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How a Car Accident Causes Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attacks

heartbeat monitor results with a person holding a pencil wearing blue medical gloves

Car accidents are a well-known source of a host of injuries, both physical and emotional. Most frequently, the trauma applied to the body results in broken bones, whiplash, and internal injuries. Less commonly known is the fact that crashes of any degree can just as easily cause heart attacks and cardiac arrest. Both injuries can have a detrimental effect on the body and prevent normal blood circulation, and accident victims deserve fair compensation for these injuries even if the condition was preexisting.

Conditions Spurred by Accidents

There are a few documented illnesses that either result from or are exacerbated by a crash. These include:

Takotsubo Syndrome

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy refers to the weakening of the heart’s main pumping chamber (the left ventricle) and occurs suddenly because of severe stress. Car accidents, domestic violence, asthma attacks and unexpected emotional pain (such as a death in the family) are a few possible triggers for this condition. Experts don’t have a definitive understanding of the condition’s causes, but some speculate the sudden spike in adrenaline stuns the heart and prevents the ventricle from contracting.

Atrial Fibrillation (a-fib)

A-fib is a common type of heart arrhythmia that weakens the heart’s ability to properly pump blood throughout the body. Heartbeat arrhythmias are a form of heart disease that create a heartbeat pattern that is either too fast or too slow. The upper and lower chambers of the heart work in tandem to propel blood throughout the body. When these chambers are not aligned properly, and one is pumping at a different rate from the other, the heart cannot serve its important functions. A car accident can aggravate this condition and can even lie dormant until stressors occur.

Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

The most common type of cardiac arrest today is a heart attack. Trauma to the chest can cause a cardiac contusion (bruising) that damages the heart muscle and interrupts normal blood circulation. A loss of blood flow to the body can cause permanent injuries including the loss of brain function. Crash victims who experience chest discomfort, sweating, shortness of breath and nausea should immediately report symptoms to EMTs and seek medical attention.

Pre-Existing Conditions Defense

Insurance agencies dodging payouts will use “pre-existing conditions” to deny accident victims their rightful settlements. However, even victims who have a history of heart disease have successfully argued that the sudden trauma they endured spurred a condition that was otherwise under control to crop up. An experienced personal injury attorney is your best advocate to argue that the your accident exacerbated an existing heart problem or created new complications.

Damages Available

A car accident victim who went into cardiac arrest can sue for compensatory damages (monetary compensation for your losses).

  • Medical Bills: Perhaps the most common form of damages, medical expenses are frequently a large financial strain on the victim. Medical damages will cover the cost of the immediate treatment. In some cases, an experienced personal Injury attorney can obtain future expenses for continuing and lifelong treatment.
  • Lost Wages: Accident victims who need time off to recover from their injuries entirely can sue for lost wages. For the more extreme cases, such as long term disability, or being forced to change careers entirely, you may be entitled to the loss of future income as a result of your injuries.
  • Pain and Suffering: Damages that compensate victims for emotional distress. These are non-economic results of an accident that leave victims with long-lasting trauma.
  • Punitive Damages: A form of compensation awarded to the victim of personal injury assessed solely to punish the defendant. These damages are uncommon, as the victim must prove the offender’s intent or willful misconduct. 

Representation for Cardiac Arrest After a Car Accident

Navigating the legal system after a crash should be the last thing on your mind. Hiring an attorney will ensure you get the best settlement possible. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Maginnis Howard offer free consultations for personal injury cases. In preparation for a meeting with a lawyer, you should prepare to share details of the case and relevant documents.

If we can help, your attorney will guide you through the process of filing a claim and reaching a settlement. Further, our firm is prepared to take your matter to trial if necessary. You can contact our lead personal injury attorney Shawn Howard by calling our office at (919) 526-0450. You can also submit an email request through our contact page.