When you’ve been hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault, the most devastating injury you suffer could be the one that’s not so obvious. Trauma to the chest may not be as noticeable as bleeding, unconsciousness, or broken bones, but the medical implications can be far graver. According to a 2019 article published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), chest injuries are now the second most common type of bodily harm in accidental events. They also carry the highest mortality rates, at up to 60% as cited in the NIH study. If your chest hurts after a car accident or other traumatic incident, seek medical attention immediately. Then, contact a chest injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.
At Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC, our Atlanta serious injuries attorneys know that you face an uphill battle as you’re recovering from chest trauma after an accident. Allow us to assist with the legal side of things, so you can focus on returning to health. We can help with filing a claim for your losses, which may be significant considering the serious nature of your injuries. Please contact our office at (404) 419-6674 or via our online contact form to schedule a no-cost consultation with a chest injury lawyer today.
Accidents Which Can Cause Chest Injuries
Your chest houses two of the most important organs of the human body: the heart and lungs. However, chest injuries can also affect:
- The upper abdomen;
- Primary blood vessels;
- The sternum, familiarly known as the breastbone;
- Collarbone; and,
- All surrounding muscles and soft tissues.
Though they may be encased in the solid bones of the ribcage, these essential body parts are very fragile. You may sustain serious injuries from blunt force or penetrating trauma to the chest, which can occur through various injury-causing scenarios.
Motor Vehicle Accidents: The NIH reveals that traffic-related crashes are the most common cause of blunt chest injuries. Many victims experience sternum pain after a car accident, a medical condition called costochondritis. Trauma to the breastbone or a broken sternum may cause you to feel like you’re suffering from a heart attack.
Penetrating chest injuries are also common in auto, truck, and motorcycle crashes, often leading air to escape from the lung and build up within the chest wall. This pressure causes the lung to collapse, since it cannot expand when you inhale. If you sustain a collapsed lung due to a car accident, you may have difficulty breathing and can lose consciousness.
Indirect Injuries from Car Crashes: Some types of chest injuries aren’t caused by the impact, but by other indirect factors. Though seat belts save many lives and can greatly reduce serious injuries, they can still cause trauma to the chest. Severe bruising and a broken sternum are examples of seat belt injuries to the chest area.
Another safety feature that can indirectly lead to trauma is the airbag. These devices operate through an explosion of air that fills the bag and protects your body from severe impact. However, a victim can suffer chest pain from an airbag when it deploys improperly.
Slip and Falls: Injury-causing accidents can happen when a property owner doesn’t properly maintain the premises or allows a dangerous condition to remain. You may slip, fall, be struck by a falling object, or sustain injuries from other hazards that are present because of a property owner’s misconduct. If you experience chest pain after falling, seek immediate medical attention.
Georgia Law Protects Your Rights
There’s a wide range of scenarios that can lead to chest injuries, but many of these incidents are caused by careless or reckless acts. The legal term for such misconduct is negligence, and your chest injury lawyer can explain the details on these cases. In general, there are four essential elements you need to prove to establish your right to compensation:
1. The responsible party had a legal duty to exercise reasonable care in acting. For instance, a motorist must drive carefully, and a property owner must keep the premises safe for those who enter upon it.
2. The responsible individual or entity failed in this duty. In a car accident, the breach of duty may be speeding, drunk driving, or texting while driving. A property owner may breach the duty of care by failing to clean up a spill, not putting barricades around dangerous conditions, or not posting a warning sign about a hazard.
3. Your chest injuries were caused by this breach of duty, such that you wouldn’t have been hurt but for the responsible party’s misconduct.
4. You suffered losses as a result of your chest injuries and deserve compensation to cover them.
How to Seek the Compensation You Deserve
In many cases, you’ll pursue the responsible party through an insurance company. Motorists, property owners, and other businesses purchase insurance to protect their interests in the event of an accident. Therefore, filing a claim with an insurance company is the first step in seeking compensation for chest injuries.
Insurance Claims for Chest Injuries: The claims process can be very challenging, since an insurer’s top priority is protecting profits. Insurance companies don’t make money by paying out large claims to victims, so they don’t have your best interests in mind. Your claim may be denied, or the insurer may make a counteroffer for an amount that doesn’t fully compensate you for your losses.
Litigation for Monetary Damages: If you cannot reach an agreement to settle your claim with the responsible party’s insurance company, you may need to file a lawsuit in civil court. Litigation is complicated, so you should rely on a chest injury attorney to represent you in court. There are multiple laws, rules, and past court decisions that may apply in your case. It’s wise to retain skilled legal counsel to pursue your rights in court.
Damages for Chest Injuries: Your compensation is based upon the nature of your injuries and many other factors, so the amount will depend on the specifics of your case. You may be entitled to receive monetary damages to cover such losses as:
- Medical bills;
- Lost income;
- Pain and suffering;
- Losses associated with diminished quality of life;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Emotional distress; and,
- Many other types of compensation.
Reach Out to an Atlanta Chest Injury Lawyer for Legal Help
If you sustained chest trauma due to someone else’s negligence, you need experienced legal counsel to fight for your right to compensation. Our Atlanta serious injuries attorneys at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC have the knowledge and skilled to advocate on your behalf. Please contact our office to set up a free case evaluation regarding your circumstances. You can reach us at (404) 419-6674 or use our online contact form.