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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Delayed Chest Pain After Car Accident? – What Victims Should Know

Car accidents can cause chest injuries. Besides being potentially severe and painful, they aren't always easy to spot.

A person who experiences chest pain after a car accident may have sustained internal organ injuries. Sometimes, it's attributed to a fractured rib. Therefore, injured individuals should seek medical attention immediately after the crash.

If their chest pain results from severe injuries caused by someone else's actions, car accident victims may be entitled to compensation. However, they'll need help from an experienced attorney to evaluate the factors that may impact their cases.

This article explores what people who experience chest pain after a car accident should do to make sure they're safe and take legal action against at-fault parties. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also advise on what to do when a car accident other driver has no insurance.

What Causes Chest Pain After a Car Accident?

What Causes Chest Pain After a Car Accident?

In most car accident cases, chest pain is caused by blunt force trauma, as collisions cause drivers and passengers to be struck by objects inside vehicles, including the seat belt or the steering wheel.

Seat Belt Injuries

Although seat belts can save lives by keeping people's bodies from flying around when a car crash occurs, their lock-up mechanism (used when brakes are applied to prevent sudden momentum changes from affecting users) can cause injuries. These are some examples:

  • Broken rib bones

  • Bruising

  • Cuts

  • Fractures to the sternum

Broken bones aren't usually life-threatening but can cause excruciating pain and affect a person's ability to breathe. In the worst-case scenario, they can puncture other organs in the upper torso, such as the heart or lungs.


Although designed to save lives, airbags deploy at such a rapid rate that someone who is too close when it happens can be seriously injured.

In most cases, these are the chest injuries that airbags cause when deploying:

  • Bruises

  • Damage to internal organs

  • Abrasions

  • Broken ribs

  • Lacerations

  • Internal bleeding

Steering Wheels and Dashboards

When a car accident occurs, the forceful impact of the collision will toss the driver and passengers against the objects or surfaces that are close to them. Unfortunately, wearing a seat belt isn't always enough to avoid this.

Since the vehicle's occupants are close to the steering wheel (drivers) and the dashboard (passengers), the collision can result in chest injuries. Striking a hard surface or object can cause the following:

  • Bruising

  • Broken bones

  • Muscle strain

  • Other soft tissue injuries

What Are the Potential Signs of Chest Injuries?

Experiencing chest pain after a car accident is a sign that something isn't right and may indicate a severe injury. Therefore, people should seek medical attention immediately if they detect any of the following:

Broken Ribs

These are some of the common signs of broken ribs:

  • Severe chest pain

  • Increased pain when touching the ribs

  • Intense pain when breathing

  • Increased pain when performing any movement, such as laughing, coughing, sneezing, or twisting

  • Sharp pains that spread through the rib cage after every heartbeat

Muscle Damage

During a car accident, the muscles between the rib cage can be torn or stretched, causing intense pain, especially when people do certain things, such as taking deep breaths and lifting objects.

Pain caused by muscle damage is less severe than a broken rib but can cause discomfort when performing any common action, such as laughing, coughing, or sneezing.

Heart Damage

The heart, one of the most vital organs in the body, can also be injured during a car accident. Common injuries include heart attacks and cardiac contusions.

Cardiac Contusions

In a car accident, the rapid deceleration of a vehicle can cause the body to impact other objects. Unfortunately, this can damage the heart, causing a bruise to the cardiac muscle, also known as myocardial contusion.

Cardiac contusions are common in severe car crashes that result in fractures to the sternum and broken ribs. These are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Chest pain

  • Nausea

  • Coughing up blood

  • Vomiting

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Heart palpitations or feeling the heartbeat

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Arrhythmia or racing heart

If a person believes they have suffered a cardiac contusion, they should seek medical attention as soon as possible, as these injuries may be life-threatening.

Heart Attacks

Also known as myocardial infarction, a heart attack occurs when this organ's blood supply is reduced or blocked, creating a lack of oxygen that can damage the heart muscle. Unfortunately, this is common in people who experience too much stress during or after a collision.

