Chest Injuries

Chest Injuries After a Car Accident

Housing many of your body’s essential organs, the chest is one of the most important areas of your body. Chest injuries put you at great risk for damage to the heart, lungs, and diaphragm. Accidents involving significant force can harm the rib cage and everything it protects. If you or someone you love has suffered chest injuries in an Orange County accident, Russell & Lazarus is here to help. Call our team at 800-268-9228 to set up a free case evaluation with our top injury lawyers.

Types of Chest Injuries

Any damage to the chest can quickly lead to life-threatening complications and injuries, which is why it’s crucial to seek medical attention right away after an accident. Some of the injuries that may occur after an accident include:

  • Rib fracture. A rib fracture sounds frightening and is often extremely painful, but it’s one of the least dangerous injuries on this list. On its own, a broken rib may heal without intervention. However, when a broken rib becomes displaced, it can impact your core stability and puncture vital organs.
  • Fractured sternum.  The sternum is the bone located in the center of the chest and can be fractured when a vehicle operator’s chest strikes a steering when the front of a vehicle impacts a stationary object or another vehicle.
  • Aortic tears. A tear in the aorta has a high fatality rate and may happen after blunt trauma to the chest. The aorta brings oxygenated blood from the heart to the body, and a tear can quickly deplete the body of oxygen.
  • Collapsed lung. Also known as pneumothorax, a collapsed lung occurs when air accumulates outside the lungs. A car accident victim can quickly experience respiratory distress and shock.
  • Pulmonary contusions. Bruising of the lungs causes fluid accumulation in the lungs, making breathing increasingly difficulty.
  • Hemothorax. A hemothorax is a buildup of good in the chest cavity, typically caused by a broken rib penetrating the lung.
  • Chest wall contusion. Bruising of the chest wall is painful but may not require substantial intensive treatment. However, it can cause muscle pain and soreness.
  • Pericardial tamponade. This injury refers to damage to the sac that surrounds the heart. While most injuries arise from blunt trauma, pericardial tamponade is most commonly linked to penetrating trauma. It can be life-threatening.

Symptoms You May Experience

Chest injuries vary widely in severity, from those that require no intervention to those that can become fatal within minutes. Because of this, experiencing any of these symptoms after an accident is reason enough to seek out medical care.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain, from mild to severe
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shock
  • Inability to speak
  • Soreness or tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Pain while sneezing, changing positions, or coughing

What Causes Chest Injuries?

Chest injuries are commonly linked with car accidents, pedestrian accidents, bike accidents, motorcycle collisions, falling off of ladders, and any other accidents involving blunt trauma. The ribs are extremely sturdy, so it takes an enormous amount of force to cause enough trauma for a serious injury. Falls from tall heights or physically demanding sports can also cause chest injuries.

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Types of Compensation

After sustaining a chest injury, you may be entitled to compensation if someone else was responsible for the accident that caused you to get hurt. The types and amount of compensation you receive depend largely on the details of your case and the skill level of your Long Beach personal injury lawyer, you may be able to seek compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future income if your ability to work is impacted
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Recent Case Results

One of our clients was traveling straight, lawfully entering an intersection when the defendant made an unsafe left turn directly into her path of travel (failing to yield the right of way to our client) resulting a significant force collision impacting the front of our client’s vehicle.  Our client struck her chest suffering a fractured sternum and multiple fractured ribs.  The defense in that case disputed the value of the claim, but after litigating the case, the insurance company agreed to pay their entire $250,000.00 policy limit to this very deserving client.

A client of ours was traveling on his motorcycle when an automobile failed to stop at a stop sign resulting in the motorcycle striking the side of the car and causing the motorcyclist to be thrown from the motorcycle and suffer multiple rib fractures and a lacerated liver.  Our client hired a law firm that does not specialize in personal injury cases to handle the case before hiring us.  In an attempt to obtain a quick settlement, the prior law firm advised our client to accept the defendant’s meager $15,000.00 automobile liability insurance policy limit to settle his entire case without first checking to determine whether or not the defendant was driving on behalf of an employer at the time of the collision.  The client then transferred his case to our firm.  Our firm focuses exclusively on Plaintiff personal injury matters, and we quickly discovered that the Defendant was operating his vehicle on behalf of an employer at the time of the collision, and we were able to get the client an additional $300,000.00 from the Defendant’s employer’s automobile insurance greatly helping this very deserving client.  If the client had not consulted us before signing the settlement agreement which his prior law firm had insisted that he sign, then he would have been shorted 20 times the value of the case which we were able to obtain on his behalf.

