More than 50,000 drivers and passengers end up injured in car crashes in Maryland every year. Some of them will experience chest pain. You should always ask your doctor why does your chest hurt after a car accident in Maryland as soon as possible after the wreck.

Chest pain is not always symptomatic of a serious underlying condition but it can be. Don’t take any chances. Baltimore car accident lawyer Randolph Rice explains common causes for chest pain after a crash in Maryland.

Should I Worry About Chest Pain After a Car Accident in Maryland?

Some serious injuries are obvious as soon as you are hurt in a car crash. An inability to move a wrist or an arm often indicates the presence of a fracture. Chest pains can point to a more subtle injury.

You may experience soreness under your ribs or pain when you breathe. You should take this pain seriously even if it does not show itself immediately after a car accident. Chest aches and pains can be a sign of fractured ribs, a ruptured spleen or even a punctured lung. Alternatively, the pain may have a less alarming explanation and could be merely bruising. It is important to consult a Baltimore personal injury lawyer for legal guidance during this time.

Five Reasons Why Your Chest Hurts After a Car Crash

Muscle Strain

Muscle strains can cause dull, aching pain in your chest.  Although a muscle strain is not a life-threatening injury it can cause considerable discomfort and aches. Always seek medical attention to make sure your chest does not hurt for a different reason.

Fractured Ribs

Chest pains can be caused by broken ribs after a car accident. If you fractured a rib, you will usually feel sharp, shooting pains. Your seat belt or a hard impact with the steering wheel can fracture a rib. There are 12 pairs of ribs in the human body. Any of the 24 ribs can potentially sustain an injury during a car wreck. Breaks range in severity from partial cracks to bones smashed into organs.

Cracked ribs cause significant discomfort and pain. Completely broken ribs can be excruciatingly painful and be potentially life-threatening.  A broken rib can puncture and damage nearby organs, such as the lungs, spleen. kidneys, or the liver. Broken ribs can even puncture the aorta, the body’s main artery.

Bruised Ribs

The trauma involved in a car accident can cause bruising to the sternum or ribs. This type of injury is often associated with dull, aching pain that intensifies with movement. Bruised ribs can take weeks to heal. Possible symptoms of bruised ribs in the wake of a Maryland car wreck include the following:

  • Spasms or twitching in your chest muscles;
  • A visible bruise on the skin;
  • Tenderness around the bruised area;
  • Swelling around a bruised rib.

The pain of a bruised rib is often exacerbated when you breathe. Bruised ribs and broken ribs have a lot of similar characteristics. Never assume a rib is merely bruised. Get your symptoms checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible.

Injuries to Internal Organs

Injuries to internal organs can cause your chest to hurt after a car accident in Maryland. Any injury to an internal organ is potentially life-threatening and must be treated immediately. When a car is crushed during a wreck the steering wheel or the airbag can cause significant internal injuries. Ejection from a car during an accident is another leading cause of serious internal organ injuries. They include:

  • Damage to the Spleen – The spleen is located in the body’s abdomen. This organ contains important disease-fighting blood cells that battle infection and kill unwanted bacteria. A car accident may damage the spleen or even rupture it. This injury can be fatal.
  • Punctured Lungs – the puncturing and collapse of a lung during or after a car accident in Maryland can cause a condition called pneumothorax. This condition occurs when air leaks into the space between your lung and chest wall. This air presses on the outside of your lung, causing it to collapse.  Symptoms of pneumothorax include sudden chest pain and shortness of breath. A collapsed lung is potentially life-threatening, the Mayo Clinic states.
  • Liver Damage – A car accident can tear the liver open or do significant damage to this important organ.  Internal bleeding, pain, and other problems can result from liver damage. It’s important to get the liver repaired as soon as possible to avoid potentially fatal complications.

Although injuries to internal organs are often life-threatening, they may not always be apparent immediately after a car wreck. However, you are likely to feel pain and a range of other symptoms.

Ruptured Diaphragm

The diaphragm is the muscle across the bottom of the ribcage that plays a crucial role in breathing. This condition occurs in about 5% of cases of blunt force trauma to the trunk. This condition requires surgery. It usually causes chest and abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, and reduced lung sounds. However, this condition is often difficult to diagnose as it is not picked up on x-rays.

Talk to a Baltimore Car Accident Lawyer for Chest Pain and Rib Injuries

There are many causes of chest pain after a car crash in Maryland, ranging from bruising to serious organ damage. If your condition is life-threatening, you will likely have left the scene of your accident in an ambulance. However, there is a wide spectrum of injuries between mild and critical. On occasions, doctors miss the signs of a serious or significant chest injury. If your chest pain persists, ask for a second opinion and talk to a chest specialist.

At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our Maryland car collision lawyers are well aware of the potentially life-changing nature of chest injuries. We will fight the insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve to help you get better. By taking action against the insurance company of the at-fault driver we can give you time and space to recover from your injuries. Call us today for a free consultation at 410-431-0911.