Georgia residents might benefit from learning more about breastbone injuries that can occur as a result of a car crash. The technical term for this type of injury is a sternum fracture. The sternum, or breastbone, is the bone along the midline of the chest that is attached to the rib bones by cartilage forming the front portion of the rib cage. The function of the rib cage is to protect major blood vessels and vital organs from being damaged by physical trauma.
Research shows that women are more susceptible to suffering a sternum fracture than men. Studies also determined that people over age 50 face an increased risk of suffering a breastbone injury while children are far less likely. Approximately 60 to 90 percent of all sternum fractures are attributable to auto accidents. These injuries are usually caused by not wearing seatbelts or a lack of air bag protection. These injuries may even occur if the chest is suddenly flexed in an extreme fashion.
Without the seatbelt, occupants are more likely to strike the steering wheel or dashboard with their breast bone when a collision occurs. Sternum fractures may also be associated with sports-related accidents or incidents occurring at the workplace. A crunching or grinding sound may be the first symptom of this type of injury. Patients suffering a sternum fracture may also exhibit inflammation, tenderness, bruising or pain near the site of the injury.
People suffering chest pain after a car accident may benefit from consulting legal counsel. Lawyers may be able to investigate the crash and help determine whether or not anyone can be held accountable for the ensuing injuries. If lawyers can prove that the defendant committed driver negligence, the plaintiff may be entitled to recover restitution that helps account for repair costs, medical expenses and loss of income caused by the crash.