Chest Injuries After a Car Accident

Attorney Michele S. Mirman

If you or a loved one has suffered a chest injury after being involved in a car accident in New York City, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C. to discuss your case and learn about your potential options for recovery. Our NYC car accident lawyers will gladly help you fight to get the money you need and deserve.

With more than 200 years of experience and $1 Billion recovered for our clients, you can rest assured that your case will be in good hands. We offer a free consultation, so give our NYC law office a call to schedule yours today.

Injuries to the Chest Are Common After a Car Accident

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, there’s a good chance that you’ve sustained an injury to your chest. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 80 percent of all severe car accident injuries affect the head or chest. That’s 4 out of every 5 car accident injuries. 

In 2018, there were 44,300 car accident injuries reported across all five boroughs in New York City. So, more than 35,000 people might have sustained head or chest injuries in collisions in the city that year. That’s nearly 97 chest or head injuries every single day.

Chest injuries aren’t just common, they can also be deadly. Studies suggest that thoracic injuries – those involving the chest – account for more than one-third of all trauma-related deaths across the nation.

Factors That Influence the Risk of Suffering a Chest injury in a Car Accident

Of course, there are a lot of different factors that can influence the likelihood that you’ll sustain a chest injury in a crash.


Chest injuries become more likely as you get older. This is because, as we age, we’re more likely to develop underlying health conditions that can affect the body’s ability to handle trauma. Decreased cardiac output, reduced muscle strength, and bone weakness can all increase the risk of sustaining chest injuries.

Type of Crash

There are a lot of different types of car accidents. Studies show that the type of impact can increase or decrease the likelihood of sustaining trauma to the chest. Chest injuries are reported most commonly after:

  • Frontal collisions
  • Rollovers
  • Left-side impact crashes, and
  • Right-side impact collisions.

Rear-end collisions can also cause chest injuries, but they tend to occur less frequently. Rather, neck injuries are more commonly reported after a rear-end crash.

Where You’re Sitting in the Car

Regardless of what type of car accident you’re in, occupants sitting in the front of a vehicle are more likely to sustain chest injuries than those in the rear. One study found that, in an accident, passengers in the front seat of a car are more likely than anyone else to suffer a chest injury. Drivers were next, followed by passengers in the rear.

Why? Front passengers and drivers can sustain trauma when an airbag deploys, especially if they are seated close to the dashboard.

Types of Chest Injuries Caused By a Car Accident

Chest injury is a broad term that’s used to reference several different types of trauma involving the chest. Some of the most common chest injuries that occupants of a motor vehicle experience because of an accident include:

Fractured, Broken, or Bruised Ribs

The ribs form a cage that protects several vital organs in the chest. During an accident, the force of impact can cause these bones to break or fracture. This can happen when the chest is restricted by the seatbelt or if the ribs come into contact with the dashboard, steering wheel, other parts of the car. Additionally, the force of a deploying airbag can also be strong enough to cause bruised or broken ribs.

Internal Organ Damage

The trauma and impact of a collision can put a lot of strain on the body. It’s not uncommon for severe accidents to damage internal organs, including the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and spleen. Fractured ribs can also pose a danger, as the jagged edges of bones can puncture the organs they were supposed to protect.

Internal Bleeding

The force of an accident can also cause internal bleeding, which, if not treated immediately, can be life-threatening. 

Muscle Strains

When you’re in an accident, your body might tense up in an effort to protect itself. However, this can cause the muscles in your chest to strain – or stretch and twist in usual ways. A muscle strain can weaken your body’s ability to function properly.

Takotsubo Syndrome

Takotsubo Syndrome is a type of sudden heart failure, caused by a weakened left ventricle. Also known as broken heart syndrome, it’s associated with severe psychological stress, such as that associated with a traumatic car accident. 

Ruptured Diaphragm

The diaphragm is a muscle that sits at the bottom of the ribcage and plays an important role in respiration. Blunt force trauma to the chest can cause the diaphragm to tear or rupture. This can lead to difficulty breathing and severe respiratory distress.

Puncture Wounds

Sometimes debris or parts of a vehicle become projectiles during an accident. When this happens, it’s possible to sustain puncture wounds to the chest. It is important to leave any objects embedded in the chest in place. Removing them could cause more harm than good.

Symptoms of a Chest Injury After a Car Accident

Not all chest injuries will be immediately evident after an accident. Sometimes it might take hours or days for symptoms of a thoracic injury to develop. After an accident, keep an eye out for these symptoms, which could indicate that you’ve sustained a severe chest injury:

  • Chest pain, including dull and stabbing pains
  • Increased pain while laughing, coughing, talking, or sneezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Flail chest, where the chest wall does not move in unison, and
  • Bruising.

Keep in mind that chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack or spinal cord injury. So, seeking medical attention as soon as you can after an accident is important. Chest injuries, left untreated, can be incredibly severe and life-threatening. 

Causes of Chest Injuries in a Car Accident

Why are chest injuries so common? What causes so many car accident victims to sustain trauma to the chest? Factors that contribute to chest injuries can include:

  • The force of a seat belt, harness, or child restraint system tightening on the chest during a collision
  • The force of frontal airbags deploying in an auto accident
  • Projectiles from a defective airbag when it explodes, and
  • Hitting the steering wheel, dashboard, door, roof, or other parts of a vehicle.

Keep in mind that while seatbelts and airbags can contribute to chest injuries, the benefits of these safety devices tend to outweigh the risks. Injuries are more likely to be fatal when passengers fail to wear seatbelts and/or airbags do not deploy properly.

Damages Available to Chest Injury Victims in New York City

The costs of a chest injury can be shocking. Over the course of your life, severe trauma to the chest might require long-term medical care, keep you out of work, and limit the ways in which you can enjoy your life. When your chest injury is someone else’s fault, Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C. will fight to hold them accountable. 

We’ll pursue all available damages on your behalf, including money for:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Rehabilitation
  • Therapy
  • Present and future lost wages
  • Disability
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Emotional distress
  • Property damage, and more.

Sometimes the long-term consequences of a chest injury can be hard to discern. Insurance companies will try to use that as a way to limit your financial payout. Our NYC personal injury lawyers will work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. We’ll consult with medical experts, psychologists, vocational rehabilitation professionals, and anyone else who can help us determine what your injuries are likely worth.

Call Our NYC Car Accident Attorneys For Help Today 

Are you experiencing chest pain after a car accident in NYC? You could be entitled to compensation from the driver, other motorists, product manufacturers, or other negligent parties. The NYC personal injury attorneys at Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C. will help you navigate a personal injury claim and demand the money you deserve. 

Give our NYC law office a call to arrange a free initial case assessment and learn more. You only have a limited period of time in which you can file a claim for damages, so do not hesitate to contact us for help today.