The forceful impact of a car accident can easily lead to chest injuries because it can cause a person’s chest to hit an object or be compressed. Chest injuries suffered in car crashes can range from a minor muscle strain to a life-threatening condition.
Motor vehicle accidents can cause chest trauma and lead to different types of car accident injuries. One underlying cause of chest pain is fractured or bruised ribs or sternums. This occurs when someone slams into a steering wheel or dashboard. It is also not uncommon for a seat belt to compress a person’s chest tightly enough to break bones.
Chest muscle sprains and strains are not as serious as some of the other injuries, but they can be quite painful and may require treatment. On the more severe side, torn and ruptured arteries and veins can be life-threatening, as well as internal organ injuries. An injury can occur to the spleen, kidney, or liver but cause pain in the chest.
Chest pain can also be symptomatic of a myocardial contusion, which is defined as the bruising of the heart. This can be more difficult to diagnose and can also range from mild to severe. To diagnose chest injuries properly, a medical professional will likely order blood work, imaging scans, electrocardiograms, and echocardiograms.
What are the Symptoms of Chest Injuries?
Aside from chest pain, chest injuries can cause feelings of lightheadedness and weakness, vomiting, nausea, shortness of breath, and an increased heart rate. Even if the symptoms seem minor, it is always best for anyone involved in an automobile crash to seek immediate medical attention. Pain around the ribs and breastbone should never be ignored.
How are Chest Injuries Treated?
The treatment for chest injuries will depend on the type and severity of the condition. Sometimes, only prescription medications or a trip to the emergency room is needed. More serious cases might entail the use of a chest tube placement, surgeries, and long-term follow-up care. Some victims may not be able to return to work or their former quality of life, either temporarily or permanently.
Am I Entitled to Compensation for My Chest Injury?
Compensation may be possible for victims who experience chest injuries after automobile accidents. A main determining factor for compensation is whether or not the accident was caused by a careless or negligent driver. In some cases, plaintiffs are awarded damages to reimburse them for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and a diminished earning capacity. There may also be damages awarded for pain and suffering, which includes mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other types of emotional distress.
State laws will also impact a chest injury victim’s ability to collect damages. All states have statutes of limitations that govern the amount of time allowed to file car accident claims. In Delaware, there is a two-year deadline for personal injury plaintiffs to file for injuries and property damage; this also applies to surviving family members of victims. There are other rules as well, including those for reporting accidents, auto insurance claims, and the comparative negligence law in Delaware.
Delaware Auto Insurance
Drivers who are involved in certain types of crashes are required to report what happened to law enforcement. The following instances require reporting:
- The accident involved a driver whose driving ability was impaired from using alcohol and/or drugs.
- The accident occurred on a public highway and caused apparent property damage in excess of $500.
- The accident resulted in an injury or fatality.
Delaware mandates that all drivers carry bodily injury protection, property damage, and personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance. There are also options for collision and comprehensive coverage, as well as uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage provides reimbursement for losses incurred by uninsured drivers, as well as hit-and-run accidents.
Delaware is also a no-fault state. Insurance providers must pay a claimant a certain percentage of the medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages resulting from auto accidents, no matter who is responsible. This does not mean that car accident victims are compensated for all of their losses through insurance. In serious accidents, some victims are able to file personal injury lawsuits to seek damages for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
What is the Comparative Negligence in Delaware?
Delaware applies the theory of comparative fault when it comes to settling auto accident claims. If more than one person is partially responsible for causing a crash, the person seeking damages will have their award reduced depending on their percentage of fault. For example, if a person is found to be 25 percent responsible for causing a car crash, the compensation amount will likely be reduced by 25 percent.
If a plaintiff is determined to be more than 50 percent liable, they will not be entitled to recovering any damages. This law comes into play in civil lawsuits, but not all auto accident claims make it to court. However, insurance companies will keep the comparative negligence law in mind when negotiating settlements. There is no particular formula that is used to arrive at a correct number since it is subjective. Additionally, auto insurance policyholders may find that their premiums have increased after making claims, especially if they are found be partially at-fault.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
The aftermath of an auto accident can be chaotic. The first step is to call 911. The operator will ask questions, which should be answered as clearly as possible. If there are serious injuries, an ambulance, as well as police officers, may be sent to the scene. If it is possible, a cellphone camera should be used to take photographs of the other vehicle, license plate number, the road conditions, and any other evidence that could help build a case.
At the scene, it is important to never admit fault in any way. Questions can be answered with facts without any elaboration. Medical attention should not be refused since chest injuries and other medical conditions may not be immediately apparent. It is important to keep records of treatment, medical expenses, and any other costs related to the crash.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Motor Vehicle Collision Victims Seek Compensation for Chest Injuries
Chest injuries can be traumatic and life-changing, and chest pain can occur after a collision. If you have a serious chest injury from a collision and believe you are entitled to damages, contact a skilled Delaware car accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC today. Call us at 302-888-1221 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including Dover, Newark, and Middletown.