What Should You Do if You Have Chest Pains After a Car Accident?
Every year, thousands of Floridians are involved in auto accidents, from simple parking lot fender benders to catastrophic collisions on the interstate. Distracted driving, driving under the influence and speeding are the three main reasons that accidents occur, and no matter how careful you are, the reality is that you are likely to be in an accident during your lifetime.
Once you have determined that everyone is okay after an accident, do you know what your next steps should be? Many injuries aren’t noticeable in the immediate aftermath of an accident, and proper documentation is vital to ensuring that you are compensated for an accident that was the fault of another. Our goal is to aid those who have been injured in an auto accident, and we have some basic steps for you to focus on after a crash.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
There are several guidelines you should follow after you are involved in an accident. You may feel a bit scattered after the crash, so it’s important that you are prepared to document any injuries or damage that is caused by the negligence of another driver.
- Move the vehicles to a safe area if possible or turn on your hazard lights if they can’t be moved
- Check and make sure that no one is seriously injured; if there are injuries call the appropriate emergency response number
- Always call the police to the scene, no matter how small the accident
- Gather information about the accident including the location, eyewitness contact information, license plate numbers, passenger and driver names, model and make of every vehicle involved and the badge number and name of any officer that responds to your call
- Document the scene with quick photos if you are able
- Get a medical check-up to document any injuries and determine if you require medical treatment
Many times, those who are involved in a minor car accident feel they are fine and refuse medical treatment. The concern is that down the road, you may notice that you have injuries and if they are not documented it is difficult to prove that they were the result of the accident.
There are several types of injuries that are common to auto accidents. They include:
- Soft tissue injuries to ligaments, muscles and tendons. Whiplash would be included in this type of injury and stretches the ligaments and muscles of the neck and head. Lower and middle back muscle sprains are also common soft tissue injuries.
- Cuts and scrapes are often caused by loose items in your car or the airbag deploying.
- Head injuries can range in severity from minor to life-threatening. Any unexpected change in direction or stop of a vehicle can cause damage to the tissue and fluid inside the skull. Minor head injuries often result in concussions, which should be treated by a medical professional.
- Leg and arm injuries are also caused by the same force that can cause head injuries. If the car is hit from the side, arms and legs may be hit hard against the door. Passengers in a vehicle rarely have much room for their legs and injuries can be caused by hits to the seat or dashboard in front of them.
Another common problem that people report is chest paints after a car accident. Often, accidents cause bruises or contusions of the chest, but there are also other, more serious problems that can lead to chest pain. Any chest pain you have after a car accident should be assessed by a medical professional.
Common Causes of Chest Pain After an Auto Accident
If you have sternum pain after a car accident, there may be several injuries that you are dealing with. Chest pain is often a sign of a more serious injury, although even catastrophic injuries may not cause excessive pain. This is why it is so important to have a medical check-up after every car accident. Common causes of chest pain after a car accident include:
- Muscle strain: A car accident may cause strain to the chest muscles. While rarely a life-threatening injury, it should be checked out by a physician.
- Bruised ribs: If the ribs or sternum are bruised after a car accident, there may also be chest pain. Symptoms are often aching, dull pains in the chest that are most noticeable when you move.
- Fractured ribs: Car accidents often lead to broken or fractured ribs and are defined by shooting, sharp discomfort in the chest. If the chest hits the steering wheel or is restricted by a seatbelt during an accident, it is common for the ribs to be broken.
- Internal organ injuries: Any damage done to internal organs like the heart may manifest through chest pain and can also be a sign that a heart attack is coming. Along with chest pain, you may notice dizziness, headache, shortness of breath and fatigue if you have injuries to internal organs.
Because pain is subjective and varies from person to person, there is no definitive way to determine how severe your pain should be before you see a doctor. This means that it is better to be safe than sorry and always get checked out after an accident. If serious injuries are caused to the chest and you require compensation for medical bills, loss of income or pain and suffering because of an accident, documentation from a medical professional is vital to your personal injury case.
Should You See a Doctor Immediately or Wait?
You must obtain medical care within 14 days if you suffer injuries in a traffic accident in Florida, or else run the risk of your insurance company denying your claim. You should seek medical attention ASAP for two reasons:
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- Your well-being and health are at risk if you go longer without receiving treatment.
- It’s difficult to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident if you wait too long to seek treatment.
After you see a doctor, you should also document any ongoing and immediate medical expenses you incur. If you were not at fault in the accident but you are required to seek out extensive medical treatment, you should not have to pay for the care. Your personal injury attorney and car insurance company may require documentation and proof of your medical expenses to ensure that you get the care you deserve and the compensation to pay for it.
Should You Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident?
It may seem like you can navigate the legal system and the insurance claims process after an auto accident, but the reality is that things can get really complicated, quickly. If the other driver claims you were at fault, you may find it hard to get the insurance company to pay for your property repair and medical expenses. One way to protect against this is to hire a personal injury attorney immediately after an accident occurs. Consulting an attorney quickly can make all the difference in your case and your future.
No matter how small the accident, it’s important that you consult with a qualified personal injury attorney. If you have been injured in a Palm Beach County car accident, I encourage you to contact me, Brian D. Guralnick, personally to discuss your legal rights. To learn how the injury team at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers can help you Demand More® for your injuries, call 561-202-6673 now.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. If you need advice on specific legal issues, please consult with a licensed Personal Injury attorney.