There are countless types of injuries that drivers and passengers can sustain in a motor vehicle crash. One that you may not be familiar with is known as a flail chest. Just reading a description of it can make a person wince.
This sort of injury results from “blunt trauma to the chest” from being slammed against a steering wheel in a crash, for example. The skin may not even be punctured.
Flail chest occurs when someone has three consecutive ribs with numerous fractures. A portion of the chest wall can therefore become detached from other areas of the chest wall. A victim’s blood vessels or lungs can also be affected.
Indications of flail chest
This is an injury of the utmost, potentially life-threatening seriousness. You should be thoroughly evaluated by a medical professional and treated right away if you have these problems:
- A chest that is reddened, bruised and painful
- Labored respiration
- One area of the chest does not rise and fall along with the rest of the chest when inhaling and exhaling (this is a classic, telltale indication of flail chest)
- Intense chest pain
What happens after you sustain a flail chest?
If the flail chest injury you have is a major one, your recovery might take as long as a year. That could potentially upend your entire life as you knew it, preventing you from doing things like going to work, driving and pursuing normal daily activities. There could be lifelong aftereffects. Your age and general health status can figure into how well you recover and how long it takes.
What about long-term implications?
Such a serious, complex injury can have a ripple effect on your life for quite a while. Compensation for it won’t automatically fix everything, but it might help ease you through this challenging time.