Being in a car crash is a heart-racing, scary experience. While many injuries may seem obvious immediately after a car accident, you may not recognize your chest pain until after the adrenaline and stress of the accident have subsided. Whether you’re experiencing ongoing chest pain or delayed chest pain after a car accident, it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Chest pain can be an indicator of a more serious injury and should not be ignored. Doctor Looking At X-Ray

If you’re experiencing a chest injury after being involved in a car accident you did not cause, you have the right to hold the responsible person legally and financially responsible. Contact our South Carolina car accident lawyer team at the Law Office of Kenneth Berger at (803) 790-2800 in Columbia, SC, or 843-427-2800 in Myrtle Beach for a free consultation. We are here to provide answers and guidance to help you through the legal process.

What To Do If You Are Suffering Chest Pain After A Car Accident

  1. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you are experiencing any symptoms of chest pain, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as you can. A medical professional can give you a proper diagnosis and prescribe the best plan of treatment for your chest pain, as well as rule out any potentially life-threatening conditions.
  2. Establish a clear relationship between your injuries and the crash. The sooner you visit a doctor after the accident, the easier it will be to establish your injuries were directly caused by the wreck. Insurance companies often try to claim your injuries are due to an underlying condition unrelated to the crash. Remember: insurance adjusters’ goal is to pay you as little as possible and they will try to do this by minimizing your injuries. You can combat this by visiting a doctor as soon as possible after the wreck and keeping all documentation of your medical treatment.
  3. Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney. Our lawyers can review your case for free and help you understand your legal options. If you are dealing with a chest injury from a car accident you did not cause, let us help you seek the compensation you need to heal and recover from this difficult experience. We will help you navigate the legal system, deal with the insurance companies, and seek a full, fair settlement.

How Do You Know If A Chest Injury Is Serious After a Crash?

The only way you can know how severe your injury may be is if you visit a doctor. If you are experiencing any kind of chest pain after being involved in a car accident, it is always best to visit a medical professional as soon as you can.

If you delay seeking treatment, your condition could worsen and create complications. The earlier you can catch the problem, the better your outcome and lower your medical bills may be.

What Can Cause a Chest Injury After a Car Accident?

When you are involved in a car accident, your body is restrained by safety constraints such as your seat belt. Your airbags may also deploy.

Both of these safety devices are very effective at keeping you inside the vehicle and preventing serious bodily harm that could result if you were ejected from your car. However, due to the force of impact during the wreck, your body may experience some strain against the seat belt or airbags.

You may also be thrown against the steering wheel or dashboard of your vehicle if the crash is particularly intense. Any of these scenarios can potentially lead to a chest injury.

Seat Belt Injury Chest Pain

Seat belts save lives, plain and simple. If you were recently involved in a car accident, your seat belt probably helped save your life. According to the NHTSA, “Of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2019, 47% were not wearing seat belts.”1  

While your seat belt might have protected you from a life-threatening injury, it could have potentially caused other injuries in the process. Due to the sheer amount of force required to keep you restrained in your vehicle, the pressure from your seat belt may have caused chest bruising or fractures.

If your seatbelt caused a serious chest injury in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you have the right to seek financial compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and more. Contact our firm for a free consultation to learn more.

Chest Pain After Airbag Deployment

Airbags are another important life-saving safety device that can greatly reduce your chances of severe bodily harm. However, just like seat belts, airbags can cause injuries due to the amount of force that is released when they are deployed. This force is typically concentrated around your chest. While chest injuries due to airbags are rare, they can still occur. It is best to seek medical attention if you suspect you may have sustained a chest injury due to the deployment of airbags.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Chest Injury?

Your chest protects vital organs such as your heart and lungs. Any damage you sustain to your chest could put these important organs at risk. If you notice any of the following symptoms, visit a medical professional so they can determine your best course for treatment. Common symptoms of chest injuries after car accidents include:

  1. Difficulty breathing
  2. Chest tenderness or discomfort
  3. Abdominal pain (especially if accompanied by nausea, fatigue, and sweating)
  4. Fluid regulation changes (decreased urine output or swelling of the feet, ankles, and legs)2 

Why Does My Chest Hurt After a Car Accident?

