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Broken Ribs from Automobile Collisions


Fractured or broken ribs from North Carolina car collisions are generally due to impact to the chest area during the collision. Breaks or cracks can occur when the driver collides with the steering wheel, when a passenger collides with the dash, or under the sheer force of the seatbelt against the chest during a high impact collision.

The rib cage encloses the body’s thoracic cavity, which contains the lungs. Rib fractures, which are painful and can take months to heal, are the most common type of injury that occurs when there is blunt trauma to the thorax (chest region), according to the medical journal Clinics. The ribs located at the uppermost section are largely protected by our shoulder blades and collarbone. The lower ribs are more flexible and, therefore, more susceptible to injury during an accident.

Common Symptoms of Fractured Ribs

There are 12 pairs of ribs in the human body; during a serious North Carolina car wreck, any of the 24 ribs can potentially sustain an injury. Some fractures are partial cracks, while others are so severe that the bone is fully broken into two or more pieces.

Cracked ribs cause a significant amount of pain and discomfort. Fully broken ribs are even more painful, and also have a tendency to be far more dangerous because it is not uncommon for a fully broken rib to puncture and damage nearby organs, such as the lungs, kidneys, the spleen, or the liver. Broken ribs can also puncture the aorta, the body’s main artery.

Broken ribs limit the victim’s ability to take deep breaths. Attempting to breathe deeply proves to be very painful. Other symptoms of a fractured or broken rib include the following.

  • Tenderness and pain in the affected area that worsens upon touch
  • Pain when you bend or twist your body
  • Tightness in chest
  • The sensation of bone scraping across bone
  • Pain when coughing
  • Swelling and bruising in the fractured area
  • Internal bleeding

How do Doctors Treat Fractured or Broken Ribs?

After diagnosis, your doctor may advise you to wear a chest binder order to protect your ribs while you heal and allow you to breathe properly and more comfortably. Other parts of a treatment plan for broken ribs usually include the following.

  • Moderated activity – Doctors order most patients with fractured ribs to get ample amounts of rest and reduce their physical activity to allow their bodies time to heal. You will likely to have to take a good bit of time off of work to heal, particularly if you have a physically active job.
  • Breathing exercises – It is also important to consciously take periodic deep breaths during the healing process. It may be painful to inhale deeply, but it is important in keeping the lungs healthy and free of infections such as pneumonia.
  • Medication – Doctors often recommend over-the-counter pain medications to manage the pain, as well as anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling around the injured ribs. If the pain is substantial, prescriptions may be necessary.
  • Physical therapy – Therapists can recommend certain exercises to teach you how to move without pain, while at the same time keeping up your strength and circulation.
  • Surgery – Surgery may be required if a portion of the rib cage becomes detached from the chest wall or to repair a punctured organ or blood vessel.

Representation for Broken Ribs

Expenses can rack up quickly for broken rib injuries, and recovery can be a lengthy process. Because damages can be so substantial, consider speaking with local accident attorney about your case. When you have suffered as a result of another’s neglect such as in a car accident, your case deserves thorough review so that you can fully recover for your losses.

If you’ve suffered broken ribs in a North Carolina automobile collision caused by another driver’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for the damages you’ve incurred. Maginnis Law’s lead personal injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard is experienced in handling complex cases including those involving victims who have suffered broken ribs due to the negligence of another North Carolina driver.

All personal injury matters are handled on a contingency basis – meaning that you do not pay any attorneys’ fee unless and until we make a recovery on your behalf. You can contact us at 919.526.0450. Email inquiries may be sent as a confidential message through our contact page.