Compensation For Rib Injuries - Groups Affected And Who Is Likely To Be Able To Claim

 By: Harry Marldon
The rib cage is a core part of the skeleton, forming a protective barrier around crucial internal organs, including the heart and lungs. Serious broken rib injuries often involve damage to these vital organs, especially when multiple ribs are broken in one accident. A broken rib may be both troubling and intensely painful. It can be difficult to find a comfortable posture while sitting down or lying in bed, and mobility will be limited. In some cases an injured person may experience breathing difficulties caused by the rib cage's loss of shape and functional ability. Daily activities such as walking and driving may become difficult or impossible, and a patient may require weeks or even months off work before their broken rib has fully healed.

The majority of broken rib injuries heal within 4-6 weeks, and can be treated at home using painkillers and ice packs. A broken rib may not be immediately obvious, and may only become apparent from pain when pressure is placed on the rib cage, such as when laughing, coughing or sneezing. Coughing up blood is another common symptom of a broken rib injury. Where multiple ribs have been fractured, or where the individual bones have broken into multiple pieces, surgical intervention will most likely be required. Serious accidents may also cause Flail Chest, where the rib cage has become detached from the chest (thoracic) wall. This condition can cause potentially fatal damage to the heart and lungs. Stress fractures of the rib bones may also develop over a period of time, a form of repetitive strain injury, where the bones deteriorate due to the regular, routine physical stress that is placed upon them.

Around three quarters of broken rib injuries recorded at hospitals each year are sustained by males, mainly due to higher levels of physical activity among men relative to women. This is especially true in a work context, where many professions that involve routine heavy lifting and carrying of loads are exclusively male. Those working at height face a particular risk of broken rib injuries from falls, from a roof or ladder for example. Common accidents in busy, crowded, cramped and mechanised working environments include collisions between work vehicles and workers. The most severe types of broken rib injuries most often occur when a worker is crushed by a reversing vehicle against a wall or other stationary object. Pieces of equipment may also fall from height, striking those below, or a person may fall awkwardly following a slip or trip and sustain a rib fracture.

Broken ribs commonly result from falls in public places, especially among older people and children, whose bones are weaker than those of a normal adult. This may be fall from defective installations, such as a climbing frame in a playground, or due to a fall over a defect in a shop's car park, such as a pot hole or ice in winter. In supermarkets, spilled produce may create a slipping hazard for shoppers, or floors may be left in a slippery state following cleaning. The owners of occupiers of premises visited by the public, including schools and commercial premises, must hold public liability insurance to deal with the risk of visitors falling and breaking ribs while on their property. Compensation for a broken rib injury may be up to •£2,500 where a full recovery is made within a matter of weeks. Awards may rise substantially depending on residual complications caused by the original injury.
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