Have you been in an accident recently that left you with one or more broken ribs? This is a nasty injury that can put you in a lot of pain – something you may already know first-hand. Sometimes, people wonder whether they could get any compensation for broken ribs. There is no firm answer to this, because every case is different. However, cases where people have broken their ribs because of someone else’s negligence could well introduce circumstances whereby compensation for broken ribs could be awarded to them.
How do you know if you have broken your ribs?
Any blow to the chest can cause this injury. You will likely suspect you may have broken one or more ribs because you will be in a lot of pain. You may find it virtually impossible to take a deep breath, even though the best advice is to breathe as normally as you can. After a short time, swelling and bruising will appear in the injured area. The bruising may be quite severe, as is usually the case when a bone is broken.
In some cases, it is not always necessary to see a doctor. However, if you do have any difficulty breathing, you have chest or tummy pain following an injury that is getting worse, or you are bringing up blood, seek immediate medical attention. In some instances, this can indicate a collapsed lung. This may occur if the rib has been broken and the ends have caused damage to your lung. If other ribs break, they may cause damage to other organs. If in doubt, always seek medical advice.
How might you break one or more ribs?
Compensation for broken ribs may be granted if you broke them in an accident someone else created. For example, if you were the driver or passenger in a vehicle and someone else struck your vehicle, involving you in a crash, you could break your ribs in the impact. Sometimes, the force of the seat belt locking can cause chest injuries, even though these would likely be less serious than the alternative, which may mean going through the windscreen. Seat belts should always be worn, but when the speed of a car is significant, they can still cause injury.
Any trauma to the chest has the potential to break or crack one or more ribs. A heavy blow may occur in a fall, too, and not just if you suffer an impact in a road accident or similar situation. Contact sports also have the potential to result in injuries like these, although this is rare.
If you experience a fall, you may break or crack your ribs if you land awkwardly or strike something, i.e. if you fell and hit a low wall, for instance. Similarly, a fall from height can cause many impact injuries, broken ribs being just one of them.
Where could accidents like these happen?
Any fall or impact could lead to an injury like this. For example, you may be on your way to the local shops when you trip over an obstacle and fall heavily to the floor. Someone working at height on a building site may potentially be at risk of a fall if the health and safety measures in operation were substandard. Thankfully, this is rare, but it can happen, and as we know, a heavy fall could result in broken or cracked ribs.
Car accidents, being hit by a vehicle or even a cyclist, or being knocked off your bike – all these things could potentially result in injuries like this.
Could you claim compensation for broken ribs if you suffered complications?
The main aspect to focus on is the need to present evidence of the negligence of a third party. If you can do this, you stand a greater chance of successfully concluding a compensation claim for broken ribs.
For example, if you broke your ribs in a car accident, are there witnesses to confirm the other driver involved was the one in the wrong? If you were hit by a car while using a pedestrian crossing, were the lights showing in your favour and the driver failed to stop?
These elements will help determine whether you have a good case to make to receive some compensation. If your claim is found in your favour, your personal injury lawyer will then argue for the highest amount of compensation they can reasonably claim for on your behalf. If you suffered one cracked rib that healed without complications, this would very likely receive less in compensation than a scenario where you claimed compensation for broken ribs where you also incurred a punctured lung, internal bleeding, and a stint in hospital recovering from your injuries.
Another potential complication is a chest infection. This may occur if you cannot cough properly because it hurts too much to do so. A build-up of phlegm and mucus may then occur, and you may require treatment to clear the chest infection to aid your recovery.
Is it easy to try and claim compensation for broken ribs?
Most people with rib injuries can take care of themselves as they recover. However, if you received your injuries in an accident caused by someone else, do seek medical advice. This will confirm the nature of your injuries and provide medical evidence that can be used to support any claim you decide to try and make later. You have a three-year period starting from the day of your accident in which to claim, so there is no rush.
If you do want to find out whether compensation for broken ribs would work out for you, call the team at Accident Advice Helpline. We’re known for our no-obligation advice, and this is available now on 0800 689 0500, and on 0333 500 0993 if you are on a mobile phone. The best bet is to speak to someone to see whether one of our personal injury lawyers can accept your case, with no risk for you.
Date Published: 21st August 2013
Author: David Brown