What Does Chest Pain Mean after a Car Accident?

Chest pain is a non-specific injury a car accident victim might feel and can indicate a number of injuries. Injuries from an accident that cause chest pain range from a contusion on the breastbone after striking the steering wheel, seatbelt, or airbag or to a massive vascular injury which can be fatal. Therefore, a car accident victim should not trivialize any sensation of chest pain experienced after a car wreck. 

Chest pain after a car accident is the result of a traumatic injury to your ribs, breastbone, shoulder, collarbone, or an internal injury. A car’s seatbelt is designed to hold the occupant in place if a collision occurs. The tension placed on the seatbelt is high so that the occupants are not ejected from the vehicle. However, the shoulder strap of a seatbelt locking across the chest upon impact can cause substantial damage to sternum and ribs. Common injuries from seatbelts are broken ribs and a broken breastbone. These injuries are excruciating. Breathing can become very difficult because of the intense, sharp pain the accident victim experiences every time the ribs move when inhaling and exhaling.  

A collision with an airbag can cause similar injuries. An airbag is not merely a soft pillow filled with air that will softly cushion your body and head as they are violently cast toward the dashboard, steering wheels, or doors. The airbag opens upon a small explosion. The explosion fills the bag with gas. The airbag is made of a dense, durable fabric that can resist a tremendous amount of force. The airbag will block your head and upper body from smashing into the hard surfaces of your car. However, there is still a tremendous force applied to the areas of the body that come in contact with the airbag. Thus, airbag deployment can result in broken ribs, a broken breastbone, and contusions as well. 

One injury that is not common but can occur is an internal injury. Internal injuries can cause damage to organs and the vascular structures of the body. Therefore, accident victims might suffer a punctured or deflated lung, or a torn blood vessel resulting in internal bleeding.


Stein & Shulman, LLC has over 45 years of combined experienced in Illinois Personal Injury Law. You can receive a free and instant case review by calling our office at 312.422.0500.

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