Car Accidents &Heart Attacks

heartdiagram-lydiaritterThere are so many intricacies to car accidents when it comes to personal injury cases.

Certain situations can increase the chances of a larger settlement or award. I’m not a physician, but as an experienced personal injury attorney, I come across situations all the time in which being in-the-now and digging deeper can significantly and positively impact the outcome of your case. I will explain one such situation here, on the subject of heart attacks after a car accident.

When a person has a heart attack, also known in medical terms as a “MI” or Myocardial Infarction, his or her heart muscle goes without oxygen for a period of time. The heart muscle gets damaged and releases an enzyme into the blood stream called Troponin.

The only place that enzyme originates from is the heart muscle, and the only time it is in the blood is after a heart attack. Even small traces of it are proof of a recent heart attack — unless the person suffers from a long-term kidney failure.

Emergency room doctors should run lab tests to determine if Troponin is present if the patient arrives with symptoms that can be consistent in anyway with a heart attack. The tests are taken over a period of several hours and monitor those levels. If Troponin levels are detected, that means the heart muscle has been damaged to some extent.

It has been reported that there is a heart attack every 43 seconds in the United States, and it has cost this country well over $108M every year. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has even more alarming facts about heart attacks, simply because it is a very serious issue. While some people are fortunate enough to recover from these attacks, others recover with major handicaps, and some do not at all.
Some people recover from heart attacks and some do not. Some recover with major handicaps. The victim of an accident may not know it, but insurance companies will often pay serious money to settle an accident case in which the victim has had a heart attack. A settlement can be large even if the doctor runs a heart catheterization to rule out significant long term damage that could spur long term issues.

This is called the law of proximate cause.

In layman’s terms, “proximate” cause provides the link between an accident and an injury. A doctor can provide the link by providing medical records from the ER or his office. The link occurs when he pins the tail on the donkey. He has to say that the accident likely or more likely than not caused the medical problems. The records will be reviewed by your attorney or a nurse. If the records provide the link this will be important evidence in your lawyer’s effort to document the nature, extent and settlement value.

When an individual is involved with a car accident, often there will be multiple injuries to different areas of the anatomy. A doctor may not be concerned about something outside his/her area of expertise and should call in consultants to make sure nothing is left to chance. That’s the attending physician doing his or her due diligence.

So, if you have had an accident and suffered a heart attack, you may have a case worthy of legal attention.

I have had several clients locally who have had heart attacks as a result of their car accident. I was able to win them generous settlements.

Don’t settle for just any attorney, because a thoughtful committed lawyer, like Lawyer Phil Chanfrau, can make all the difference.


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