The Pain of Fractured Ribs Following a San Diego Auto Collision

Posted on January 21, 2016 by bermanstaff

While not the most lethal injury sustained in a car crash, fractured ribs can be one of the most painful. As anyone who has ever fractured or even badly bruised their ribs will tell you, the recovery process is long, frustrating, and excruciating. Simply not being able to breathe properly is frightening in and of itself. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2.3 million people suffer serious injuries on the roadways every year, thousands of which injuries are fractured ribs. People can fracture ribs simply from coughing, but in a car crash, the most likely way to fracture a rib is from a direct blow to the chest (the steering wheel is a prime example). If you have suffered a break in the cartilage connecting the rib cage together, it is still referred to as a broken rib and the pain and recovery can be just as miserable.

Fractured Ribs can be Lethal Under the Wrong Circumstances

The purpose of the rib-cage is to offer protection for vital organs, and to offer a frame for core and chest muscles on which to perform their duties (breathing, for example). When a rib or multiple ribs are fully fractured, they can sever the organs beneath or slice through blood vessels. This can cause organ damage, internal bleeding, and collapsed lung (termed pneumothorax). It is vital to seek medical attention after a car wreck that leaves you unable to breathe properly or causes serious chest. In the event that three or more ribs are fractured in multiple places, it is called flail chest. Flail chest is a serious injury that reduces the victim’s ability to breath, due to a loss of space within the chest cavity and loss of muscle function used to breathe.

The Signs and Symptoms of a Fractured Rib Following a San Diego Car Accident

If you notice any of the signs or symptoms listed below, seek medical attention immediately and contact an experienced San Diego car accident attorney to discuss the compensation you may be owed:

  • Chest pain;
  • Pain when taking a breath;
  • Pain when you or another presses on your chest;
  • Breathing difficulties;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Anxiety or fear;
  • Headache; and
  • Feeling sleepy, dizzy, or tired.

The Recovery Process of Fractured Ribs

Unlike a splint or cast for a broken arm, there is not very much that can be done for a fractured or badly bruised rib. The most important thing to remember is that rest and time will heal it, and taking it easy until then is the best thing you can do. Other than that, follow the steps listed below:

  • Apply ice within the first two to three days for 20 to 30 minutes (not directly to the skin);
  • Get plenty of sleep and rest;
  • Take over the counter pain medication or medication prescribed by your doctor; and
  • Cough or take a very deep breath every hour, despite the pain it may cause, to help prevent pneumonia or partial collapse of the lung tissue.

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 compensation from the negligent party. Give the law offices of Berman & Riedel, LLP a call today at 858-350-8855 for a free consultation.

About Berman & Riedel, LLP firm managing partner attorney William M. Berman:

Attorney William M. Berman focuses his practice in the areas of catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death and elder abuse and neglect. Strictly a plaintiffs’ dedicated firm, he never represents insurance companies in the defense of claims. Mr. Berman’s firm remains staunchly committed to helping those who have suffered serious injury or loss due the negligence, intentional misconduct or wrongful acts of others. Mr. Berman has grown his firm to what is considered one of the largest and most successful elder abuse/neglect practices within California. Through his continued successes in handling claims involving nursing home and elder abuse and neglect, Mr. Berman remains a prominent figure in advocating on behalf of this vulnerable class of citizens.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to common questions people have about personal injury cases and working with a lawyer. During your initial consultation, we will be happy to answer questions that are particular to your case.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

The attorneys at Berman & Riedel, LLP, accept cases on a contingency-fee basis. This type of agreement means you do not pay any attorneys’ fees out-of-pocket for legal representation. Attorneys’ fees are also contingent on the outcome of your case.

You benefit from legal representation in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of a settlement or jury award. We will only recover a fee if you recover compensation.

Can You Tell Me How Much My Case Is Worth?

There is no way to determine the exact value of a personal injury case, especially early in your case. However, an experienced attorney can give you an estimated range based on their experience with similar cases.

There are many factors that may influence the value of your case, such as:

  • Your total financial or economic damages
  • The severity of your injuries
  • The impact of your injuries on your daily life
  • The strength of your case
  • Whether you share fault for your accident
  • Insurance policy limits 

Some damages are easy to calculate, such as lost wages and medical bills. Calculating the value of diminished earnings for the rest of your life or future medical needs; however, may require the help of experts. Non-economic damages like pain and suffering have no intrinsic financial value. These damages are challenging to calculate. 

If your case goes before a jury, you may potentially be able to recover more than you could through a settlement. However, this introduces a new element of risk: the jury. The circumstances of your accident and even how sympathetic you or the defendant are can influence the outcome.

During your consultation, and throughout your case, we will help you understand how these factors influence your case. We will also work tirelessly to document the value of all your damages and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.

Will My Case Go to Trial?

The vast majority of cases are resolved by reaching a settlement agreement outside of court. Very few personal injury cases actually go to trial, but it is more likely if the facts in your case are in dispute, a legal issue is being contested, or you have a high-value case.

An experienced lawyer will build your case as if it will go to trial from the beginning. The stronger your case and evidence, the more likely a fair settlement will be reached.

How Do I Know If I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If your case involves mostly property damage or minor injuries, you likely do not need a lawyer to handle a claim with the insurance company. The more serious your injuries, or the more complex your case, the more important it becomes to seek experienced legal counsel.

Remember that the insurance company is not on your side, even if the insurance adjuster seems sympathetic and you receive a settlement offer. If you are being blamed for your accident or sustained serious injury, a lawyer will help you protect your rights and build the strongest case possible. This includes calculating the full value of your current and future losses.

Legal representation is also vital if your case involves a complex area of law such as elder abuse or neglect, premises liability, commercial vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, or serious work-related accidents. Determining liability, navigating decades of legal precedence, and interpreting specific statutes in these cases is best done with years of relevant legal experience.

Do You Accept Cases Outside of San Diego?

While our law office is located in San Diego, Berman & Riedel, LLP, accepts cases throughout the state of California.


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