Is Chest Pain Common After a Car Accident?

December 26, 2023
Our Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Accident Victims Suffering From Chest Injuries

Not many events in life are as traumatic as a car accident, affecting those involved both physically and mentally.  While most injuries are immediate and evident, like a broken bone or lacerations, others do not manifest themselves until much later, such as chest pain.  If you experience chest pains following a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately, as they are sometimes indicative of an underlying health issue.  

Chest injuries can sometimes be minor, such as bruising or a cut, but can also be severe, requiring immediate medical attention.  Chest injuries can also be masked by adrenaline. Symptoms of a chest injury include but are not limited to:

  • Chest pain or discomfort in the chest or ribs
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Cough or pain while coughing
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Bruising or discoloration in the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing
  • Sharp pain when maneuvering the upper body
  • Swelling
  • Abdominal pain or lower back pain

Chest pain should never be ignored following an accident, regardless of when you begin to experience symptoms.  If you start to experience chest pain, seek medical attention immediately. Common chest-related accident injuries include:

  • Whiplash: Possibly the most common car accident injury, whiplash is one of the many injuries that cause chest pain.  Whiplash is when the body feels a forceful back-and-forth impact, which would then strain the neck, back muscles, and shoulders, leading to referred pain in the chest.  
  • Seat belt or airbag injuries: While seat belts are crucial for preventing more severe injuries, they can also cause chest pain after an accident. The force exerted by a seat belt during a collision can lead to bruising or even fractures in the ribs or sternum. This type of injury is often accompanied by localized pain in the chest area and is sometimes referred to as seat belt syndrome.
  • Internal injuries: Chest pain can also be a sign of more serious internal injuries, such as damage to organs like the heart, lungs, or liver. Blunt force trauma from a car accident may cause internal bleeding or injuries that are not immediately apparent. It is essential to seek medical attention promptly to avoid life-threatening conditions.
  • Cardiac issues: Chest pain can sometimes be a symptom of underlying cardiac issues that the accident may have exacerbated. The stress and adrenaline surge during a collision can trigger heart problems in individuals with pre-existing conditions.
  • Pneumothorax or hemothorax: In severe cases, chest pain may indicate lung injuries, such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung) or hemothorax (accumulation of blood in the chest cavity). These injuries can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, sharp chest pain, and rapid breathing.

What Causes Chest Pain Following a Car Accident?

Although wearing a seat belt greatly increases your chances of surviving a car accident, they can still cause an injury. The same principle applies to airbags.  When an airbag deploys, it produces a tremendous amount of force that can cause broken ribs, a punctured lung, or another injury to an internal organ.  Other vehicle parts, such as the steering wheel or dashboard, can propel during a car accident and cause an injury.  Striking any part of the vehicle in an accident may lead to an injury.  

Our Media Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Accident Victims Suffering From Chest Injuries

If you experience chest pain following a car accident, seek medical attention right away.  For legal help, contact our Media car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C.  Our team has decades of experience and can help.  Call us at 610-565-3701 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation.  Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.