If you are experiencing chest pain after a car accident, you may be suffering from a more serious chest injury that is not visible to the naked eye. This is why it is important to visit a doctor who can run imaging tests and properly diagnose you. Common chest injuries that occur after a car accident include:

  1. infographic about chest pains after a car crashMuscle Strain: During a car accident, the muscles in your chest can become strained by trying to protect your body. This can cause inflammation and even torn muscles, which can cause intense pain.
  2. Bruised Ribs: Your seat belt goes across your chest from your sternum to your lower ribs. As your seat belt restrains you during the collision, the force of impact can cause bruising along your ribs.
  3. Fractured Ribs: Cracks in your rib bones can occur from the strain of your seat belt or if you were thrown against your steering wheel.³ Broken ribs can be painful and may cause difficulty breathing.
  4. Sternal Fractures: The sternum, or breastbone, can fracture in a car accident, particularly in high-impact collisions. Sternal fractures can be painful and may require medical attention.
  5. Pulmonary Contusion: This injury occurs when the lung tissue is bruised due to the chest's impact against the steering wheel, dashboard, or seat belt. It can result in difficulty breathing and may require hospitalization.
  6. Flail Chest: A flail chest happens when multiple ribs are broken in multiple places, causing a segment of the chest wall to move independently. This can lead to significant pain and difficulty breathing.
  7. Pneumothorax: A pneumothorax is a collapsed lung that occurs when air enters the space between the lung and the chest wall. It can happen when a rib is fractured, puncturing the lung.
  8. Hemothorax: This condition involves blood accumulating in the space between the lung and chest wall, often as a result of injury to the blood vessels in the chest. It can lead to breathing difficulties and may require drainage.
  9. Diaphragmatic Injury: The diaphragm, a muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities, can be injured in car accidents, particularly in high-impact collisions. This injury can lead to abdominal and chest pain and may require surgery.

Your chest also protects vital organs such as your heart and lungs. It is possible that you could have done internal damage without realizing it. If your heart has been affected, you may be at an increased risk for a heart attack. It is important to visit a medical professional to rule out any more serious complications.

If your chest was injured in a collision that was not your fault, our accident attorneys can help you hold the responsible party accountable for the harm they’ve caused. Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help.

Diagnosing and Treating A Chest Injury After a Car Accident

When you visit a doctor, they will use a couple of different tests and methods to diagnose the source of your chest pain fully. Tools for diagnosing chest pain after a car accident may include:

  • X-rays
  • Blood tests
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computerized tomography scan (CT scan)
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)

Your course of treatment will depend on your diagnosis. You will likely be required to rest for a period of time. More severe injuries may need surgery or prescription medications. These medical costs can quickly add up.

What Compensation Can I Receive After Suffering A Chest Injury?

If your chest injury is the result of another driver’s negligence, let our attorneys help you seek compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. While no amount of money can change the fact that you should have never been injured in the first place, a settlement can help you pay for the significant costs associated with suffering a serious injury. Our lawyers can help you recover money for:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Emotional distress

If we are able to obtain compensation for you, the amount of your settlement will depend on a number of factors, such as the severity of your injuries and the amount of time you had to take off work.

Don’t try to handle your claim on your own. Our personal injury attorneys can work to help you maximize the value of your claim and get back on your feet after this difficult experience.

Talk To Our Experienced South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Today

Costly medical bills and lost wages from work can cause serious financial strain on top of dealing with your injury. If you are suffering from a chest injury that was caused by a car accident that was not your fault, you have the right to hold the responsible person legally and financially accountable for the harm you’ve experienced.

Our legal team at the Law Office of Kenneth Berger is here to provide guidance and help you navigate your injury claim. We pride ourselves on the consistent care, attention, and communication we provide to every client that walks through our door. We’ll take care of everything on the legal side, so you can focus on healing.

To set up a free consultation, call us at 803-790-2800 (Columbia, SC) / 843-427-2800 (Myrtle Beach, SC), or contact us via the chat box below. We look forward to speaking with you.


Kenneth Berger
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Columbia and Myrtle Beach car accident and personal injury lawyer dedicated to securing justice for clients.