| Read Time: 6 minutes | Car Accident

If you have recently been in a car accident, it is commonly believed that all injuries are immediately obvious. External damage and internal pain are assessed right after the crash. But one of the most alarming experiences is sudden chest pain hours, days, or even weeks afterward. This is known as delayed chest pain after a car 1accident, and it’s more common than you might think.

What causes delayed chest pain, and how can you make sure that you get the medical coverage you need even if the insurance claim is already filed? The dedicated Phoenix car accident attorneys of Hutzler Law can help you navigate this upsetting situation with the least stress on your system so you can focus on recovery and receive a fair injury insurance settlement.

When does delayed chest pain after car accident occur?

Delayed chest pain after a car accident usually occurs due to the adrenaline rush masking pain or soft tissue injuries developing inflammation over time. In addition, delayed chest pain can also be caused by internal injuries that may not be immediately apparent or psychological effects that can initially obscure pain sensations.

What Causes Delayed Chest Pain After a Car Crash?

Chest pain is one of the scariest types of pain to surprise you because it is commonly associated with heart disease and cardiac distress. Fortunately, delayed chest pain from car accidents is less likely to be related to a heart attack and more likely to come from bruises, sprains, strains, or torn soft tissue around your chest area. 

In fact, the chest area may receive more impact damage than you may have initially realized because so many safety and car features are placed at chest level to stop your body from flying forward upon vehicle impact. Here are the most common causes of chest pain after a car accident, delayed or otheriwse.

Seatbelt Bruising

Seatbelts cross the chest and upon impact, become rigid to keep you from flying forward. However, this means the full inertial stop is translated directly through the belt and into your chest. It is quite common to have a chest and shoulder seatbelt injury after a car accident, but the impact is distributed in a way that there might not be a visible bruise despite the presence of pain and damage to your ribs or soft tissue.

Airbag Impacts

If your airbags deploy, the impact can be like a punch in the chest. Again, the distributed force of the bag might not leave a visible bruise, but you may have still suffered damage to the bones or tissue within your chest where the airbag hit.

Slamming Into the Steering Wheel

Drivers are at an even greater risk of chest damage, especially in lower-speed crashes where the seatbelt or airbag may not deploy. This is because of the steering wheel. If you are thrown forward into the steering wheel, you may have been injured in the chest area, but not immediately notice.

Cracked or Bruised Ribs

Any of these impacts, or the impact of being thrown to the side into a car door or console, can cause one (or more) of your ribs to crack or bruise. Fractures and bone bruises occur deep below the skin so you might not notice the damage right away. 

Soft Tissue Damage

Lastly, the impact of a car accident may cause soft tissue damage, such as torn or sprained muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These injuries are not always visible and can take time to develop before they reach their peak painful status.

Why Is Chest Pain Delayed Instead of Immediately Noticed?

How can you get injured an not notice it for days or sometimes even weeks before feeling the pain? You might be surprised how common delayed pain is after a car accident, especially delayed chest pain where the damage is not visible on your skin. There are several reasons why chest pain could be delayed after a car accident.

Adrenaline and Endorphins

When you experience a traumatic event, your body releases adrenaline and endorphins. Both have a pain-numbing and distracting effect while giving you tons of energy. It’s part of your survival instinct, so that you can fight off danger or run away before being distracted by any injuries you might get along the way.

Most people have experienced a lesser version of this, like not realizing that your knee is badly scraped after a bicycle crash or that your ankle is sprained until you have time to cool down after a childhood fall.

Brain Injury

Sometimes, delayed pain is the result of a minor brain injury, where your brain fails to notice the pain immediately after the accident because you took a bump to the head. Only after the bump starts to heal do you notice that your nerves failed to register initially.

Swelling and Tenderness

Soft tissue damage gets worse for a few hours or days after the damage. For example, when you sprain your ankle and it swells to painful tenderness over the next few hours, but it only hurts a little at first. The same is true of soft tissue damage in your chest after a car accident. You may not notice the pain until the tissue swells and becomes tender.

Motion-Activated Pain

Then, there are pains that you only notice after certain movements. A cracked rib or sprained tendon, for example, might feel fine when you are resting after the accident, but you notice when you bend, twist, or reach for something that suddenly puts new pressure on before-unnoticed injury.

How Can Your Lawyer Help with Delayed Chest Pain After a Car Accident?

Delayed pain is one of the most challenging situations to deal with after a car accident because the insurance claim has already been filed and injuries have already been officially documented. Insurance companies are prone to deny the addition of new injuries, often accusing the injured of trying to stack on a more recent injury into the claim. However, if you know that your delayed chest pain is the result of the accident, a skilled Pheonix car accident lawyer can ammend your claim and defend your right to a settlement that includes medical coverage for the newly revealed chest injury.

Call Hutzler Law to connect with an attorney dedicated to protecting your rights to fair and complete insurance coverage after car accident injuries. You can get started right away by calling 602-730-4530 or reaching out through our online form.

Why Insurance Companies Try to Deny Delayed Pain Injuries

If delayed pain injuries are so common, why is the insurance company so hostile when you try to amend your car accident injury claim? It’s not entirely their fault. People try to get unrelated injuries included in accident claims all the time, so insurance companies have gotten jumpy and defensive about any “plus one” injury that is added after the initial injury tally is taken.

Insurance companies stay in business by only paying as much in settlements as they have to, and getting scammed is a constant danger. This means that when people have a legitimate delayed pain injury after a car accident, it’s important to take all the right steps to ensure that injury is properly added to your insurance claim in a way that the insurance company can’t deny.

Fortunately, a good car accident lawyer is the key to getting through the insurance company’s defenses.

How to Prove Delayed Chest Pain from a Car Accident

When you need to prove that delayed chest pain comes from a car accident injury, simply follow this three-step process.

1. Get Evidence From Your Doctor

First, visit your doctor or head to a local hospital with an X-ray service. Get fully checked out. Explain your recent car accident and have your doctor fully investigate your chest injury. They will prod the soft tissue, x-ray the ribs, and help you determine the exact source (and recovery plan) for your injury.

Then ask your doctor to put together a complete evidentiary report on the injury and what caused it.

2. Document the Timeline

Keep a dated journal of your symptoms. Note when and how the pain first appeared, the medical checkups you went through, and the evidence collected. Keeping a clear timeline can help reinforce that the injury resulted from the car accident and not a more recent injury.

3. Work With Your Lawyer

Give a copy of your medical documentation to your car accident lawyer, and they will do the rest. Your lawyer will file an ammendment to the insurance claim, defend your injury as related to the car accident, and keep the insurance company from minimizing your injury to reduce the amount they need to pay for medical recovery costs. Your lawyer will then fight for a fair settlement amount and make sure that you get what you need.

How Hutzler Law Can Help With Your Delayed Chest Pain Injury in Arizona

If you are experiencing delayed chest pain after a car crash, the dedicated Phoenix car accident attorneys of Hutzler Law are here to help. Hutzler Law is a Top-Rated Phoenix personal injury law firm that helps victims of accidents and injuries recover and get the compensation they deserve. We will help you document your injury and fight for your right to a full and fair insurance settlement that covers all of your medical needs. Contact us today for your initial consultation by calling 602-730-4530 or get in touch through our online form.

Author Photo

Jason Hutzler

Jason Hutzler is the founding partner of Phoenix personal injury law firm Hutzler Law, and represents individuals throughout Arizona. His practice is primarily dedicated to personal injury and car accident claims, leveraging his deep expertise as a former insurance adjustor to navigate the complexities of insurance negotiations.

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