Chest injuries can be serious and even life-threatening, whether they involve a puncture or a blow to the chest. An injury to the chest can affect organs like the heart, lungs, and esophagus as well as the ribs, blood vessels, soft tissue, and bone. A chest injury can even result in a spinal cord injury.
What are the Most Common Types of Chest Injuries?
The chest is full of muscles, bones, and organs. A chest injury is affects one or more of these body parts. The most common type of chest injuries are:
- Stab wounds or gunshot wounds
- Collapsed lung
- Broken ribs
- Fractured sternum
- Flail chest, a dangerous condition in which a part of the ribcage is broken and detaches, causing chest pain and other symptoms
- Pulmonary injury to the lung
- Ruptured diaphragm
- Cardiac injury to the heart such as a heart rupture or aortic rupture
- Chest wall hematoma
- Chest wall contusion
Even a seemingly minor chest injury can lead to life-threatening complications if it isn’t treated promptly.
What Causes Chest Injuries?
Chest injuries are usually sustained in accidents, but they may also be the result of intentional harm or a crime. The following are the most common causes of chest injuries.
Traffic crashes are perhaps the leading cause of chest injuries in the United States. In a crash, a chest injury can occur due to blunt force trauma or a puncture injury to the chest. A chest injury can be caused by an airbag or seatbelt, even when it functions as intended, a projectile puncturing the chest, or the chest hitting a hard surface like the steering wheel.
These serious injuries can occur in:
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 80% of all serious car crash injuries involve the chest or head.
Trauma to the chest also accounts for nearly 35% of all trauma-related deaths in the country.
Among these fatal thoracic injuries, about 80% occurred in a motor vehicle accident.
In 2019 alone, there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace illnesses and injuries reported by employers in the United States. Over 888,000 required at least one day off work. A workplace injury can occur at virtually any job site, although the construction and retail industries have the highest rates of injury.
Chest injuries can occur on the job in many scenarios, including accidents that involve a fall, machinery accidents, work-related traffic accidents, forklift accidents, and being caught in/between an object.
Slip and Fall Accidents
While slip and fall accidents are most likely to result in back injury, knee injury, or head injury, a serious fall can also result in an injury to the chest. A serious fall can cause chest contusion, fractured ribs, and other injuries. Many chest injuries are the result of a fall from a great height which can cause impact trauma to the chest.
Sadly, many chest injuries in Texas are not the result of an accident but intentional harm caused by someone else. Many injuries to the chest are caused by a gunshot or a stab wound from a knife. Both of these assault injuries can be fatal and give rise to a wrongful death claim or lead to life-changing injuries like a penetrating injury to the lungs or heart.
What Damages are Available For a Chest Injury?
When someone else’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing causes you injury, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages. There are two broad types of damages you may be entitled to: economic damages (for damages with a clear financial value) and non-economic damages (which includes pain and suffering).
You may be entitled to many forms of compensation for your chest injury:
- Medical bills, including emergency room treatment, surgery, hospitalization, doctor visits, prescription medication, physical therapy, and more. This includes not only the expenses you face immediately after your accident but also anticipated future medical costs.
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Lost wages for time you needed to take off work to recover
- Lost future earning capacity or disability if you cannot return to work or cannot return to your field
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
Getting an attorney involved in your case can help to ensure that your damages are identified and calculated properly.
What if I Share Some of the Blame For My Chest Injury?
It’s important to remember that Texas uses a modified comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, you are barred from recovering any damages if you are more than 50% at fault for your accident.
If you are found less than 51% at fault, your damages will be reduced based on your share of blame.
For example, if it’s determined that you were 15% at fault for a crash and you were awarded $100,000 in damages by a jury, your damages would be reduced by 15% ($15,000) based on your share of fault.
Is There a Time Limit For Filing a Chest Injury Case in Texas?
In most cases, you are faced with a strict statute of limitations of just two years for personal injury lawsuits in Texas. If you do not file a lawsuit before this statute of limitations runs out, you are barred from pursuing compensation through the legal system. An investigation may take time, and it may also take time for you to reach maximum medical improvement before negotiating a settlement. The faster you act, the easier it will be to protect your claim and recover the compensation you deserve.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer
A chest injury can leave you with life-changing consequences, mounting medical bills, and lengthy time away from work– if you are ever able to return. You deserve a personal injury lawyer who will fight for you, protect your rights, and seek the compensation you need from an uncaring insurance company.
Jason Stephens will help you in any way he can and serve as your advocate every step of the way. Contact Stephens Law Firm, PLLC today at (817) 420-7000 to schedule a free case review with a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim.
Our personal injury law firm in Fort Worth, TX also provides:
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