According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), unintentional trauma caused more than 130,000 deaths in the United States in 2013.
This trauma is the primary contributing cause of hospitalization, disability and general lack of good health. A large number of trauma deaths are caused by blunt trauma to the chest. In this post, our St. Louis car accident lawyers will talk about blunt chest trauma from car crashes.
The human chest
The human chest comprises of ribs, sternum, clavicle, lungs, chest wall, heart, esophagus, diaphragm and major blood vessels. When a blunt force is applied to the body, it rarely causes damage to only one anatomical component. Often, other components are impacted as well.
While a person can suffer chest trauma in various situations, the most common source is a car accident. Chest injuries occur in car accidents when the body is violently thrown against something that is harder than the chest cavity. A driver can sustain serious chest trauma when they hit the steering wheel after their vehicle collides with another vehicle or object. Chest injuries are also common in pedestrian accidents. In the case of pedestrian accidents, chest injuries often occur when the vehicle hits the body or when the body hits the ground.
Diagnosing blunt trauma chest injuries
There are various diagnostic techniques available to examine the car accident victim in order to determine the nature and severity of blunt force trauma chest injury. Physicians may use one or a combination of the following imaging tests to diagnose the injury:
Treatment of these injuries depends upon the nature and severity of the injuries. A severe blunt force trauma to the chest can break the bones of the chest. Broken ribs can cause extreme pain and can make breathing difficult. Trauma can also cause bruising of the lungs, which can make breathing difficult and painful. Car accident victims who sustain blunt trauma to the chest can also suffer a broken sternum, which can cause severe secondary problems if it damages the heart or surrounding vessels.
There are other injuries as well that car accident victims can sustain. A pneumothorax or a collapsed lung happens when air escapes from the lungs and enters the chest cavity. It then applies pressure to the lung causing difficulty breathing. A collapsed lung is common after suffering a blunt force trauma to the chest. To treat it, doctors typically insert a tube into the lung to re-inflate the collapsed lung.
Blunt trauma to the chest can also sheer or rupture blood vessels in the chest. This can cause blood to collect in the chest cavity or lungs, a condition known as hemothorax. This can severely affect breathing. In order to restore breathing, the doctors have to eliminate the pooled blood.
Seeking Legal Help for a Chest Injury After a Car Accident
If you have sustained blunt force trauma to the chest, you should seek medical attention immediately. Once the injury is taken care of, contact an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer to make sure your legal right to compensation is protected. Call (314) 361-4242 for a FREE case evaluation.