One of the more dangerous injuries a person might receive in a car accident is a sternum fracture. The majority of people who suffer from sternum fracture injuries receive them in motor vehicle accidents, and they are at greater risk if their airbags do not work or they are not wearing seat belts.
Sternum fractures occur with blunt force trauma to the chest. The injuries normally result in pain, swelling or tenderness in the chest region, wheezing or difficulties breathing when the person laughs, sneezes or coughs, a deformed appearance to the rib cage, muscle spasms or grinding or crunching sounds at the injury site.
Sternum fractures often also involve other injuries, including spinal cord injuries, rib fractures, vertebral fractures and injuries to the heart or lungs. People may also have damaged abdominal organs, ruptured blood vessels, damaged aortas or blood in the chest. Some people who suffer a sternum fracture may also subsequently develop bone infections and pneumonia. People with sternum fractures have a death rate of 25 to 45 percent following the injury. Treatment and recovery can last anywhere from 10 to 24 weeks, with chest pain being present throughout the treatment and recovery period.
In order to reduce the risk of having a sternum fracture, people may want to make certain the airbags in their cars are in working order and that they always use the provided seat belts. In the event people are seriously injured in motor vehicle collisions, they may want to meet with an attorney in order to review the facts of their cases. A personal injury lawsuit could be filed seeking a range of damages including the costs of required medical care and treatment.