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Rib Fracture Lawyer


The rib cage (thoracic cage) is responsible for forming the chest portion (thorax) of the body. It is comprised of a total of twelve pairs of ribs. These serve to provide protection to vital internal organs, including the lungs and the heart, and provide structural support for the thorax. A fracture of the rib may make breathing particularly painful and challenging. Like other types of bone fractures in catastrophic accidents, fractured ribs require immediate medical care and extensive treatment.

At our law firm, our rib fracture attorneys have recovered maximum compensation on behalf of injured parties since 1982. If you suffered a broken rib in a recent accident, call one of our personal injury lawyers today for free, friendly case advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

When you suffer a serious injury such as a fractured rib in an accident caused by someone else, you may have the right to seek financial compensation for damages incurred. Before you accept a settlement offer from the insurance company, it is essential to discuss your case with a skilled attorney who can determine whether it is fair and reasonable. At our law firm, we have decades of experience handling personal injury cases like yours. To learn how we can help, reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our rib fracture attorneys. We handle cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you will only owe attorneys’ fees if we obtain a fair recovery for you through a jury award or insurance settlement.

What is a Broken Rib?

According to Mayo Clinic, a fractured rib is a common injury. It may occur when there is a crack or break in one of the bones in the thoracic cage. The most common reason for a broken rib is chest trauma from contact sports, motor vehicle crashes, and slip and fall accidents. A rib fracture may also occur through prolonged and severe coughing or repetitive trauma from sports like rowing and golfing.

A fractured rib is most often a crack in the bone. While a cracked rib may still result in pain, it is not as dangerous as a rib that has shattered into separate fragments. When this happens, there is the potential for the sharp edge of the fractured bone to cause damage to internal organs or major blood vessels.

In most cases, a fractured rib may heal on its own in approximately one to two months. However, pain management is essential for inhaling deeply and preventing complications of the lungs, like pneumonia.

What are the Common Symptoms of a Fractured Rib?

The immediate symptom of a broken rib is pain that often occurs or exacerbates as you:

  • Inhale deeply
  • Place pressure on the affected area
  • Twist or bend the body

It is essential to seek medical treatment right away if there is trauma and tenderness in the thoracic region, trouble breathing, or pain that worsens with inhaling deeply.

What are the Potential Complications of a Broken Rib?

A fracture of the rib may cause injury to internal organs and major blood vessels. The risk may increase with the number of fractured ribs. The types of complications may vary on which rib sustains a break. Potential complications may include:

  • Lacerations of the Liver, Kidney, or Spleen: Fractures of the last two ribs occur under rare circumstances since they are more flexible than the middle and upper ribs anchored to the breast’s bone. However, if a lower rib is broken, the ends of the bone may cause severe damage to the liver, kidney, or spleen.
  • Punctured Lung: The sharp end of a fractured rib may come into the lung, puncture it, and result in a collapsed lung.
  • Tearing or Puncturing of the Aorta: A jagged end of a fracture in one of the first ribs in the thoracic cage may cause rupturing in the aorta or other major blood vessels.
Epidemiology of Fractured Ribs

The incidence and prevalence of broken ribs will vary on the injury and extent of trauma. Younger people are less prone to suffering fractured ribs than their elderly counterparts, predisposed to higher morbidity and mortality. Conversely, adults are more likely to sustain rib fractures than adolescents because children have more elastic ribs.

How is a Broken Rib Diagnosed?

A fracture of the rib may be diagnosed clinically without imaging through a physical exam and patient history. However, if a physician suspects that there is significant trauma or several broken ribs with underlying damage to internal organs, the next step may be imaging through:

  • Bone Scan
  • CT Scan
  • MRI
  • X-Ray

The use of imaging during patient evaluation is essential in assessing underlying trauma for other injuries.

What You Should Know About Accidents and Insurance Claims

Unfortunately, a bone fracture is a common type of injury suffered in a motor vehicle collision. The severity of the broken bone will depend on the circumstances of the accident and the severity of the injury. It is critical to seek immediate medical treatment after a crash, as the failure to do so may result in unique challenges during the bodily injury claims process.

If you suffered a rib fracture in an accident caused by another party or entity, you might be wondering if you are entitled to a personal injury settlement. However, the compensation you are eligible to obtain will vary upon the facts and circumstances of the case. Several factors may come into play that may impact the value and validity of the claim.

Medical evidence is key to proving a fractured rib. Without it, it can be challenging for a claimant to prove that the injury was suffered because of the accident. Insurance companies may use this to their advantage and claim that the rib fracture is unrelated to the crash. In other instances, insurers may downplay the severity of the injury if there are gaps in treatment or failure to follow orders from the physician on the part of the claimant. For this reason, it is crucial to work with a lawyer to protect you from difficult insurance carriers and ensure you receive the best outcome possible in your case.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Our compassionate attorneys will go over the facts and circumstances of your personal injury case to advise you on what steps to take when dealing with:

  • Medical Treatment: A motor vehicle collision is one of the top causes of rib fractures. In addition to immediate medical attention, you may need hospitalization and surgery.
  • Recovery: Depending on the severity of the broken rib suffered in an accident, you may need several weeks or even months of extensive treatment. Our lawyers will handle all aspects of your case so you can focus on recovering from your injury.
  • Disability: If you suffered a severe rib fracture, you may require medical appliances, personal assistance or nursing care, and home renovations to accommodate your injury if it is disabling or permanent in nature. Our legal team will include these losses in your personal injury claim.
  • Lost Wages: You may be out temporarily or permanently out of work as you recover from a fractured rib. An attorney will work with expert witnesses such as medical professionals and economists to prove lost income and loss of future earnings if you are disabled and unable to return to work or a similar job.

An accident caused by someone else’s negligence may result in high damages. Insurance companies may look for any reason to downplay the value of a bodily injury claim or outright deny it. At our law firm, our rib fracture attorneys can help you with your personal injury case.

Importance of Acting Quickly After an Accident

Time is of the essence for any personal injury case. If you sustained a fracture of the rib in an accident, the two-year statute of limitations starts at the time of the incident, as outlined in the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. It is essential to gather and preserve evidence that is compelling in proving your case as it may be lost or destroyed over time. In some situations, it is best to retain an attorney to collect evidence associated with your accident and injury, as a lawyer will know the best way to proceed in the case.

An injury lawyer can work with expert witnesses to reconstruct the sequence of events leading up to the accident scene and the rib fracture. This way, your rib fracture attorney will negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company or build a strong case to present in civil court on your behalf. For details on how to find the best attorney to handle your broken bone case, watch the video below.

Contact a Rib Fracture Attorney for Assistance

At our personal injury law firm, our attorneys have worked diligently to obtain fair compensation for those who have suffered serious injuries in catastrophic accidents. We have helped injured parties and their families seek recovery of medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses they may be entitled to.

Our California personal injury lawyers will conduct an independent investigation of your accident, gather evidence, and devise a legal strategy that suits your best interests. We will handle communications and negotiations with insurers on your behalf to spare you the stress of dealing with difficult insurance companies yourself. If you or a member in your family has suffered a broken rib in an accident, contact our legal team to receive free, friendly case advice today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. In addition to handling cases in Sacramento County, we also provide service throughout California.

Editor’s Note: updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 4.14.23]

Image Credit: By “Anna Shvets” via Pexels

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