A client who was working for an uninsured, unlicensed contractor fell off of an unsafe ladder provided to him by the employer resulting in a lacerated spleen, a collapsed lung and multiple fractured ribs which required ORIF (open reduction, internal fixation) surgery to repair the fractures.  Because the uninsured, unlicensed contractor was working at a residence, the homeowner’s insurance was required to afford coverage for the loss, and we were able to obtain a $600,000.00 settlement on our very deserving client’s behalf.

What to Do If You Want to Seek Compensation

If you plan on seeking compensation, know that you will be going up against insurance companies with all sorts of techniques for preventing accident victims from recovering money. As a result, it’s important to take the right steps to protect your claim and set yourself up for success with a personal injury lawyer. Keep these tips in mind in the minutes, days, and weeks following your accident:

  • Gather any photographic and video evidence you can.
  • Take notes on your pain level and the type of pain you experience; sharp chest pain after a car accident may have a different cause than dull chest pain after an auto accident, so it’s valuable information for your doctor to have.
  • Take photographs of bruising periodically as the bruising changes. 
  • Seek medical attention right away! Your case hinges on your ability to link your injuries to the accident and the other party’s actions, and medical documentation is a key part of that.
  • Save your empty prescription pill bottles and over the counter medication bottles.  When explaining damages to an adjuster, a mediator, an arbitrator, a judge or a jury, it is helpful to demonstrate what you went through when people see the medications you took to abate your pain.  In a case where a client had had an injury which did not look debilitating, we showed his pain to the mediator by bringing all of the empty pill bottles that he had kept over 3 years to abate his pain.  There were enough pill bottles to fill a bathtub sized container.  At the end of the mediation, the settlement offer had increased from 5 figures to a 7 figures outcome for our deserving client.
  • Keep track of any expenses you incur as a result of the accident. This includes towing, Uber fees if you have to get rides to appointments, co-pays for appointments and prescriptions, and damaged property.
  • Do not post anything about yourself or your family on social media following a collision because insurance companies will look at your social media to conduct online surveillance of you and to gather photographs in attempt to use that information against you in your case.  
  • Get in touch with a Russell and Lazarus, personal injury trial attorneys, as soon as possible and definitely before you communicate with the other side’s insurance company.

Choosing an Attorney

Who you select as an attorney has a profound impact on the outcome of your case because insurance companies know which law firms practice personal injury law and which ones dabble.  They know which law firms try cases in order to obtain fair value for their clients and which law firms take only what the insurance companies are handing out.  The right attorney will help you to get the medical care that you require and the compensation you deserve.  The wrong attorney can cause you to lose your rights and put you and your family into a more precarious financial position than you already find yourself.  

Part of our advice involves hiring a personal injury lawyer promptly after an accident. If you wait until you’ve spoken with the other party’s insurance company already, you run the risk of damaging your own case. However, don’t just choose whichever attorney you find first. Make sure you choose a lawyer who will take your case seriously, help keep you in the loop, and prevent you from any additional stress during a traumatic time.

That’s why we approach cases the way we do at Russell & Lazarus. For you, a chest injury is not just a chest injury. It’s representative of a traumatic accident that has caused you to incur thousands of dollars in medical debt and left you out of work for days or weeks. You deserve an attorney who takes your case as seriously as you do. We are careful about the cases we take, and we only accept those to which we can bring our clients value. If we’re a good fit for your case, you can feel confident that you will be kept informed of every new development and involved throughout the process. Our goal is not just to reach a settlement as quickly as possible; it is to get the best settlement possible.

That means preparing for court, not for settlement negotiations. While most personal injury cases do settle, we prepare as if every case will go to court. Meeting this higher standard of evidence allows us to maintain the upper hand during negotiations and demand the compensation you are owed. If negotiations do not yield the results we want, we are more than willing to go to court.

Turn to Russell & Lazarus for Help With Your Injury Claim

The best time to reach out to our team of top personal injury lawyers is immediately following your accident. The second best time is right now. We offer a free case evaluation.  To schedule your free evaluation now, contact Russell & Lazarus at 949-682-3780 or fill out our contact form to have one of our representatives reach out to you.

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