The term “chest injury” encompasses any type of trauma to the chest. Doctors group chest injuries into two primary categories: blunt-force trauma and penetrating trauma.
Blunt force trauma means that something made contact and applied force to your chest in an accident. Penetrating traumas encompass injuries where the chest wall is penetrated by some type of foreign object, such as a bullet.
Types of Chest Injury
Any type of chest injury can cause serious damage–although, of course, some injuries are more serious than others.
Our team handles cases involving all types of chest injury, including:
- Broken or bruised ribs
- Puncture wounds
- Internal organ damage
- Ruptured diaphragm
- Injuries to the esophagus or trachea
- Internal bleeding
- Muscle strains and soft tissue damage
Chest injuries can involve damage to the organs themselves–which can lead to serious consequences, including respiratory problems.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Chest Injuries?
It’s always important to get checked out by a doctor right away after an accident.
Some of the initial signs and symptoms that you’ve suffered a chest injury might include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Bruising and discoloration
- Chest pains, whether sharp or dull
- Pain that gets worse when you breath or cough
- Flail chest (part of the rib cage has detached from the chest wall)
It can take hours, or even days, for a chest injury to become fully apparent. Unfortunately, thoracic injuries can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Seek medical attention immediately if you think you’ve suffered any type of chest injury.
What are the Long-Term Consequences of Chest Injuries?
Most chest injuries will eventually heal, and the victim will go on to lead a normal life. However, the most serious chest injuries can cause long-term damage, especially in cases involving internal organ damage.
Some of the long-term consequences of a chest injury include:
- Chronic pain
- Nerve damage
- Long-term pulmonary problems
- Respiratory failure
- Pleural sepsis
- Heart damage
- Wrongful death
The outcomes in chest injury cases depend on a number of factors–including the age and overall health of the victim. Remember, in an accident case, at-fault parties may be responsible for damages even if you had risk factors that might have made your chest injury worse.
How Common Are Chest Injuries?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 80% of all auto accident injuries impact the chest or head. In 2020 alone, there were about 20,088 motor vehicle accidents in Palm Beach County. That means more than 16,000 people sustained head or chest injuries in our county alone, based on NHTSA data.
And that doesn’t even begin to consider chest injuries caused by construction accidents or medical malpractice.
Studies also show that chest injuries tend to be severe–and even life-threatening. Around 35% of all trauma-related deaths in the U.S. are caused by thoracic trauma, or injury to the chest.
What Causes Chest Injuries?
Any type of traumatic accident can cause a chest injury. Most of these accidents are caused by negligence.
At Hollander Law Firm, P.A., we handle all types of chest injury cases in Boca Raton, including those that were caused by:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bus accidents
- Uber or Lyft accidents
- Boating accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Construction accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Assault and violence
In the context of a motor vehicle accident, chest injuries are commonly caused by:
- Hitting the steering wheel or dashboard
- The impact of the airbags
- Trauma caused by the force of the seatbelt or child restraint system
- Objects thrown from defective airbags
- Trauma after being ejected from the vehicle
The type of crash and where a person is sitting in the car can also play a role in whether they’ll sustain a chest injury. Generally speaking, front-seat passengers are much more likely to sustain a chest injury than those in the rear seats. If you sustain a chest injury as a passenger in a car accident consider contacting a passenger safety lawyer.
What is My Chest Injury Case Worth?
In general terms, more drastic chest injuries will usually generate higher settlements and verdicts. The value of your personal injury case will always depend on how the injury has impacted your life–and the most serious injuries have the most traumatic impact.
Injury claims are always valued on a case-by-case basis. Facts relevant to determining what your chest injury case is worth include:
- The cost of your past and future medical care
- The value of your lost wages
- Whether you’ll suffer a permanent disability
- How the injury has impacted your daily routine
- The impact on your family and relationships
- Any psychological trauma you’ve suffered
Establishing the fair value of your injury claim is only the first step in determining how much you’ll walk away with. Other parties might try to blame you for the accident. Under Florida comparative fault rules, your compensation award will be reduced if you share in the blame.
Assessing the value of any injury can be difficult. That’s why it’s always a smart idea to consult with a car accident attorney who has handled cases like yours before. If you’re interested in learning more about how our car accident lawyers can help, call today for your free case evaluation.
What Compensation Can I Recover for My Chest Injury After an Accident?
Injury victims in Florida are eligible for damages to account for their economic losses and non-economic losses.
If you were hurt on the job, you might also be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Common types of economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future medical bills
- Lost future earning capacity
- Physical therapy
- Long-term care
Non-economic damages are those that don’t have a clear economic value.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to money for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Anxiety and PTSD
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of consortium
It’s not always easy to calculate pain and suffering. In reality, money can probably never make up for these intangible losses. At Hollander Law Firm, P.A., we’ll do everything we can to secure the maximum compensation available in your case.
Am I Entitled to Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are also available under Florida law in extreme injury cases. Punitive damages are designed to deter future bad acts. Because of this, they’re usually only available when a defendant acted intentionally or in cases involving gross negligence.
If punitive damages are available, they’re capped at the greater of (1) three times your compensatory damages award or (2) $500,000.
How Long Do I Have to File a Chest Injury Lawsuit in Florida?
The Florida statute of limitations in most personal injury cases is four years. That might sound like an arbitrary number, but courts strictly enforce this deadline. If you were hurt, act now to avoid forfeiting your right to compensation.
Contact a Boca Raton Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one suffered a chest injury in Boca Raton, FL, you could be entitled to compensation. A trusted Boca Raton personal injury attorney at Hollander Law Firm, P.A. can help you fight to win fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
For more than 28 years, our team has offered high-quality legal representation to accident victims across South Florida.
We’ve recovered millions in compensation to hold at-fault parties accountable over the years–and we’re prepared to put that experience to work for you. Take action today if you were hurt. Call our law offices in Boca Raton, Florida, to schedule a free consultation today.