It is an injury that can make the most simple tasks immensely painful. Getting in and out of chairs, sitting and typing, and lying down while simply breathing are all made difficult by fractured ribs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are 2.3 million people each year who suffer serious injuries in auto accidents. Many of them break ribs in addition to various other injuries, and the fractured ribs may be the most difficult on their list of injuries.
Complications of a Fractured Rib
While there is little to be done in terms of “fixing” a fractured rib, that does not mean that if you suspect that you have broken a rib that you should forgo medical attention. In fact, fractured ribs can present serious health complications such as internal bleeding from severed blood vessels, damage to organs, and collapsed lung from a punctured lung. Serious breathing complications may arise if the damage is severe and spread to multiple ribs. If three or more ribs have been broken in multiple areas, a condition called flail chest may arise. Flail chest occurs when the ribcage is no longer able to support itself in the area of damage, which results in a decreased area for the lungs to expand into. If a flail chest victim is not able to breathe and therefore not able to deliver the necessary amounts of oxygen to vital organs and the brain, they may lose consciousness or even die. For these reasons, if you suspect that you have broken a rib or multiple ribs, or that your sternum is broken (which is also referred to as a broken rib in medical terms) it is crucial to seek medical attention for an evaluation. As with most injuries and illnesses, older people are at the most risk. In most cases, car crash victims over the age of 60 who died from a chest wound had no injury worse than broken ribs, as found in a 2006 study.
Symptoms of a Fractured Rib
- Chest pain;
- Breathing pain;
- Shortness of breath;
- Other breathing difficulties;
- Dizziness; and
Recovering From Fractured Ribs
Assuming there are no complications along with the fractured rib(s), the recovery process is fairly straightforward:
- Ice for two to three days;
- Use prescribed or over the counter pain medication;
- Avoid strenuous activity; and
- Cough or take a deep breath once per hour to avoid pneumonia or partial lung collapse.
There are no slings, braces, or casts that can help someone recover from a fractured rib. Unfortunately they can take months to heal, which is why contacting an experienced car accident attorney to help you recover compensation is so important. An attorney can help you secure the funds necessary to pay your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one fractured a rib or multiple ribs in a car accident that was no fault of your own, there is a chance that you are entitled to collect significant compensation from the negligent party. Contact the Columbus, Ohio, law offices of Ohio Car Accident Lawyers today for experienced legal counsel.