- Car wrecks subject vehicle occupants to powerful forces that often result in broken ribs.
- Treatment options for broken ribs include rest, pain medication, and, in some instances, surgery and physical therapy.
- Rib injuries can cost tens of thousands of dollars to treat.
- Victims have the right to pursue compensation from those whose negligence caused their broken ribs.
If you’ve ever had broken ribs after a car accident, you know how painful it can be. Something as simple as breathing can be excruciating. If you have multiple broken ribs, every waking moment might be miserable. Thankfully, you have several options for treating your condition, as you’ll learn in this article.
The attorneys with The Eberst Law Firm believe you deserve full compensation for the negligence that resulted in your injury. We’ll do all we can to help you obtain every dime you have coming. Please get in touch by contacting us online or calling 1-888-CALL-JON for a free consultation.
How Do Car Accidents Cause Broken Ribs?
The ribs protect vital organs, including the heart and lungs. But they’re susceptible to injury when subjected to the forces generated in a car accident.
Car accidents can lead to broken ribs due to the significant forces involved in the collision. Kinetic energy (measured in gravitational force, or Gs) creates those forces. In a 30 mph car wreck, drivers and passengers experience about 20 Gs. A jet fighter pilot experiences about 12 Gs when performing a sharp turn.
When a vehicle collides with another object or vehicle, the abrupt deceleration or impact can devastate the human body. This is especially true for the chest area, which is particularly vulnerable during such incidents. There are several ways in which these forces can result in broken ribs:
- Impact on the steering wheel: The force of a car accident can thrust a driver or passenger forward. Their chest can forcefully collide with the steering wheel, leading to rib fractures.
- Dashboard impact: Drivers and passengers can also slam into the dashboard if they don’t wear seatbelts. The force of this impact can result in fractured ribs as well.
- Seat belt injuries: Seat belts can also cause rib injuries in a severe collision. The sudden deceleration and the pressure exerted on the chest by the seat belt can break ribs.
- Airbag deployment: In certain situations, airbag deployment can lead to rib fractures, mainly if the airbag deploys with excessive force.
Treating Broken Ribs After a Car Accident
Treating broken ribs after a car accident typically involves a combination of medical care and self-care. These are just a few of the approaches medical professionals recommend:
Rest and Pain Management
Rest is essential for allowing the fractured ribs to heal. During the healing process, over-the-counter pain medications, as recommended by a healthcare provider, can help manage pain and discomfort.
In severe cases, when broken ribs lead to breathing difficulties, a doctor may prescribe a rib belt or brace. This device provides external support to the chest, minimizing the movement of the ribs during breathing and helping to alleviate pain. It can also assist in maintaining proper lung function.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend physical therapy. Physical therapy aims to improve lung function and maintain the range of motion in the chest and shoulders. It can also help prevent complications such as pneumonia, which can arise from limited chest movement during recovery.
It’s crucial to have regular check-ups to track your progress. These appointments ensure that the healing process is going smoothly. They also allow your doctor to determine any complications that may arise during recovery.
The Cost of Broken Ribs
The costs associated with treating broken ribs after a car accident can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the injury and the required medical care. These expenses may encompass:
- Medical bills: Broken rib treatment costs an average of $22,275. This includes costs for hospitalization, diagnostic tests (such as X-rays and CT scans), consultations with healthcare providers, and any surgical procedures if necessary.
- Pain medications: Patients may need over-the-counter or prescription pain medications.
- Physical therapy: The cost of physical therapy sessions can add to the overall expenses.
- Time off of work: If your broken ribs make it difficult for you to work or require an extended recovery period, you may lose significant income.
- Indirect costs: These can include transportation expenses for medical visits, childcare costs if applicable, and daily living expenses during the recovery period.
Consequences Associated with Broken Ribs
Broken ribs can have several consequences, which can be debilitating. These consequences include the following:
Pain and Discomfort
Rib fractures can be extremely painful, affecting not only your ability to move but also your overall comfort. Even simple actions like breathing or sneezing can become excruciating.
Broken ribs can limit your ability to take deep breaths due to the restricted movement of the ribcage. This can lead to shallow breathing and an increased risk of complications such as pneumonia.
Recovery from broken ribs can be a lengthy process, often taking several weeks to months. This extended recovery period can impact your ability to work and participate in daily activities.
The physical pain, discomfort, and limitations in your daily life can lead to emotional stress and anxiety. Coping with the pain and the challenges of everyday life during recovery can be emotionally taxing.
How to Receive Compensation for Your Car Accident Injuries
If you’ve sustained broken ribs in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and related expenses. Here are the steps to seek compensation:
- Document the accident: Collect and preserve evidence related to the accident. Evidence may include photographs of the accident scene and vehicle damage, police reports, and statements from witnesses. This evidence can help establish liability.
- Seek medical attention: It’s crucial to visit a healthcare provider promptly after the accident. Seeing a doctor not only ensures that your injuries are correctly documented but also aids in your recovery.
- Consult an attorney: Contact a car accident attorney immediately. An attorney can assess the details of your case, determine liability, and help you navigate the legal process.
Contact The Eberst Law Firm to Speak with a Car Accident Attorney ASAP
If you need legal assistance after suffering broken ribs in a car accident, contact The Eberst Law Firm as soon as possible. Our experienced car accident lawyer won’t quit until we help you seek the compensation you deserve. Call 1-888-CALL-JON or use our online form for a free, no-obligation review of your case.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do broken ribs take to heal?
The healing time for broken ribs can vary, but it typically takes about four to six weeks. If the fractures are extensive or complications develop, patients might face months of recovery.
How long does it take for bruised ribs to heal?
Since bruised ribs aren’t as severe as broken ribs, healing can occur in as little as three weeks. Like broken ribs, however, it might take longer if the bruising is severe.