If you are not wearing your seatbelt when another motorist rams your car, you could hit the steering wheel hard enough to break your breastbone or sternum. To make matters worse, a breastbone fracture often coincides with other injuries such as lung and heart contusions. With up to 7 percent of sternum fractures associated with car accidents, it is not the most common collision-related injury, but it can be a severe one. A broken sternum attorney can help you protect your economic future while you focus on healing.
Why Is the Sternum Important?
The sternum is a vertical bone at the center of your chest that connects your collarbones and upper ribs. Along with the pectoral muscles, your sternum protects critical organs, bones and your spinal column from injury. When you break your breastbone, it can no longer adequately protect your organs. Consequently, you may suffer complications that require extended medical care and a longer recovery time.
Broken Sternum Symptoms
Extreme blunt force trauma is the leading cause of sternum fractures. Some symptoms to look for if you have hurt your chest in an accident include:
- Soreness and discoloration directly above the breastbone
- A crunching sound or sensation during movement
- Swelling above the site of the injury
- Painful or labored breathing
- Diagnosis and Treatment
Your physician will order X-rays of your chest if there is a good reason to suspect the breastbone is fractured. An MRI or CT scan may be necessary to determine whether you have collateral damage to your heart or lungs and if so, the extent of that damage. Because such testing can be costly, you should speak to a broken sternum attorney about financial compensation.
In two-thirds of cases, a fractured sternum is only a part of the damage that results from blunt force trauma. Your associated injuries might include:
- Soft tissue injuries to such organs as the lungs, heart, and diaphragm
- Chest wall injuries such as broken ribs
- Head, spinal, arm or leg fractures
Treatment for this type of serious injury ranges from bed rest to surgery. If you are suffering from a broken breastbone alone, you will probably not face time in the hospital. If your fracture requires surgery or you have associated damage, you may need to spend some time in the hospital. A sternum fracture alone takes an average of 10 weeks to heal, but if you have complications, it will take longer.
How Can I Get Compensation?
To be eligible for financial compensation, you first must be able to show that someone else was responsible for your injuries, either due to negligence or intent. In California, a shared liability state, the other party must carry the majority of the blame. If liability is clear, your broken sternum attorney will help you quantify your damages, from medical bills to loss of income. The law also allows you to claim pain and suffering, loss of consortium with your spouse and other intangible losses.
Get Legal Advocacy in Riverside and Orange County
When you are the victim of an injury accident, you need a legal advocate you can trust. At Rizio Law Firm, we fight to get the compensation you are due. We deal with insurance adjusters on your behalf and take your case to court if necessary. Get started today by filling out our online contact form, or schedule an initial cost-free consultation by calling us at 888-292-8888.