Why Chest Pain After a Crash in Sacramento Should Not Be Ignored

young woman at home clutching her chest in painChest pain after a car crash could be the result of muscle strain caused by the force of impact when your car hits another vehicle or something else. However, it could also be a severe, even life-threatening injury. Regardless of what you think it may be, chest pain is not something you should take lightly or ignore. It could be a serious injury that will only worsen without treatment.

At Arnold Law, we have been strong advocates for the injured in California for decades, recovering millions in compensation for our clients. We take your injuries and concerns seriously and have a deep commitment to recovering compensation for your medical bills and other damages caused by the negligence of others.

Injured in a car crash? Our auto accident lawyers in Sacramento are prepared to work tirelessly on your behalf.

Call to request a FREE case review today. (916) 777-7777

Why Is Chest Pain After a Car Crash a Common Experience?

People tend to tense up during a collision, so it is very common to have muscle aches and strains afterward. The other thing that is common after a crash is the way your body pumps adrenaline during a traumatic event. This fight or flight reaction can mask pain for hours, even when the crash victim has a life-threatening injury.

Crash victims who see no visible sign of an injury may often believe they are fine. If they feel any discomfort, they might dismiss it,  assuming it is a minor muscle strain that will go away on its own. However, if the injuries are severe, things will only get worse, and the only way to be sure about what is going on is by seeking immediate medical attention at a nearby emergency room.

Hospital ERs are the best place to go after a car crash because they are always open, and they have specialists and equipment onsite. This means you have a greater chance of being quickly diagnosed and treated for your crash injuries. With severe injuries, even 30 minutes can be the difference between surviving an injury or not.

When Is Chest Pain a Cause for Concern After a Car Crash?

Any chest pain could be a cause for concern. However, there are certain symptoms after a crash that may indicate a severe internal injury or medical condition.

For instance, if you experience pain or discomfort when:

  • Breathing
  • Moving even slightly
  • Coughing, laughing, sneezing
  • Not moving at all

Additional symptoms to watch for include heaviness, tightness or squeezing in your chest, accompanied by chest or arm pain, or pain in the chest area. These are often signs of a heart attack, which can sometimes be brought on by the stress and trauma of a car crash.

If you have not yet sought treatment and you experience continued chest pain that is severe or worsening, you should get an immediate medical evaluation. Any dizziness, vomiting or fainting could also indicate a life-threatening internal injury.

What Types of Injuries Could Cause Chest Pain After a Car Crash?

There are multiple internal injuries you can sustain in a car crash, some of which may be life-threatening. The most common injuries that can cause chest pain include:

Muscle Strain

When crash victims tense up before impact, it can cause inflammation in their muscles. If you are jolted violently enough during a collision, your muscles could get stretched and twisted in unnatural ways. This sudden and unexpected movement can cause severe chest pain that lasts for days or longer.

That said, it is never a good idea to assume your injuries are minor. You simply cannot know what is going on internally without getting diagnostic testing that could include echocardiograms, CT scans, MRIs and X-rays.

Bruising and Musculoskeletal Injuries

When properly worn, your seat belt goes across the center of your sternum and lower ribs. During a crash, the seat belt gets activated and tightens, placing a large amount of pressure on your rib cage. While you may not see the evidence immediately, this pressure could cause you to end up with bruised ribs.

You could also experience this type of bruising, along with one or more fractured ribs if your torso is hit by a deploying airbag or strikes the steering wheel in your vehicle. If you fracture a rib, it could lead to severe secondary injuries, such as a punctured lung.


Whiplash is one of the most common car crash injuries victims complain about. While typically this injury causes severe injuries and pain to a victim’s neck, it can also cause chest pain. This is because of the many interconnected nerves, muscles and other soft tissue.

Internal Organ Injuries

Crash victims could suffer blunt force trauma in a car crash, which could be another cause of chest pain. You could have a punctured lung, ruptured spleen, internal bleeding or other severe tissue damage.

Internal damage involving bleeding, lacerations or ruptured organs can be life-threatening without immediate medical treatment.

Heart Attack

The stress, anxiety and fear of a car crash can sometimes create enough trauma in the body to cause a heart attack.

What Should I Do If I Have Chest Pain After a Car Crash?

Getting a proper medical examination and diagnostic testing is the best way to rule out a severe or life-threatening injury. The worst thing you can do is to try and diagnose yourself, either by assuming you have something minor or looking things up on the internet.

Once you get a proper diagnosis, it is vital that you follow your treating doctor’s recommendations until he or she discharges you. This means resting and limiting the amount of physical activity according to your doctor’s plan of care. If he or she prescribes physical therapy, be sure to follow through with that as well.

Once your injuries have been stabilized, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney to determine if you have a case for taking legal action. An injury claim or lawsuit could help you to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, physical therapy, pain and suffering and more.

Call Our Sacramento Law Office To Discuss Your Situation After a Crash

After a crash due to another driver’s negligence, you may feel like you have a long time to decide whether or not to file a claim against the at-fault party. However, the statute of limitations in California limits how long you have to recover damages.

If you do not file a lawsuit prior to the end of the two-year deadline, you will likely be barred from recovering any compensation for your damages. Unfortunately, many crash victims may wait until it is too late to call an attorney. Do not put off making this very important phone call.

Even if you are unsure whether you may have a valid case, you should call an attorney. We take car crash cases on contingency, which means there are no upfront costs or fees to pay.

At Arnold Law Firm, we have the resources and staff to fight for the full and fair compensation you need.

Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. (916) 777-7777