What Are the Symptoms of a Fractured Sternum?
Gregg Hollander | June 9, 2023 | Personal Injury
Car accidents and other personal injury incidents can cause numerous injuries, including fractured sternums. A fractured sternum can cause severe pain. It can also have long-term consequences that impact your ability to work and your quality of life.
Understanding the symptoms of a fractured sternum can help you recognize the injury. Prompt medical treatment is crucial after all car accidents to protect your health and your right to seek compensation for damages.
What Is a Fractured Sternum?
Your sternum is the bone attached to the first seven ribs and the collarbone. It forms the center front of the chest wall and helps protect vital organs, including the lungs and heart. Breastbone is another term for sternum.
A fractured sternum or sternal fracture is a break in the breastbone. Motor vehicle crashes are a common cause of sternal fractures, as they are most commonly caused by blunt chest trauma. However, other accidents can result in a fractured sternum, including slip and fall accidents, construction accidents, and boating accidents.
Common Symptoms of a Fractured Sternum
Any blunt force trauma to the chest can cause a fractured sternum. The symptoms you might experience if you fracture your sternum include the following:
- Sudden chest pain
- A crunching sound
- Pain while breathing
- Increased pain when moving, especially twisting or turning
- Discoloration or bruising along the breastbone
- Swelling around the injury site
It is always best to seek immediate medical care after a car accident. Depending on your symptoms, a doctor performs an examination and might run tests. Doctors typically confirm a fractured sternum through X-rays, CT scans, and ultrasounds.
How Do Doctors Treat a Fractured Sternum After an Accident?
A fractured sternum can take two or three months to heal. During that time, you might be unable to move your arms, bend, twist, or lift objects without pain. As a result, it might be difficult or impossible to work or perform activities of daily living.
Doctors often restrict activities and order rest during recovery. They might also have a patient work with occupational therapists or physical therapists to do deep breathing exercises to help reduce the risk of pulmonary complications.
For severe sternal fractures, surgery might be required. A surgeon might need to reconnect the sternum to the rib cage or wire a fractured sternum. Your physician will advise you of a treatment plan based on the severity of your sternal fracture.
Recovering Damages Caused by a Sternal Fracture
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Past and future medical bills
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages and benefits
- Mental anguish
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Physical therapy
- Disabilities and impairments
- A decrease in quality of life
- Diminished earning capacity
The value of a claim for a fractured sternum depends on the severity of your injury and other factors. You have the burden of proving the other driver caused the car accident and the car crash caused your injuries. If you cannot prove your case, the other driver is not liable for your damages.
Proving Liability for a Fractured Sternum Injury
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you prove your case for a broken sternum after an accident. Your attorney can gather evidence proving the other driver caused the crash, such as:
- Police reports and crash reports
- Medical records
- Eyewitness statements
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Statements by the drivers
- Data from vehicle recorders
- Videos of the collision
- Reports and opinions by accident reconstructionists and other experts
It is crucial that you have evidence proving the other driver caused the accident. Insurance companies often blame accident victims to reduce the value of a claim. Florida’s contributory fault laws reduce the amount you receive for an accident claim by your percentage of fault. You’ll also be barred from recovering compensation in a claim against the other party if you were mostly to blame.
Therefore, it is not in your best interest to talk with insurance adjusters about the accident without legal counsel. Your statements could be twisted to argue that you accepted fault or admitted to contributing to the cause of the crash.
Instead, allow an attorney to communicate with the insurance company for you. Then, while you focus on your recovery, your attorney focuses on recovering a fair settlement for your car accident claim.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in South Florida
If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyers in Florida at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Boca Raton Law Office
7000 W Palmetto Park Rd #500
Boca Raton, FL 33433
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Fort Lauderdale Law Office
200 S.E. 6th Street #203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – West Palm Beach Law Office
319 Clematis St #203
West Palm Beach, FL 33401