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Heart Attacks and Cardiac Events After an Accident


Imagine this scenario: You have a loved one that is in an accident, perhaps a serious one, and perhaps a loved one that is older or elderly. That person has a difficult time recovering, and spends time in a hospital. His or her condition gets worse and worse, and then, about a week after the accident, he suffers a heart attack.

Was the heart attack caused by the accident?

There are two arguments, and you can probably guess which one is usually taken by the defense in accident cases.

No Causation?

Many defendants, when faced with a situation like this one, will argue no, the heart attack is not a result of the accident. They will say that elderly people are more prone to heart attacks, and that it is likely that because of age or cardiac disease, the victim had a predisposition to heart attacks, even in the absence of any accident.

They will argue that the injuries caused by the accident have nothing to do with the heart, and the heart attack was many days after the accident. For all these reasons, defendants will argue there is no evidence that the accident can or did cause the heart attack.

Medical Research Shows Causation

But that argument defies science and medical research, which shows more and more that traumatic accidents can result in heart attacks, even when those heart attacks happen long after the accident itself.

In one study conducted by the Boston University School of Medicine, researchers found that over the age of 65, accident victims were more likely than the general population to suffer heart attacks. Additionally, they found that the heart attacks tended to happen far out from the accident—about 30-180 days out from the accident. It did not matter if the victim was in a vehicle or a pedestrian.

There is even some research to support that people in accidents were more likely to suffer cardiac events than the general public who were not in accidents, even years after the accident. This is even though in many cases, immediately after the accident, there was no apparent cardiac trauma, or symptoms.

All Cardiac Events

It’s not just heart attacks that have been shown to have a connection to accidents. Other cardiac events are more common as well. Things like aortic ruptures, or cardiac arrests, were also more common in accident victims than the general population.

Stress on the Heart

Many people believe that it is not just the physical injuries that cause stress to the heart, but the life disruption as well. That can be the trauma of being in a hospital, the trauma on the body because of medical procedures following an accident, or simply depression and anxiety putting stress on the heart.

Still, many jurors are skeptical, meaning a victim needs to put on evidence of causation, if the victim believes that a cardiac event was caused, in full or in part, by an accident of any kind.

Call the Knoxville personal injury attorneys at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today if you have suffered a heart attack or cardiac event after an accident.




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