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Aneurysm Caused By Blunt Force Trauma in a Car Crash

I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss personal injury law topics.

Today’s question comes from a caller concerned about a chest injury suffered in a rear-end collision.

The caller was in a car crash and even with a seatbelt and shoulder harness his chest slammed into the steering wheel causing pain and bruising, and when the ambulance got him to the ER his blood pressure was extremely high, and a CT scan showed an aortic artery aneurysm. He wanted to know his legal options.

Over the years, we’ve had several cases where a client involved in a collision suffered a cardiac injury.

These types of injuries have become less frequent due to airbags becoming a standard car option compared to a few decades ago.

But how would an attorney go about establishing that an injury to an artery connected to the heart was caused by the impact of a motor vehicle crash?

In this caller’s case, it was clear to the medical doctors that the crash damaged the main artery coming up from the heart, which is called the aortic artery. The fact that the artery was shown as enlarged on a CT scan immediately following the crash, coupled with the patient’s complaints of extreme chest pain, bruising, and elevated blood pressure, led the medical personnel to associate the crash with the findings of an enlargement or bulging in the artery visible on the CT scan films.

In our next podcast episode, we will discuss the difficulties posed by a cardiac injury that is not readily apparent and takes months to develop following an initial injury.

But, in the caller’s case, the impact, coupled with the high blood pressure, led his doctors to associate the aneurysm developing in the artery right where the impact of the steering wheel was felt with the crash.

But is an aneurysm caused by the blunt force trauma of a crash a significant injury that justifies taking a case to trial?

Well, it can be a very serious injury. Depending on the size of the aneurysm, it may require surgery. Repairing an aneurysm is a complicated surgery and can certainly result in death.

But even if the aneurysm is small, the patient will have to see a cardiologist and will likely require annual CT scans and perhaps even annual echocardiograms, to monitor the size of the aneurysm and ensure it is not enlarging. Further, the patient will most likely be on a lifetime of medications to control their blood pressure.

High blood pressure is one of the nontraumatic causes of an aneurysm and certainly will complicate an aneurysm that starts due to trauma.

The attorney has to work with the medical professionals to calculate the costs over a patient’s life of having to regularly get these cardiac tests and discuss with the medical professionals the prognosis of the aneurysm enlarging, the consequence of continued exposure to radiation year after year to get the CT scans, and other costs associated with monitoring the condition which was precipitated by the crash.

So in the caller’s case, our best advice was to hire an attorney to investigate the medical facts and establish the party at fault for the crash.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you are a victim of someone’s carelessness, substandard medical care, product defect, work injury, or another personal injury, please call (219) 736-9700 with your questions. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there, make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth.”