Broken ribs frequently occur when a motorcycle accident involves blunt trauma to the chest. This type of injury can be very painful and result in complications that need additional medical treatment. To protect yourself, seek prompt medical attention and contact an experienced personal injury attorney about your right to compensation.
About Broken Ribs
Having broken ribs means that one or more bones in the rib cage have been fractured or cracked. Most people with broken ribs only have one bone that has been cracked, but it's possible to fracture multiple rib bones. Having more than three broken ribs at one time can be considered potentially life threatening.
People with broken ribs will experience pain that increases when they take a deep breath, press on the injured area, or try to perform activities that involve bending and twisting the body. Symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, coughing blood, and having blood in the urine can indicate a severe fracture in need of emergency medical attention.
Complications associated with broken ribs include:
- Punctured lungs, which happen when the sharp, jagged end of a broken rib pierces the lung and causes it to collapse
- Lacerated spleen, liver, or kidneys if the bottom two ribs break and puncture an organ
- Torn or punctured aorta if one of the first three ribs breaks and damages a blood vessel
- Pneumonia due to impaired breathing—especially if you are avoiding deep breathing as the result of poorly controlled pain
Broken ribs may also be associated with internal bleeding, which means it is vital to seek a thorough medical evaluation after your motorcycle accident.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Broken Ribs
There are a number of approaches your doctor can use to diagnose your broken ribs:
- Listening to your breathing to determine if your breathing is impaired
- Pushing on your chest to determine the precise location of your pain
- CT scan
- Bone scan
Broken ribs will typically heal on their own within six weeks, assuming you suffer no complications from the injury. Treatment typically focuses on restricted activities, icing the area, and using medication for pain relief. You may also be given an incentive spirometer, which is a small tool used to measure breathing to monitor lung function as your ribs heal.
Seeking Damages for Your Broken Ribs
If the motorcycle accident that caused your broken ribs was the result of another party's negligence, you can seek compensation for your accident-related expenses in a personal injury claim. This is a type of civil legal action seeking reimbursement for:
- Medical care, including both emergency visits and follow-up appointments to monitor your healing
- Lost wages from the time you were facing restricted activities due to your broken ribs
- Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma
To win your case, you must be able to prove four key elements:
- Duty: The defendant had a duty to act in a manner that reduced the risk of injury to others.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant's actions breached this duty.
- Damages: You suffered specific compensable damages, such as lost wages, due to limited mobility from your broken ribs.
- Causation: Your injures can be proven to be caused by the defendant's actions.
If you are determined to be partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, you can still seek compensation in a personal injury claim. However, your settlement will be proportionately reduced to reflect your financial responsibility for your injuries.
The Value of Experienced Legal Representation
Having an experienced attorney who can advocate for your interests is the best way to protect your right to a fair settlement for your motorcycle accident injuries. Your attorney can gather evidence of liability, document damages, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
The dedicated legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to protecting the rights of Louisiana residents who've suffered serious motorcycle accident injures due to the negligence of others. Contact us online or call our office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.