How Much is a Broken Sternum Worth in a Car Accident Settlement?
The sternum, also known as the breastbone, is a long, flat bone that runs down the center of the chest. It helps to protect the heart and lungs, and it also helps to transmit forces from the upper body to the lower body. A broken sternum can occur in car accidents, particularly if the victim is involved in a head-on collision or has been thrown forward by the force of the impact. For every 100 car accident victims, 3 to 7 will suffer a broken sternum.
When a broken sternum occurs due to a car accident, it’s possible for the victim to seek compensation from the at-fault party by submitting a claim and filing car accident settlement through their insurance company. The amount of compensation that can be sought depends on the severity of the injury, as well as any associated medical complications.
Diagnosis of Broken Sternum
A broken sternum is usually diagnosed with a lateral radiograph of the chest or a chest CT scan. These imaging tests can show a break in the bone and any displacement or dislocation of the fragments. In some cases, a broken sternum may be accompanied by other medical complications such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung) or hemothorax (blood in the chest).
In addition to imaging tests, your doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical examination. The physical examination typically involves checking for tenderness, bruising, and swelling over the sternum. Your doctor may also press on the sternum to see if there is any crepitus (a grating sensation).
How a Car Accident Can Cause a Broken Sternum
There are several ways that a car accident can cause a broken sternum. The steering wheel, dashboard, or another object can strike directly the chest. The force of the impact can also be transmitted through the body, even if the chest is not struck directly. This can happen if the windshield or another object strikes the head; the force may transfer to the sternum and cause a fracture. Finally, the chest can be squeezed or compressed during a car accident, which can fracture the sternum.
The car accident that causes broken sternum the most is a head-on collision. This is because the force of the impact from the front of the car can cause the chest to slam into the steering wheel or dashboard, fracturing the sternum.
Other types of car accidents that can cause broken sternum include:
- Side impact collisions: When a car is hit on the side, the sudden force can cause the chest to twist, putting pressure on the sternum. This can sometimes lead to a fracture.
- Rollover accidents: When the car rolls over, the force of the impact can cause the chest to slam into the roof of the car. This can also fracture the sternum.
- Pedestrian accidents: Pedestrians struck by cars are also at an increased risk of sternal fractures. When a pedestrian is hit by a car, the force of the impact can cause the chest to slam into the car. This can also fracture the sternum.
Average Settlement for Broken Sternum
The average settlement for a broken sternum is between $70,000 and $250,000. However, there have been cases where settlements have been higher or lower. For example, in one case, a woman was awarded $1 million after she suffered a broken sternum in a car accident.
The actual amount of compensation you receive will depend on a number of factors, including:
- The degree of disability caused by the injury
- The extent of your medical expenses
- The length of your recovery time
- Any lost wages or income
- Your pain and suffering
- Your emotional distress
- Your diminished quality of life
- Your ability to work or take part in activities you enjoy
- The fault of the other driver
It is important to note that these are just averages, and the compensation you receive could be higher or lower depending on the specific circumstances of your case. If you have been injured in a car accident, speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney is advised to discuss your legal options. An attorney can help you understand the factors that will affect the value of your claim and can fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Here are some examples of car accident settlements for broken sternums:
- A man who suffered a broken sternum in a car accident was awarded $100,000 in damages. He had to undergo surgery and physical therapy and missed several weeks of work.
- A woman who suffered a broken sternum and other injuries in a car accident was awarded $200,000 in damages. She had to be hospitalized for several days and underwent several surgeries. She also suffered from emotional distress and chronic pain, which increased the settlement amount.
- A teenager who suffered a broken sternum in a car accident was awarded $75,000 in damages. He had to wear a chest brace for several weeks and missed several weeks of school.
As you can see, the compensation you receive for a broken sternum can vary greatly depending on the specific circumstances of your case. It is good practice to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer to determine exactly what your case is worth.
How to Maximize Your Settlement After a Broken Sternum Car Accident
- Seek medical attention immediately. A doctor can diagnose your injuries and recommend the best course of treatment.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. This includes taking all your medications as prescribed and attending your doctor’s appointments.
- Keep track of all of your expenses. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, and any other expenses that are related to your injury.
- Get a copy of the police report. The police report will document the details of the accident, including the names and insurance information of the other drivers involved. This information can be helpful in proving your case.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. While you can file a car accident claim with the insurance company yourself, insurance companies have a reputation for lowballing car accident victims without legal representation. An auto accident attorney can help prevent that by negotiating and ensuring you receive the full compensation you deserve.
Importance of Timely Action
If you have been injured in a car accident and are considering filing a claim for compensation, it is important to act quickly. The sooner you contact an attorney, the more time they will have to investigate your case and build a strong claim on your behalf. Furthermore, there is a limited amount of time that you can legally file a claim after an accident. Taking the necessary steps to protect your rights is essential.
How to Reduce Your Risk of a Broken Sternum in a Car Accident
- Wear a seatbelt. A seatbelt helps to keep you in place during a collision, which can help to prevent your chest from hitting the dashboard or steering wheel.
- Use a child safety seat. Child safety seats help to keep children safe in the event of a collision.
- Avoid distractions. Avoid distractions such as talking on the phone, texting, or eating when driving. These distractions can take your attention away from the road and increase your risk of being in a collision.
- Drive defensively. Be aware of your surroundings and drive defensively. This means being prepared for the unexpected and avoiding aggressive driving behaviors.
- Get regular car maintenance. Ensure your car is properly maintained, including having the tires inflated and the brakes checked. This can help to prevent accidents and reduce the severity of injuries if a collision does occur.
A broken sternum due to a car accident can be a life-altering experience. However, understanding your rights and the compensation process can help provide some financial relief during this challenging time. Securing a knowledgeable personal injury attorney, acting quickly, and knowing your potential compensation before negotiating with insurers are all critical steps to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the auto accident settlement you deserve.
Find out the maximum compensation you could receive.
Find out the maximum compensation you could receive.