What Should I Do If I Have Chest Pain After A Car Accident?

Last updated on: January 5, 2021


A car accident can be serious and may cause severe injuries.  Many car crash victims experience chest pain.  Chest pain may be a sign of a serious medical emergency.

Seek medical attention if you notice chest pains following a car accident.  Chest pain could indicate bruising or a strain, but it could also be as serious as a fractured rib or an injury to internal organs.

If you or a loved one is suffering chest pain following a car accident, call our personal injury lawyers of Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation.

What Should I Do If I Have Chest Pain AFTER a Car Accident?

Following a car accident, victims should always seek medical attention as soon as possible to assess any injuries.  Even if the victim is not experiencing any pain immediately following the accident, factors such as adrenaline and shock could mask symptoms of pain.  Medical professionals may determine if there are any hidden injuries. A medical record stating your diagnosis will be necessary for any potential future claims.

Chest pain is serious and should not be taken lightly.  The pain could be a muscle strain or bruising from the seat belt, but the pain could also be an indication of injury to the heart, surrounding tissue, or a bone fracture in the chest or ribs.  It is crucial to seek medical attention to determine what the cause of pain is. 

Steps to Take

If you are experiencing chest pain after a car accident, follow these steps:

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

Call 911 or instruct someone else to call on your behalf if your injuries are severe.  Time may be of the essence when it comes to chest pain.  Seeking medical attention as soon as possible can help mitigate injuries.  A doctor will need to perform diagnostic tests that may involve an x-ray.  Having a doctor diagnose you and determine the cause of pain will help you recover properly. 

Document the Incident

Document as much of the incident as you can remember while it is still fresh in your mind.  If you can, take pictures of the scene.  Collect contact information from witnesses as well as license plate numbers and insurance information from the other driver.  This information will be crucial to your case should you decide to file a lawsuit for the car accident that caused your chest pain.

Talk with a Lawyer

Talk with an experienced car accident lawyer.  Our lawyers have helped many victims who have suffered chest pain after an accident and may be able to help you with your case.

How Serious Can Chest Pains Be?

Chest pain can take many forms, ranging from a dull ache to sharp, stabbing pain.  Chest pain can also feel like it is crushing your chest cavity.  Other times, chest pain can cause a burning sensation.  Chest pain may also radiate up the neck or down into the arms.

After a car accident, chest pain can be caused by many different problems.  The most serious cause could be an injury to the heart and lungs.  Chest pains can be very serious and are the type of injury that will require medical imaging and a doctor’s diagnosis to determine the cause.

If moving your arms, shoulders, or torso causes pain in your chest, you may have an internal injury.  If you experience chest pain when coughing, sneezing, breathing deeply, or lying on your stomach, you should get examined by a medical professional.  Even if your pain seems minor, always check with a doctor to be sure that your injuries are not more serious than you think.

Why is Chest Pain After an Accident so Common?

Chest pain is very common after a car accident.  The pain can be caused by seat belts or airbags that have safety mechanisms in place to help protect you.  Sometimes, to prevent further and more serious injury, the seat belts and airbags can cause minor damage of their own. 

The driver is also in close proximity to the steering wheel and dashboard, which might be struck by the chest if the seat belt is not worn or the airbags do not deploy.  The sudden impact from a car crash can cause a person’s body to be thrown forward.  The restraint from the seat belt is designed to lock and hold your body in place.  Since the seat belt is designed to lie across the chest, this can cause chest pain after an accident.

Chest pain can sometimes be felt for the first time months after a car accident.  This can occur due to trauma on the chest that causes bruising or internal muscle tears that may not be apparent until later.

Common Causes of Chest Pain After a Car Accident

Causes of chest pain after being in a car accident can include:

Muscle Strain

A traumatic event to the body such as a car crash can strain various muscles.  You might strain your chest muscles as a result of the impact, and this can cause intense pain.

Read More: Soft Tissue Injury Lawyers

Bruised Ribs

Bruises are common after a car accident as your body may be jostled around during the impact.  The muscles and bones in the chest such as the ribs and sternum can be bruised as a result of hitting the steering wheel or being held down by the seat belt.

Fractured or Broken Ribs

Chest pain can also be caused by fractured ribs or other bones in the sternum after an accident.  Fractured ribs can cause a sharp or stabbing pain in the chest.  A broken rib could puncture a lung and cause the lung to collapse.

Internal Organ Injuries

Damage to internal organs such as the liver, lungs, kidneys, spleen, or heart can cause chest pains.  These types of injuries are very severe and life-threatening.  Lungs can bruise and cause swelling and a buildup of fluid.  A collapsed lung can lead to shortness of breath and chest pain.


Whiplash is a neck injury that is caused when the head is suddenly jerked forwards then backward.  Whiplash is most commonly caused by rear-end car accidents.  Whiplash may cause pain in the shoulder, upper back, chest, or arms in addition to the neck.

Heart Attack

Any highly stressful or traumatic event, such as a car accident, can trigger a heart attack.  Heart attacks commonly cause chest pains.


You may have a serious injury if you have pain or discomfort in the chest when you are not moving, when pressure is applied to the chest, when you cough, sneeze, or laugh, or when you make any movements.  These signs and symptoms could indicate a serious injury, and you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.


Avoiding car accidents may be difficult to do, but making sure you are protected if a car accident does occur might be the difference between life and death.  The only physical barriers between you and the windshield, dashboard, or steering wheel your seat belt and airbags.  Modern cars will sometimes have a light on the dash indicating the functionality of the airbag.  Make sure you always wear a seat belt and that your airbags are in working condition.

Read More: Seat Belt Failure Injury Lawyers 

Can I File a Claim for Chest Pains?

Yes.  If your injury was caused by a car accident, the other party may be liable or responsible for your injuries.  In many cases, your auto insurance or the other party’s auto insurance may compensate you.

Chest pains may be just one symptom of many injuries you suffer.  Any injury can include costs such as medical care, hospital bills, and medication or treatment costs.  Filing a claim for your chest pains will ensure that if someone else is liable for your damages, you will be able to seek compensation for any injuries or damages.

You may be entitled to compensation if your chest pain results from the negligence of another driver in a car accident.  You may be able to recover lost wages in the event that your injuries prevent you from working, pain and suffering associated with the accident, and emotional distress.  If you have chest pain after a car accident, contact one of our car accident lawyers; so we may help you determine the value of your case. 


At Zinda Law Group, our experienced personal injury lawyers have handled many cases involving car accident victims who have suffered chest pains.  We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek the best possible outcome for your case.

Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.  You will pay nothing unless we win your case.  That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.

Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.