Home » Fractured Ribs After an Accident: What to do
Accidents can cause injuries, such as rib fractures, associated with severe pain and discomfort. People with rib injuries experience pain when breathing, laughing, walking, and sleeping, making their lives unbearable. Besides, rib injury could lead to severe complications since the rib cage protects vital organs such as the lungs and the heart. Therefore, the injured person should consider seeking compensation for the distress and losses caused by rib injuries. This piece highlights a few things to do when one suspects they have a fractured rib after an accident.
Understanding Rib Fractures
A rib fracture is generally a crack on one or more ribs, usually during an auto accident, especially a head-on collision. The impact of the crash usually makes the rib break or crack, leading to pain, discomfort, or complications if the internal organs are affected. Some people feel lucky after an accident and do not visit a medical facility, especially if they feel fine. However, a rib fracture might take some time to become noticeable. Therefore, if you injured your ribs in an accident, you should seek medical and legal assistance immediately. This is because the results of rib injuries are usually severe if the patient fails to seek timely medical intervention. Common symptoms of rib fracture include chest pains, shortness of breath, fever, breathing pain, dizziness, deformed chest, coughing, and lightheadedness.
The impact of a vehicle accident could cause rib bone misalignment. Although this is common during an accident, the broken and misaligned ribs could puncture the lungs, soft tissues, the heart, or blood vessels. People with rib fractures might have other injuries, such as back injuries, head trauma, and neck injuries. Therefore, injured persons should seek thorough examination, diagnosis, and timely treatment after an accident. Doctors usually request MRI, X-ray, and CT-scan to examine areas affected and identify the problem. These tests and examinations help reveal rib fractures and organ damage and start treatment immediately.
Treatment for Rib Fractures
After examination and diagnosis, doctors focus on pain management. When the pain is under control, health professionals may recommend breathing exercises to restore normal breathing and strengthen the lungs. They rarely use compression wraps since this might restrict breathing and increase the risk of partial lung collapse or pneumonia. The patient must stay active but avoid strenuous activities, movements, heights, or sports since a fall or impact could lead to re-fracture, further complicating the recovery process.
The doctors might also recommend icing or taking pain relievers to manage the pain. If pain medication is not enough, they might prescribe an anesthesia injection. Surgery is also an option but only necessary for severe or complex issues. After surgery, patients might take longer to heal and must follow specific aftercare follow-up services.
Broken ribs usually take one or two months to heal. However, the recovery duration for a flail chest injury or chest trauma may be longer. Pain management is the most important aspect during recovery since it allows the patient to continue breathing normally. Deep breathing helps prevent lung infections. The doctor might request the patient to cough into a pillow on the chest to absorb some force generated by coughing. The patients should sit upright if they experience pain when they lie down. They should also avoid smoking, which could lead to lung complications or delay rib healing.
Rib Fracture Complications
Broken ribs could tear blood vessels or internal organs such as the lungs. The risk is higher when there are multiple fractures or many broken ribs. Severe complications may arise if the ribs puncture the aorta, which carries blood from the heart to various body parts, leading to internal bleeding. Fractured ribs could also puncture the lungs, affecting the oxygen supply to the body. The lower ribs rarely develop fractures because they are usually flexible, but if they do, they could damage the liver, kidneys, and spleen. Patients who experience severe pain may avoid coughing because of pain and develop pneumonia. Old age, drinking alcohol, using IV fluids, and being male are the risk factors that increase the chances of developing pneumonia after a rib fracture.
Tips to Recover Compensation
After rib injuries, patients should seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and suffering experienced. This is especially true if the injury happened while working or due to a negligent contractor. Fortunately, they can seek the help of lawyers, such as Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys, to pursue financial relief for economic and non-financial damages. Monetary damages associated with rib fractures include medical costs, lost income, lost future income, and property damage. Generally, patients can provide tangible evidence of financial loss through medical bills, invoices, pay stubs, bills, and receipts.
However, non-economic damages are hard to prove and quantify in monetary terms. They include issues that affect the person physically and emotionally. They include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, permanent scarring, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment. Fortunately, the law seeks to restore the injured person to their position before the rib fracture occurred. The compensation also takes care of future inconveniences or losses since the injured person may not be able to perform the same job after the injury. Therefore, a person with a fractured rib should seek the help of a lawyer to ensure total compensation and recover all the relevant expenses.
Rib fractures are common injuries caused by accidents, which could lead to long-term or permanent disability. Chest injuries, including rib fractures, may take time to heal, depending on the severity. Fortunately, a competent lawyer can help deal with the relevant insurance company to secure compensation. The lawyer may also advise the injured person whether they are entitled to punitive damages if the party responsible for causing the rib fracture conducted actions that could be interpreted as malice, fraud, or oppression. Punitive damages punish wrongdoers for their actions to punish the responsible party and prevent similar future behavior by the same person or others.
Unfortunately, dealing with insurance companies is not always easy, especially if the injured person does not understand the relevant laws. Since insurance companies are profit-making ventures, they might use various tactics to minimize compensation amount. However, a lawyer can represent the injured person to counter those tactics and pursue rightful compensation even in a court of law.
Rib fractures could lead to significant financial losses, health complications, and long-term consequences. Therefore, it is vital to recognize symptoms of rib fracture and seek timely treatment. If a different party caused the injury, the injured person should work with healthcare providers and legal professionals for treatment and compensation.
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