Key Points of This Article:
- Chest injuries, such as rib fractures, are some of the most common injuries that occur in car accidents.
- Some rib fracture injuries can heal on their own, but others can cause severe pain and lead to complications.
- Insurance companies often undervalue rib fracture injuries.
- A personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve for rib fractures after a car accident.
Thoracic injuries, such as injuries that affect the chest wall, are some of the most common injuries that occur in car accidents. In a study that evaluated chest injuries from car accidents over nearly 20 years, 62.1% of injuries were thoracic and 52.4% were multiple rib fractures.
The problem with rib fracture injuries is that many people do not seek medical attention for these injuries, as they assume they will simply heal on their own. Or, in some cases, the symptoms of the rib injury might not be immediately apparent. But rib fractures can be painful and can lead to complications if they are not treated properly or if they do not heal correctly.
Unfortunately, delaying medical treatment for fractured ribs after a car accident could negatively impact the compensation or settlement value if the car accident victim eventually decides to file a claim. In some cases, insurance companies may even undervalue a rib fracture injury because they don’t view them as that serious.
For these reasons, it is crucial that car accident victims who have suffered a rib fracture seek immediate medical attention and consult with an attorney. You will need medical documentation to prove that you were injured so you can file a claim, and you will also need the help of an attorney who can stand up against the insurance company to ensure they pay you the full and fair compensation you deserve.
At Rhoads & Rhoads, our team of Kentucky car accident attorneys has years of experience handling cases involving various injuries, including rib fractures. Let us help you handle your case so you can get the settlement you need and deserve.
What Causes Fractured Ribs in a Car Accident?
A rib fracture can occur for a variety of reasons, such as falling from a height, contact sports, assault, and even severe coughing can fracture a rib. However, car accidents tend to be one of the most common causes of chest injuries.
When in a car accident, there are various ways the chest can be damaged or experience trauma, which can lead to rib fractures. This includes:
- Direct impact: If another car strikes the vehicle, it could result in direct impact to the body or chest area.
- Seat belt: The force of impact in a car accident can cause the body to hurtle forward, which can result in the seat belt putting a lot of pressure on the chest.
- Airbags: While airbags are meant to protect you from more serious injuries, the force of airbag deployment can exert enough force to crack your ribs.
- Blunt force: A person’s body can also get tossed around the vehicle in a car accident, which could result in their chest hitting against parts of the car, such as the door, the steering wheel, or the dashboard.
- Ejection: If a car occupant is not wearing a seatbelt, they could be ejected from the vehicle and suffer chest damage.
Signs of Fractured Ribs After a Car Accident
While some mild fractured rib injuries can heal on their own, it is important that car accident victims still get checked out to ensure the injury is not serious. Signs that you may be experiencing a rib fracture and should seek medical attention include:
- Pain when breathing, especially when you take a deep breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Ragged breathing or wheezing sounds
- Bruising in the chest area
- Tenderness or pain when you press on the chest
- Pain when you bend or twist your body
Complications That Can Arise From Fractured Ribs
Again, while some fractured rib injuries can heal on their own, others can result in more serious injuries and complications, which can be life-threatening. This is why seeking immediate medical attention is so important.
Even if you do not notice any immediate signs or symptoms, it is always wise to see a doctor after being in a car accident, as some injuries, including rib fractures, might not be apparent right away. But if you wait too long to treat them, it could be too late and endanger your life.
Complications that can arise from fractured ribs after a car accident include:
- Punctured lungs: If a rib fully breaks, it can stick out, and the jagged end of the bone can puncture the lung. If this happens, the lung can collapse, and you may have trouble breathing, and the injury can even be life-threatening in some cases.
- Damaged aorta: Because the top portion of the ribs protects the heart, if any of these ribs break, they could end up puncturing the aorta or any other major blood vessels in the area.
- Lacerated or punctured kidneys, liver, or spleen: The bottom portion of the ribs sit near the liver, kidneys, and spleen. So if one of the lower ribs is broken, it could puncture or lacerate one of these major organs.
Compensation for Fractured Ribs After a Car Accident
Though rib fractures can be mild injuries, they can occasionally result in more serious injuries and complications, which could require expensive medical treatment. And even a minor rib fracture can still cause severe pain and require time off work while you rest and recover. As such, it is important that you file a personal injury claim to recover compensation to help you pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other potential damages, such as pain and suffering.
However, it is not uncommon for insurance companies to undervalue rib fracture car accident claims. Many rib fracture cases are not serious, so insurance companies may try to automatically assume that the injury does not require a large settlement, especially if the injury did not require expensive medical treatments. But you still deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering, even if your medical bills were minimal.
And, of course, if the rib fracture is more serious, you should be able to get fully compensated for all of your expenses relating to the injury. But even in cases where the rib fracture is more severe and leads to complications, insurance may still try to undervalue your claim.
This is why working with an attorney is so vital. They can help you provide all the information and evidence necessary to prove to the insurance company that you deserve a full and fair settlement for all that you have suffered financially, physically, and emotionally.
How Much is the Settlement for Fractured Ribs?
So, how much of a settlement can you get for fractured ribs after a car accident?
Well, it depends on your individual case. There is no set value for a rib fracture injury as the physical damage, pain, suffering, and financial cost can vary from one car accident victim to the next. The average settlement can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands—it really can vary greatly.
Overall, the damages that can affect your claim and how much money you will be awarded can include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses relating to the injury
- Lost wages while recovering
- How much physical pain and suffering you experience
- How much emotional suffering you experience
- If there are long-term impairments as a result of the injury
- Property damage, such as car damage from the accident
Kentucky Personal Injury Lawyers – Rhoads & Rhoads
At Rhoads & Rhoads, our Kentucky car accident attorneys know what it takes to help our clients get the settlement they deserve, whether their rib fracture injury is mild or severe. We can help you gather evidence to prove the extent of the damages you have suffered and can handle negotiations with the insurance company to ensure they compensate you fairly.
Call us at 888-709-9329 to schedule an appointment with one of our Madisonville or Owensboro personal injury attorneys. We offer free initial consultations, and all cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, so no initial payment is required.
We get paid only if we win or settle your case, and there is NO RISK involved.