Chest Injuries and Your Virginia Car Accident

A Virginia car accident is a traumatic event that often leads to injuries, with drivers taking the brunt of the damage in their chests. There are a few reasons for this.

Firstly, depending on the force of the impact, seat belts can cut into a victim’s chest, sometimes deeply, resulting in injury. While seat belts certainly save lives and every driver and passenger needs to wear them, they are, nevertheless, very capable of causing trauma. Another common source of chest injuries in a car crash is when an unbuckled occupant slams into a vehicle’s dashboard or steering wheel. Those unlucky enough to be ejected from the vehicle will undoubtedly endure severe chest injuries, among others. 

What chest injuries am I at risk for in a Virginia car accident?

Chest injuries can vary from trivial but painful to catastrophic. Reach out to the Norfolk personal injury lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to discuss your legal options after being injured in a Virginia car accident. 

Common Chest Injuries Associated With a Virginia Car Accident

Broken or Bruised Ribs

car crash injuries

Your ribs can easily be bruised during a car crash. The telltale symptoms of bruised ribs are pain and tenderness, particularly when you inhale.

When ribs break, the victim usually endures even more severe pain. To make matters worse, people often develop pneumonia as a complication, which can be deadly in those with compromised immune systems and the elderly. In fact, a study published by the National Institute of Health shows that for every additional broken rib, those over the age of 65 experienced a 27% increase in their risk of pneumonia and a 20% increase in the risk of death. Multiple rib fractures are often fatal in senior citizens.  

Broken and bruised ribs will heal over time, but recovery can be problematic because the rib cage cannot be immobilized. Victims have to keep a close eye on their symptoms and greatly reduce their daily physical activity in order to heal properly. 

Pulled Chest Muscles

A traffic accident can cause the muscles, especially those in the chest, to tear and stretch. The first symptom of strained chest muscles is usually a persistent pain that increases in intensity when you try to pull or lift things.  

Chest muscle strains do not typically need surgery. Rather, victims are able to recover by resting the muscles and keeping ice on the injured area to reduce swelling. Getting ample rest is also very important so that injury is not worsened or aggravated.  

Broken Sternum 

The sternum, also known as the breastbone, is located in the middle of your chest. It is connected to your ribs with cartilage, and it moves with you as you breathe.

Even a minor car crash can cause a sternum to fracture. The initial symptom is usually a deep pain that occurs when you cough, laugh or breathe. Since your pectoral muscles are also connected to your sternum, you will also experience pain when you move or lift something.

The majority of sternal fractures will heal with rest, but victims will have to deal with a good deal of swelling and pain. If the fracture is serious, surgery might be needed to set the bone. The average sternal fracture will heal in about three months. 


Collapsed lungs, medically known as pneumothorax, are another chest injury commonly caused by vehicle accidents. A collapsed lung occurs when air makes its way into the area around the lung, causing increased pressure. Victims often experience an aching or tightness in their chest, an elevated heart rate, and shortness of breath. 

Immediate treatment is required to prevent severe injury or death. A physician may insert chest tubes into the victim to try and get rid of the excess air or an operation may be necessary. 

Speak to a Virginia Car Accident Attorney in Norfolk

Chest injuries are painful, and costly to treat, especially if surgery is involved. Even in a best-case scenario, the patient is still going to be out of work for a while and miss out on much-needed income. In this situation, Virginia law entitles injured victims to seek financial compensation from the person liable for the accident.

If you wish to file a claim for the chest injuries you sustained in a Virginia car accident, our attorneys can help.  Schedule your free consultation by calling the Norfolk car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp at (833) 997-1774. 

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