but it’s not normal – it’s a sign of injury. You might even wonder if it’s worth seeing a doctor for. After all, you survived the crash in one piece. But persistent or delayed chest pain since the collision should never be ignored.
"Wait and see" isn’t a good enough plan when it comes to your health and financial future. If you suffered chest pain because of a car accident you have the ability to do something about it – and you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical care and more.
What causes chest pain after a car accident?
There are many possible causes of chest pain after a motor vehicle collision:
- Chest pain from airbag deployment can result from the explosive force necessary to deploy an airbag (which happens in about 55 milliseconds).
- Seat belt injury chest pain is common after collisions, typically manifesting as bruising and tenderness. Symptoms can also include pain when breathing or moving your arms.
- Heart attack and other cardiac ailments can be triggered or exacerbated by the physical and emotional trauma of a car crash.
- A fractured sternum from a car accident is a very serious injury. Because of the force required to break the breastbone, sternum fractures are often associated with other injuries and can be life-threatening.
- Bruised or broken ribs can result from impact during the crash. The principal symptoms are chest pain and difficulty breathing.
- Costochondritis is when the cartilage in the rib cage is inflamed – most commonly the upper chest where the ribs meet the breastbone. Costochondritis can cause radiating pain into the back and abdomen.
- Muscle strain can cause chest pain after a car accident when muscles in the chest or torso are strained or torn.
- Breast injuries and breast pain after a car accident can result from a seat belt, airbag or other impact during the crash. Traumatic breast injuries can have serious complications including hematomas, fat necrosis, and severe bleeding if major blood vessels are damaged.
- Whiplash injuries can lead to chest pain when the head whips forward and back. Soft tissues in the neck and entire torso can be strained or torn.
- Internal injuries and bleeding can cause chest pain after a car accident. Damage to the liver, heart, spleen and other organs, as well as torn or ruptured blood vessels, can all contribute to chest pain symptoms.
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Delayed chest pain after a car accident
Adrenaline and shock after a crash can mask pain. In other cases, symptoms are slow to develop.
Chest pain months after a car accident can be an unfortunate fact for injured survivors. Serious injuries such as a sternal fracture can take months to heal. Chest pain appearing for the first time months after a car accident has also been documented. Injuries with delayed presentation of symptoms can be harder to prove, so proper medical care and legal counsel are crucial.
Delayed rib pain after a car accident could be the result of slow-onset cardiac complications, diaphragmatic rupture or other injuries. Always see a doctor when any new symptoms arise following your car accident, to document your injuries and confirm the source of your pain.
How does delayed chest pain affect an injury claim?
When it comes to your ability to seek compensation, delayed or lingering chest pain caused by a car accident is every bit as valid as more obvious injuries. However, the insurance company will most likely try to attribute your delayed chest pain on a preexisting condition or injury unrelated to the accident. Working with a personal injury attorney can make all the difference in proving negligence and damages so you can get a fair settlement.
Recognize the symptoms of serious injury
The violent forces involved in a car crash can wreak havoc on your body. It’s imperative to seek medical attention for any type of chest pain after an accident.
Signs and symptoms of a serious injury can include:
- Severe chest pain
- Delayed chest pain
- Upper chest pain
- Pain across the chest
- Pain in the left side of the chest
- Burning chest pain
- Constant chest pain
Chest pain after a car accident frequently appears with other symptoms, such as:
- Stomach and chest pain
- Chest pain and shortness of breath
- Back and chest pain
- Chest and upper back pain
- Chest and neck pain
Don’t take chances with your heart health. You can’t really know what’s wrong without a medical diagnosis. No matter what type of chest pain you’re experiencing, your best move is getting it checked out by a doctor ASAP.
Is chest pain after a car accident always serious? How worried should I be?
Whether or not your chest pain after the crash is serious is a question best answered by your doctor. Be completely honest about all of your physical symptoms. If chest pain develops or worsens after you’ve been given the all-clear, let your doctor know.
Can a car accident cause heart problems?
Unfortunately, yes. Emotional and physical trauma from a car crash can cause cardiac injury and complications including:
- Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Arrhythmia (aka atrial fibrillation, irregular or racing heartbeat)
- Bradycardia (slow heartbeat)
- Cardiac contusion (bruised heart muscle)
A car accident can trigger a cardiac event such as heart attack immediately or in the days after a crash. Sadly, many accident victims are quick to dismiss chest pains after a car accident, especially when symptoms develop gradually.
Treating chest pain after a car accident
There are plenty of recommendations out there, like putting an ice pack where it hurts or taking over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs. The bottom line is, you can’t expect to make a full recovery without professional medical care.
Best case scenario, opting for DIY home remedies prolongs your recovery time. Worst case, it lands you in the emergency room for an undiagnosed heart problem, or leads to long-term effects.
Effectively treating chest pain after a car accident starts with a proper medical diagnosis of your injury.
Any treatment for chest pain will cost money – money you’ll be on the hook for unless you receive an adequate settlement for your injury claim.
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How long does chest pain last after a car accident?
It’s different in every case. How long chest pain lasts depends on the type of injuries you suffered, how soon you received medical attention, your age and overall health, and many other factors.
Sometimes chest pain fades after a few days or weeks, in other cases it seems to wear off and then recurs. Chronic chest pain long after the crash isn’t unheard of. How long it takes to recover – and whether a full recovery is possible – can be hard to predict. All the more reason to get professional help with your injury claim.
Getting compensated for injuries & chest pain after a car accident
When someone else was mostly at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, you have a case to sue for damages.
The full cost of your injuries, pain and suffering goes beyond the dollar amounts on medical bills. How much income was lost because you were at the doctor’s office instead of working? How many invitations did you turn down because you were short of breath or didn’t want to risk your chest pain acting up again?
Getting a truly fair settlement boils down to two things:
- You need to calculate the full scope of damages, including treatment and rehabilitation you may need for years to come.
- You need to prove negligence, causation and loss – while the insurance company’s legal team works around the clock to deny or minimize your claim.
Both of these are best accomplished with an experienced personal injury attorney on your team. Insurance companies are notorious for arguing that symptoms or injuries were pre-existing, coincidental, or otherwise unrelated to the crash.
When facing a proven trial attorney with a record of winning six and seven-figure jury awards for his clients, insurers typically increase their settlement offer substantially.
Chest pain after a motorcycle accident
Motorcycle crashes can easily cause chest pain from blunt trauma to the sternum, ribs and other areas of the chest wall. If you’re experiencing chest wall injury symptoms or any other type of chest pain following a motorcycle accident, the same rules apply: see a doctor and consult a lawyer to learn about your best compensation options.
Chest pain after a bike accident
Chest pain after a bike accident can result from being struck by your bike’s handlebars, a motor vehicle, or impact with the ground. If you’re suffering chest pain from a bicycle crash caused by someone else, seek treatment from a medical professional and request an injury claim consultation to learn about what your case could be worth.
Wisconsin statute of limitations for chest injury claims after an accident
Every state has its own personal injury laws. Depending on where you live, you could have as little as one year to file, or as many as 6 years. Check with an attorney in your state to verify the time limit and make sure you’ve got a case.
In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations for injury claims is three years (in most circumstances). You only have one opportunity to claim compensation for your injuries.
Don’t miss out on your chance to get a fair settlement. Share your experience with a qualified personal injury attorney to find out if you have cause to sue, and what your claim is likely worth.
There’s no obligation for your initial consultation, and all cases are handled on a no-win, no-fee basis.