In patients suffering from multiple injury, chest trauma is often the main cause of fatality. A case report is given and the literature reviewed. A 49 years old motorcyclist hit a car frontally in a road accident. After primary stabilization and first clinical care, he was transferred to our trauma centre because of severe chest injury, suspected pericardial effusion and lesion of the thoracic aorta. Initial diagnostics (plain radiographs, CT scan of thorax, abdominal ultrasound, echocardiography) showed left-sided serial rib fractures, a fracture of the left scapula, a hematopneumothorax left-sided, bilateral lung contusion, a small pneumothorax of the right side, a minimal pericardial effusion and a small splenic hematoma. The patient was treated in the intensive care unit, and the situation was initially stable. After 12 h, respiration deteriorated and a bronchoscopy showed filling of the airways with mucous fluid. The CT scan showed a worsening of the pulmonary damage and increasing pericardial fluid compression. A pericardiotomy was carried out, but the situation remained unstable. The patient was treated with invasive ventilation (PEEP>10, FiO2>0,5). Sudden severe bleeding out of left lower lobe was managed by thoracotomy and lobectomy. The patient remained unstable and died 95 h after the accident. This case shows that the severity of chest trauma does not necessarily correlate with the initial clinical and radiological findings. Even with all diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, a fatal outcome could not be prevented. This demonstrates the role of chest injury as a major and unforeseeable cause of death in multiple trauma patients.