Heart attacks are dangerous, so it's important to seek medical attention if any of the following symptoms are detected:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Unconsciousness

  • Weakness in the arms or legs

  • Arrhythmia

  • Nausea

Lung Damage

Car accidents can also cause lungs to be punctured, bruised, or collapsed. These injuries can be fatal. These are some of the potential symptoms:

  • Pain when coughing or sneezing

  • Chest pain that increases when breathing

  • Shortness of breath or other breathing problems

Other Internal Organ Injuries

The impact of a motor vehicle collision can also cause internal damage, affecting organs housed in the chest or abdomen, such as the intestines, liver, stomach, and kidneys.

When car accident victims sustain a severe injury, these organs can suffer bruising or internal bleeding, which can be life-threatening and often require surgery.

The following symptoms may indicate internal organ damage:

  • Weakness

  • Difficulty using the bathroom

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Fatigue or low-energy

  • Dizziness

  • Loss of coordination

  • Severe chest or abdominal pain

Panic Attacks

A car accident victim may also sustain emotional injuries, which often result from stress and can cause chest pain. Panic attacks are among the most common, causing the following symptoms:

  • Lightheadedness

  • Dizziness

  • Tingling in the neck or hands

  • Cold sweat

  • Increased heart rate

  • Shaking or trembling

  • Shortness of breath

  • Feeling faint

  • Anxiety

  • Fear of losing control

  • Depression

How Can Victims Know If a Chest Injury Is Serious?

To know if someone has sustained a severe chest injury and requires medical treatment, that person should visit a doctor and get an expert diagnosis. However, it's important to know that not all symptoms will appear immediately after the accident, as terror and shock can hide them.

Medical intervention is always necessary after a car crash. Even if there are no visible wounds, professionals can check for damage to organs or monitor blood pressure and heart rate to determine if someone has sustained a serious injury.

Can Someone Sue For Chest Pain After A Car Accident?

A person who experiences chest pain after a car accident can sue the at-fault party to recover compensation for their damages, especially if caused by a severe injury.

Since Indiana is an at-fault state, the person who caused the accident by acting negligently or carelessly is liable for related financial damages, including injured parties' medical expenses.

Victims can file a claim against the at-fault party's insurance policy. However, insurance companies aren't always willing to offer fair settlement amounts. If this occurs, injured people can take legal action through a lawsuit.

Those who experience any of the chest pains mentioned above may be able to sue for all medical bills incurred from the crash and other expenses, including emotional injuries and property damage.

What Type of Compensation Can Victims Recover for a Chest Injury in Indiana?

In a car accident case where a person suffered a chest injury, victims can recover compensation in the form of non-economic, economic, and punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages include all measurable expenses that victims incurred as a result of the chest injury, such as the following:

  • Medical bills

  • Future medical expenses

  • Lost wages

  • Out-of-pocket medical costs

  • Attendant care

  • Rehabilitation or therapy costs

  • Affected earning capacity

  • Property damage, such as vehicle repairs

Non-economic Damages

This group includes all injury-related damages that aren't measurable or quantifiable, which means they aren't tied to a specific monetary amount, such as:

  • Pain and suffering

  • Panic attacks

  • Disability

  • Loss of enjoyment of life

  • Emotional trauma

  • Loss of spousal companionship (available to families of victims who died from an accident-related chest injury)

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages don't compensate victims for their injuries but punish the person who caused the accident. However, they're awarded only if the at-fault party's actions are deliberate or malicious.

Do Victims Need Help From an Attorney?

Do Victims Need Help From an Attorney?

After a car accident, chest pain can be a sign of a severe injury. Unfortunately, this means victims will likely have to spend their savings on medical treatment. Many also lose wages because their ability to work is affected by the injury.

However, individuals who are harmed in an accident caused by someone else are entitled to compensation under Indiana law. Victims can negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party's insurance company or file a personal injury claim.

Since the Indiana legal system can be intricate, those involved in a car accident should contact an attorney to build their cases and fight for their rights. They can also help with questions such as an amazon truck hit my car who do I call?

Experienced automobile accident lawyers in Indianapolis can guide victims through the legal process, helping them understand the laws, collect evidence to establish liability, and pursue fair compensation for their chest injuries while they focus on their recovery.

Contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Today!

If someone has been involved in a car accident caused by someone else and sustained a chest injury, they can reach out to Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys and get the legal counsel they need.

Our attorneys have extensive experience in personal injury cases. We can help victims experiencing intense chest pain fight for their legal rights and hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions. Contact us today!


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