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Broken Rib from a Car Accident: What to Do

broken rib car accident

What you’ll learn from this article:

  • What a broken rib, or rib fracture, is and its varying severity.
  • What to do if you suspect a broken rib, emphasizing the importance of seeking immediate medical attention.
  • How to seek compensation for broken ribs sustained in a car accident, including documenting the accident, seeking legal representation, calculating damages, and negotiating with insurance companies

Car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, and one of the most common yet painful injuries that can occur is a broken rib. While broken ribs can vary in severity, they are always a cause for concern due to the potential for complications. In this blog, we’ll explore what to do if you sustain a broken rib in a car accident, from recognizing the symptoms to seeking compensation for your injuries.

Understanding Broken Ribs

Before delving into the steps to take after sustaining a broken rib in a car accident, let’s understand what a broken rib is and how it can occur.

A broken rib, also known as a rib fracture, is a crack or break in one of the bones in your ribcage. Rib fractures can vary in severity, from small cracks to complete breaks. The most common causes of broken ribs include:

  • Car accidents: The impact of a car accident can exert significant force on your chest, leading to broken ribs.
  • Falls: A slip and fall, especially when impacting the chest area, can result in rib fractures.
  • Sports injuries: Contact sports and high-impact activities can also lead to rib fractures.
  • Repetitive motion: Prolonged repetitive motions, such as heavy lifting or coughing due to illness, can weaken the rib bones and make them more susceptible to fractures.

Symptoms of a Broken Rib

Recognizing the symptoms of a broken rib is crucial for taking the appropriate steps for treatment and recovery. Common symptoms include:

  • Severe pain: A sharp, stabbing pain in the chest, which worsens with deep breaths or movement.
  • Difficulty breathing: Painful breathing or difficulty taking deep breaths.\
  • Tenderness: Tenderness when touching or pressing on the injured area.
  • Chest pain: Pain in the chest, particularly when you cough or sneeze.
  • Bruising: Visible bruising or swelling in the chest area.

What to Do If You Suspect a Broken Rib

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

If you suspect you have sustained a broken rib in a car accident, your first and most crucial step is to seek medical attention promptly. A healthcare professional will conduct a physical examination, possibly supplemented by X-rays or other diagnostic tests, to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the injury.

Follow Medical Advice

Once your rib fracture is confirmed, it is essential to follow your healthcare provider’s advice regarding treatment. Treatment may involve:

  • Pain management: Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication may be prescribed to manage your discomfort.
  • Rest: Rest and limited physical activity are necessary to prevent further injury to the rib.
  • Breathing exercises: To prevent complications such as pneumonia, your doctor may recommend deep breathing exercises.
  • Ice application: Applying ice to the injured area can help reduce pain and swelling.

Monitor for Complications

Complications, such as a punctured lung, can arise with broken ribs. Keep an eye out for symptoms like shortness of breath, severe chest pain, or bluish lips or fingertips. If you experience any of these signs, seek immediate medical attention.

punctured lung

Can a Broken Rib Puncture a Lung?

Yes, a broken rib car accident injury can puncture a lung if the broken end of the rib bone damages the lung tissue. This condition is known as a “pneumothorax.” It can lead to a buildup of air between the lung and chest wall, which can cause the lung to collapse. It’s crucial to address a punctured lung promptly, as it can be life-threatening.

How Much Force Does It Take to Break a Rib?

Ribs are relatively strong bones but can break with a significant force applied to the chest area. The exact amount of force required can vary depending on various factors, including the individual’s age, bone density, and overall health. Car accidents, especially high-speed collisions, can exert the force necessary to break ribs.

Seeking Compensation for a Broken Rib Car Accident Injury

If you’ve sustained a broken rib in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and associated expenses. Here are steps to consider:

1. Document the accident

Gather as much evidence as possible about the car accident. This may include photographs of the accident scene, damage to vehicles, and any visible injuries. Eyewitness statements and the police report can also be valuable documentation.

2. Seek legal representation

Consulting an experienced car accident attorney is crucial in navigating the complexities of seeking compensation for your broken ribs. They can help assess your case, calculate the potential damages, and represent your interests in negotiations or court.

3. Calculate damages

Damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any long-term medical treatment costs. Your attorney will help you determine the appropriate amount of compensation.

4. Negotiate with insurance companies

Your attorney will negotiate with the responsible party’s insurance company to reach a fair settlement. If a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, your case may proceed to court.

Consult McCoy & Sparks After Your Broken Rib Car Accident Injury

Sustaining a broken rib in a car accident can be a painful and challenging experience, but understanding the appropriate steps to take can help ensure the best possible outcome. Seek immediate medical attention, follow your doctor’s guidance, and contact the Kentucky car accident attorneys at McCoy & Sparks to help pursue compensation if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence.

Your health and well-being should always be a top priority in the aftermath of such an incident. You owe McCoy & Sparks nothing unless we recover compensation for you. Schedule your FREE consultation by calling 844-459-9467 or filling out our online form.