When West Virginia motorists become involved in a car accident, they are at serious risk for suffering a sternum fracture. Approximately 60 to 90 percent of all sternum fractures are caused by car accidents. In many cases, these injuries occur when the victim fails to wear a seat belt or the vehicle does not have airbags, causing the person's chest to strike the steering wheel.
There are certain symptoms that are associated with sternum fractures. The injury may be accompanied by a grinding or crunching sound, severe bruising and inflammation around the area and breathing difficulties. Additionally, the victim may experience sudden muscle spasms or visible damage to the chest area. Sternum fractures are also often associated with other serious internal injuries, though the symptoms may depend on the organs that sustained damage. Because the sternum is located over the heart and lungs, there is the likelihood that someone who suffered a fracture to their sternum may have also suffered damage to those organs as well.
There are certain complications that are associated with this type of injury, including bruising to the heart, bruising to the lungs and injuries to the aorta. Due to the severity of these types of injuries, it is estimated that 25 to 40 percent of those who fracture their sternum do not survive.
A person who suffers a severe injury, such as a sternum fracture, in a car accident that is caused by the negligence of another driver may have the grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. The victim may seek compensation for the damages that have been incurred, including the costs of necessary medical care and treatment.