Can Car Accidents Cause Heart Attacks?

September 29, 2023
car accident heart attack

Car accidents often cause severe trauma to drivers and passengers, but this does not only refer to broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, lacerations, and burns. It is not unusual for those involved to experience life-threatening heart attacks.

The heart’s upper and lower chambers move blood throughout the body, but when misaligned, the heart does not work as it should. The chambers pump at different rates, so the heartbeat will be too slow or fast. Someone with this condition might be more likely to experience a heart attack during or after a car crash.

A sudden adrenaline spike related to a car accident could trigger a condition known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy. The severe stress might weaken the left ventricle and prevent it from contracting properly. That is also a risk factor for heart attack.

Blunt force trauma in a car accident can also lead to commotio cordis, a sudden death from arrhythmia. This might happen when someone collides with an airbag, dashboard, or steering wheel.

Car accident trauma also causes chest contusions, with injuries to internal tissues. The symptoms include:

  • Bruising
  • Chest pain, swelling, and tenderness 
  • Coughing up blood
  • Crunching feeling beneath the ribs
  • Hematoma beneath the skin
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Pain with breathing, coughing, laughing, sneezing

Blunt force trauma from car accidents can also cause blood to pool inside the body and form clots. These can dislodge and move within the body through blood vessels, causing heart attacks.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Heart Attacks?

Doctors first test for heart attacks and other heart injuries with an EKG, followed by blood tests, CT scans, and X-rays. Diagnosed patients might be prescribed blood thinners or other medications depending on the severity of the condition. Some require surgical procedures, like angioplasty, stenting, or bypass surgery. Cardiac rehabilitation programs might also be necessary for a full recovery.

Do Auto Insurance Companies Pay for Accident-Related Heart Attacks?

This might be possible, but insurers may try to avoid paying for these injuries by asserting that the claimant had pre-existing conditions. They might also say that the claimant’s lifestyle choices led to the heart attack, even though the crash was the real cause. It can be tough to challenge this when recovering from a heart injury.

Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Represent Clients With Heart Injuries Caused By Car Accidents

You should not have to face the aftermath of an accident-related heart injury alone, especially if it happened because of someone else’s negligence. For legal help, contact our skilled Chester County car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Call 610-565-3701 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.