Yes. Car accidents can cause heart problems, especially a myocardial contusion (bruising of the heart tissue). All heart problems need to be treated as quickly as possible.
What is a myocardial contusion?
A myocardial contusion is a bruise on the heart itself. It happens from trauma to the chest, such as a sudden blow to the sternum or a car accident. Myocardial contusion is not the same thing as a heart attack, although the symptoms are similar in some cases. Both are very serious.
In a myocardial contusion, the most common part of the heart to be affected is the right ventricle. This is the chamber of the heart that takes in blood that has already circulated through the body, and pumps it into the lungs to get oxygen. Depending on the injury, other parts of the heart can also be affected.
How does a car accident cause a heart contusion?
There are several ways it can happen. The most direct is if a passenger without a seatbelt is thrown forward and slams their chest into the dashboard. This sudden impact can damage the heart.
It’s possible that a myocardial contusion could also be caused by the pressure of the seat belt restraining you. This is unlikely at lower speeds, but can happen in high-speed accidents or severe head-on collisions.
Myocardial contusion can also happen in motorcycle accidents and other situations where someone is thrown from a vehicle.
If you suffered any broken ribs in your accident, there’s a higher risk that you may also have a contusion of the heart.
How do I know if my car accident caused a myocardial contusion?
You’re likely to notice certain symptoms after your car accident. They won’t be the same for everyone, but the most common symptoms include:
- Sharp pain above the ribs
- Shortness of breath
- A sense of weakness or fatigue
- Increased heart rate
- Lightheaded feeling
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- In extreme cases, you may believe you’re having a heart attack
These symptoms may not develop right away after the accident. It’s possible for the condition to start small and get worse. Anytime you suspect you may have a heart problem, you need medical attention immediately.
Will my car accident claim cover heart problems?
The answer is yes, but be careful: insurance companies look for ways to deny heart claims. They will often make an argument that you must have already had a pre-existing heart condition, and that what happened is not related to the accident at all. This is an underhanded tactic designed to get them out of paying. Sadly, in many cases, it works—because many victims do not know their rights and don’t bother to get a lawyer.
All car accident claims are negotiable, and it’s possible to prove that your heart problem is directly related to the accident. Never face an insurance company without legal representation.
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