Stomach pain following an accident can be the symptom that a serious injury has occurred and one you do not want to ignore. Whether being ejected from a vehicle and landing hard on your stomach or being thrown into the steering wheel, swelling and pain afterward can be a sign that something is wrong. This is one of the reasons it is important to seek medical care right after an accident, even if nothing appears amiss.
Stomach Pain After a Car Crash
Some symptoms of injury can be delayed. You might go home and suddenly notice that your abdomen is swelling and you feel faint. This can be due to a stomach injury that turned life-threatening. Without the physician’s record of your accident and any complaints of pain or injury, it becomes much more difficult to claim compensation that will pay your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses. Let’s look at what can happen to cause this frightening development, the way it is diagnosed and treated and how this affects your case.
The stomach is an organ that is located on the upper abdomen on the left side. It is supplied by two large arteries and is surrounded by a network of nerves and blood vessels. The stomach secretes gastric acid and digestive enzymes to break down food to supply the body with the nutrients it need to function.
A disruption in the stomach’s ability to do its job can be life-threatening. Further, if the stomach is injured during an accident, it may release its contents into the abdominal cavity or the blood vessels normally supplying the stomach may be disrupted. This can rob the stomach of necessary blood flow and cause a significant loss of blood.
Blunt Trauma to the Stomach
Blunt trauma to the stomach can cause serious injuries. The impact of a car crash can cause these. Blunt trauma can cause the following injuries:
- Ruptured stomach: A ruptured stomach due to blunt force trauma in an accident is an emergency that requires surgery. This is because, in addition to the trauma itself, the contents of the stomach may leak out, causing infection.
- Gastric injuries: If an individual in a motor vehicle has the seat belt in the wrong position, it can cause gastric injuries to the stomach. In addition, gastric injuries are more likely to occur if the person has a full stomach at the time. By performing a CT scan, gastric injuries are recognized by the presence of extraluminal air, free peritoneal fluid, hematoma and thickening of the gastric wall or pneumatosis.
Symptoms of Internal Bleeding After an Accident
Most individuals who experience internal bleeding following an accident exhibit obvious, serious signs of injury. Even less severe traumas can cause such symptoms, which grow worse as time goes by. Emergency care is required to rule out internal bleeding and to provide fast treatment. Otherwise, the injury may be fatal.
- Bruising in the abdomen may be a sign that internal bleeding is going on and may involve the stomach. Ecchymosis is when the skin turns a deep purple color and can be indicative of internal bleeding. This can be due to the pressure of the seat belt on the stomach during a crash. It can also be due to the impact a person has when they are thrust into the steering wheel. The latter usually happens when the individual forgoes the use of a seat belt.
- Lightheadedness, fainting or dizziness may accompany internal bleeding in the stomach. This happens because the blood pressure drops due to the lost blood. If the victim is at home when this occurs, it is considered a medical emergency and one that requires immediate transfer to the hospital by ambulance. If the individual attempts to drive, they may pass out on the way there. It is best to make sure that the emergency responders know that the person has been in an accident.
- Swelling and abdominal pain may be a sign that internal bleeding is occurring. As it continues, the symptoms may worsen.
Diagnosis of Stomach Injury After a Car Accident
Some symptoms the doctor will focus on are the presence of stomach pain after a car accident, a swollen abdomen, the onset of diarrhea, the presence of black, tarry stools, hemoptysis (vomiting blood) and the appearance of a bruise on the abdomen. The medical care professional will use X-rays to see if air is in the abdominal cavity. This is not something that is normally there, so combined with the person’s accident history, it is a strong inclination that the stomach may have ruptured.
Using a CT scan, it is possible to narrow it down and see if there is free blood in the abdomen. However, the most accurate way to determine what has happened is through the use of exploratory surgery. While surgery carries its own risks, in such cases, it is necessary. If peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal cavity) occurs, the person may exhibit a fast heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, passing less urine, gas or stools, shortness of breath and dizziness.
Treatment of a Stomach Injury After a Car Accident
This depends on the damage. For instance, if the arteries that supply the stomach are injured, it will be necessary to repair them. If perforation occurs, the surgeon will remove the stomach contents from the abdominal cavity, repair the perforation and prescribe I.V. antibiotics.
Complications of a Stomach Injury
The complications depend on what has transpired. For instance, torn arteries will result in lost blood. This may require a transfusion. A perforated stomach could lead to sepsis, which can be life-threatening. The result depends mostly on when the injury was recognized and the time it took to initiate life-saving measures. It also depends on the age of the individual and concomitant medical conditions such as cancer or heart problems.
Legal Issues of Stomach Injuries in a Car Accident
Stomach injuries can be due to an assortment of issues. The accident itself can be a causative factor. If the driver of the other vehicle is at fault for the crash, an attorney can build a strong case against them. If the seat belt was defective, the attorney will work to prove that this error in manufacturing caused the injury. He or she may review crashes involving the same apparatus and determine the company’s liability. It is crucial to begin the investigation as quickly as possible after the accident, while evidence and witness memories are fresh.
If you are experiencing stomach pain as a result of a car accident, we can help. The Law Offices of David Azizi can provide you a free review of your important stomach pain and injury claim to help you achieve justice and fair compensation. For a trusted car accident lawyer, contact us online or call (800) 991-5292.