The sternum is the breastbone which is located in the centre of the chest, attaching your first seven ribs to the collar bone. A broken sternum often occurs as the result of blunt trauma to the chest from a car accident, where your chest strikes the steering wheel or a dashboard – it can even be caused by a seat belt. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t buckle up though, as wearing a seat belt can reduce your risk of death by 45% and risk of serious injury by 50% if you are involved in a road traffic accident.
Although the number of broken sternum compensation claims is actually reducing due to safety improvements where new vehicles are fitted with airbags, this injury is still something that Accident Advice Helpline handles a significant number of claims for. You could also suffer a fractured sternum from a sports accident or from an accident whilst working in a factory or on a construction site.
What are the symptoms of a broken sternum?
Around 3% of those suffering blunt trauma to the chest will experience a sternum fracture, but if you do fracture your sternum then the symptoms can be debilitating and painful. A broken sternum is usually a self-limiting injury which gets better without the need for treatment or surgery. Here are a few of the most common symptoms that you may experience:
- Chest pain and spasms, these may be exacerbated by breathing heavily, coughing or sneezing
- Pain in the middle of the chest with swelling or bruising
- Difficulty breathing and a feeling of pressure in the chest
It’s important to see a doctor for a diagnosis and you may need to have a chest x-ray carried out to ensure that you have actually fractured your sternum.
Prognosis and treatment for a sternum fracture
The treatment required for a sternum fracture will depend on the severity of the fracture, but usually rest at home and ice to reduce any pain and swelling will be recommended by your doctor. Avoiding aggravating activities such as playing sports will also be a must in order to make a full recovery from a broken sternum. Pain medication such as ibuprofen can be taken, and in severe cases narcotics may be prescribed. If the bones in your chest have moved out of place or you are having difficulty breathing then surgery may be needed.
Common car accident injuries
Blunt force trauma sustained in a road traffic accident could lead to a range of different injuries, and as well as a broken sternum you could suffer cracked or injured ribs, injuries to your internal organs, fractures or even a spinal or head injury. One of the most common minor injuries sustained in a car accident is whiplash, a painful neck injury which can take weeks to rear its head after a crash. It can cause neck pain, headaches and shoulder pain, and usually symptoms take at least a few weeks to resolve. Even for minor injuries you may need to take some time off work for treatment and to recover after your accident, which can have an impact on your family’s finances.
Who caused your car accident?
Despite the number of road deaths in the UK rising to five a day in 2014, the UK’s roads are still amongst the safest in the world. This doesn’t mean that you are not at risk of being injured in a road traffic accident though, and even if you are a careful driver, you could be hurt due to somebody else’s negligence. In fact in 2015, 22,144 people were seriously injured in accidents on roads across the UK. If you have been injured and you’re not sure who was at fault for your accident, Accident Advice Helpline can help you. Or maybe you know that the other driver was responsible for your accident and you’re looking to get the ball rolling on making a claim for compensation. Whether your accident was caused by somebody speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, we can help you to claim the compensation you are entitled to, provided it has been three years or less since your accident.
Claiming compensation for a broken sternum
Whether you have suffered a broken sternum or you have also suffered other injuries after a car accident or an accident at work, you could get in touch with a personal injury solicitor to find out if you’re eligible to make a claim for compensation. With over 16 years’ experience in the personal injury industry, Accident Advice Helpline has handled hundreds of claims for sternum fractures, and we don’t charge any upfront fees for our services. Our lawyers work on a 100% no-win, no-fee basis and we have a great track record of success – we have even been endorsed by our patron, Dame Esther Rantzen.
Do I need to go to court to make a personal injury claim?
You would be surprised at the number of people who miss out on making a personal injury claim as they are worried about going to court. Accident Advice Helpline can process most claims over the phone, so it’s unlikely that a court case will be needed, unless the other party denies liability for your accident. In fact it is fairly simple to find out more about making a claim – just call our freephone helpline on 0800 689 0500 (or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile) to chat to our helpful, professional injury advisors about your accident. Should you decide to proceed with a claim (there is no obligation at any point) then you’ll benefit from our 100% no-win, no-fee service, so you don’t pay any solicitors’ fees unless your claim is successful.
No matter how minor or serious your injuries, if somebody else has caused an accident which has led to you being injured, we are here to make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to. A broken sternum can be a debilitating injury that takes months to heal, and claiming personal injury compensation for your lost earnings can help your family out financially during this difficult time.