After suffering broken ribs in a car crash, you are experiencing severe pain, significant financial costs, and serious emotional trauma. It is important for you to understand how the accident happened so you can determine who may be legally responsible for your injuries, what your life may be like as you recover, and how to protect your right to a fair and just financial recovery.
How Car Crashes Can Cause Broken Ribs
The significant force of a car crash can cause rib injuries when the following events occur:
- The driver’s chest collides with the steering wheel.
- A passenger’s chest collides with the dashboard.
- The ribcage is crushed by the seatbelt.
With any of these kinds of impact, any of the 24 rib bones in your body may crack, fracture, or break.
Recovering From a Broken Rib Injury
Immediate symptoms of a broken rib might include chest pain and difficulty breathing. It is important to get immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms after a car accident. A broken rib injury can become a serious or life threatening injury if:
- A major blood vessel is punctured or torn by the broken rib. If the aorta or another major blood vessel is cut by the broken bone, you could lose a dangerous amount of blood.
- A lung is punctured by the broken rib. This could result in a collapsed lung.
- Your spleen, liver, or kidney is punctured by the broken rib. If one or more of your lower ribs break, these internal organs can be damaged by the broken bone.
A doctor may order an MRI, an X-ray, a CT scan or a bone scan to make a definitive diagnosis and to decide on a treatment plan. Depending on the severity of the break and the risk of injury to your internal organs, your treatment may include things such as:
- Medication for pain management. The pain from a broken rib injury can be severe. In addition to being uncomfortable, it can prevent you from taking a deep breath.
- Rest and significant activity restrictions. While this may take several weeks, rest and restricted activity can allow your rib to heal.
- Breathing exercises to prevent pneumonia. Pneumonia may be serious and potentially fatal, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.
- Surgery. In some cases, surgical fixating—also known as rib plating—may be used. In this procedure, a metal plate is used to hold the ribs in place. It is typically used when the broken ribs cause a deformity in the chest wall or a dangerous condition known as flail chest. Surgery may also be required to repair damage to an internal organ that was caused by a broken rib bone.
Your prognosis will depend on your age, your overall health, and whether your broken rib caused a secondary injury such as pneumonia, internal organ damage, or damage to a blood vessel.
Protect Your Legal Rights After a Broken Rib Injury
Your expenses may add up quickly after a broken rib injury. Specifically, you may experience:
- High medical costs. Doctors’ visits, hospital stays, diagnostic tests, medications, surgeries, and any other health care costs should be part of you fair recovery.
- Lost income. Weeks of rest are often prescribed as treatment for a broken rib. During this time you may be unable to work or you may work significantly less than usual. Your recovery should include any wages, benefits, or income from self-employment that you lost due to your injury.
- Out-of-pocket expenses. When you follow your doctors’ orders for rest and limited activity, you may be unable to go about your usual activities such as driving, taking care of your home, kids, pets, and elderly relatives, and running errands, for example. Any costs for these things or other out-of-pocket costs may be reimbursable after a car crash injury.
- Physical pain and emotional suffering. These damages may be hard to quantify, but they be among your most significant losses and they should also be included in your recovery.
If someone else was responsible for the car crash that caused your broken rib injury, that person, or his insurance company, should also be responsible for paying for your car accident injury damages.
Our experienced car crash legal team is here to help you get the recovery you deserve. Contact us via this website or by phone at any time—24/7/365—to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and to start learning how to protect your rights today.