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Aortic Dissection (Torn Aorta) Injuries in Florida Car Accidents

Cars and other vehicles come equipped with seat belts and airbags to protect occupants if there’s an accident. Most of the time, these safety features work to prevent more serious injuries among drivers and passengers. But in some high-speed crashes, they can have the opposite effect.

During a crash that occurs at high speed, the force of impact can be so great that the chest experiences trauma from a seatbelt pressing against the body or the deployment of an airbag.  Chest trauma can also occur if a person is not wearing a seatbelt and is thrown into the steering wheel or another part of the car.

The result can be an aortic dissection, or torn aorta.

What is aortic dissection?

The largest artery in the human body, the aorta extends from the heart’s lower left chamber. Immediate symptoms of a tear in the aorta often include sharp pain in the chest, back or abdomen. Victims may think they are suffering a heart attack. A person may also lose consciousness or have trouble breathing.

Aortic dissection is often diagnosed through an imaging test such as a CT scan, a magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) – a type of MRI that looks specifically at the blood vessels – or an aortic angiogram. A special dye may be injected into the veins to help doctors identify internal damage.

How is aortic dissection treated?

A torn aorta is a life-threatening injury that requires immediate medical attention.

Endovascular treatment is often used to treat this injury. This is a minimally invasive treatment in which thin tubes and guide wires are used to seal the tear by placing a stent graft in the aorta. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the damaged portion and place a graft.

Without prompt treatment, the prognosis is not good. Delayed treatment can result in damage to the lining of the heart, brain damage, organ failure and other complications. Delayed treatment or failure to treat can also result in death.

The medical expenses for diagnosis and treatment of an aortic dissection from a car accident can be significant. These include the cost of emergency room care, imaging tests, surgery or endovascular treatment, hospitalization, cardiac rehabilitation, physical therapy and multiple follow-up appointments with doctors.

After treatment of a torn aorta, the question then becomes: who is responsible for these expenses?

Who pays for treating a torn aorta after a Florida car accident?

As is the case with many car accidents, there can be disputes over who was at fault for the crash. A negligent driver may deny doing anything wrong, even though that driver was speeding, texting behind the wheel or operating recklessly.

There can be a lot of money at stake in an accident involving aortic dissection. As a result, a negligent driver’s insurance company will typically try to minimize any compensation they are required to pay. They can challenge claims or even try to blame the driver who was hurt. Florida uses a modified comparative negligence system, so if the victim is even partially at fault, the amount of damages that can be recovered is reduced.

Another common insurance company tactic is to make a settlement offer to the injured party shortly after the accident. This sounds like they are being helpful. But the amount of money they offer usually falls far short of the total damages suffered. They are hoping that the injured party is feeling so overwhelmed and financially stressed by medical bills that they will immediately accept the offer.

The problem is that this leaves the injured party financially responsible for the rest of their damages. Once a settlement offer is accepted, the case is closed.

That’s why it is important to get trusted legal advice following a car accident involving an aortic dissection or any other serious injury. If you are still recovering from your injury, you are focusing mostly on your health. And the legal process of recovering financial compensation can be confusing and frustrating.

Car accident verdicts and settlements

$5.25 million for deadly crash Jacksonville, FL

A 36-year-old father of two was rear-ended in a backup off I-295 in Florida and struck with such force that his aorta and spinal cord were severed. Pajcic & Pajcic won a $5.25 million verdict for his family.

$5.6 million for car vs. tractor-trailer crash Florida

The Law Offices of Brent C. Miller recovered $5.6 million for an occupant of a smaller vehicle who was severely injured by a truck driver.

$1.5 million for rollover car accident Florida

A rollover car accident caused severe injury, resulting in amputation. Farrow & Pulice, P.A. recovered this settlement for the injured person.

How can an attorney help me?

An attorney can review the details of your accident, explain your legal options and offer advice on how you can move forward with your claim.

Another way an attorney can help is by investigating your accident to determine fault. A lawyer will have access to a team that can gather evidence at the accident scene, review accident reports and medical records and identify and interview witnesses. In some cases, a lawyer may consult accident reconstruction experts and other specialists. This can help the attorney build a strong case that demonstrates it was the actions of another driver that directly caused the accident. An attorney may need to hire an expert to explain how the accident caused the aortic dissection and document the medical treatment that was required.

An attorney will also determine the total damages you suffered in the accident. These may include economic damages such as medical expenses for diagnosing and treating the torn aorta, property damage and lost wages if you were left unable to work.

There are often noneconomic damages as well. These include losses that don’t have an assigned dollar value. Examples include pain and suffering, disability or disfigurement, physical impairment, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life. Some states limit the amount of noneconomic damages that can be recovered, but there is no cap on these damages in Florida.

In many cases involving aortic dissection or other serious injury, an insurance company may agree to negotiate a settlement when presented with a strong case for compensation. A skilled attorney is then usually able to work out a settlement amount that meets your needs.

If the insurance company does not want to negotiate, an attorney can pursue your case in court and prepare a convincing case for a jury.

You can afford quality legal representation

Many victims of car accidents are concerned about whether they can afford an attorney. There are costs involved in pursuing a claim through the legal process, and people who have been hurt in a crash are often experiencing financial stress.

The good news is that getting a lawyer will often cost you nothing. Most car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means they pay all the costs to move your case forward and get paid by taking a percentage of your recovery. If you do not receive a financial settlement or verdict, you do not have to pay a contingency fee attorney.

Car accident lawyers usually offer free consultations, as well. If you or a loved one experienced a torn aorta or another serious injury in a car accident, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. In Florida, the statute of limitations for taking legal action after a car accident can vary depending on the cicumstances, and only a lawyer can tell you which deadlines apply. Plus, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that evidence can be lost and that the memories of witnesses will fade. Talk to an experienced attorney in your area to learn more.

Car Accidents Assistance
Pajcic & Pajcic
Power Profile

Founded in 1974 by Steve and Gary Pajcic, Pajcic & Pajcic represents injured people in Jacksonville, throughout Florida, and nationwide. We’ve handled over 10,000 cases and recove...

The Law Offices of Brent C. Miller, P.A.

At the Law Offices of Brent C. Miller, P.A., we are proud to represent Central Florida residents, tourists and snowbirds who have been injured in a serious accident.

Farrow & Pulice, P.A.

Farrow & Pulice, P.A. is a personal injury law firm that fights hard for victims of negligence in Sarasota and throughout Southwestern Florida. Attorneys Jo-Ann Pulice and Timothy...