A fractured sternum is an exceptionally painful injury that can have a lasting impact on your quality of life and health. Frequently sustained from the force of a seat belt in a car accident, a fractured sternum is often accompanied by other complications, such as internal, spinal, and/or head injuries, or broken ribs. Because the sternum is located at the front of the ribcage, a fracture here can make it painful to laugh, speak, or even breathe.
Because it’s very likely you sustained other injuries with your fractured sternum, it’s important to visit a doctor as soon as possible. Often, symptoms of spinal and head injuries do not show up right away. The sooner you can get checked for these issues, the better you’ll be able to protect your health. You’ll also increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to recover the maximum amount for your injuries since your doctor will start documenting your injuries and treatment right away.
While your health should be your primary concern after an accident, it’s also wise to start considering your legal options. Below, we cover the basics of fractured sternum injury cases and what to think about when you begin looking for a personal injury lawyer.
Damages in a Fractured Sternum Injury Case
The impact that a fractured sternum has on your life — and your finances — usually depends on how severely you are injured. If your doctor recommends more invasive procedures, such as surgery, you may need to miss work for some time, which means you could lose some portion of your income.
Additionally, if you have co-occurring issues like head trauma or a spinal injury, you may experience a lasting or even permanent effect on your ability to earn a living, as well as other impacts like the inability to enjoy favorite activities or live your life to its fullest.
If it can be proven that you have experienced harms and losses from your injury, it may be possible to claim these as damages in your case and seek compensation for them. Specifically, here are some common types of damages we commonly see in fractured sternum cases.
- Medical expenses. The cost of medical care, including treatments and procedures, all fall into this category.
- Lost income/ability to earn a living. If your injury causes you to miss work and lose income, or if your ability to do your job is permanently affected, you may be able to claim compensation for these losses.
- Pain and suffering. Fractured sternum injuries are very painful. Pain and suffering is a category of damages that compensates victims for physical and mental anguish.
- Loss of quality of life. If your injury affects your ability to enjoy your life and participate fully in activities, then you may be able to recover damages for loss of quality of life. This is especially true with a permanent injury.
What Factors Can Affect Your Fractured Sternum Injury Case?
All injury cases are unique. The timeline of your case, the amount of compensation you can recover, and your likelihood of obtaining that compensation all depend on the circumstances. Specifically, there are several factors that you’ll want to consider when evaluating your legal options.
- Other injuries. Just 9 percent of sternal fractures from car accidents occur without other injuries to the body. While the fracture may heal by itself after some time, co-occurring spinal or head injuries may last much longer or even cause permanent damage. If you have one of these other injuries along with the fracture, you will likely need to claim more compensation. This is because you may have a longer and more expensive treatment program along with a larger impact on your life and ability to earn a living.
- Treatment. In some cases, a fractured sternum requires more aggressive treatments, such as surgery. This can extend the length of your recovery and usually requires you to miss work as you heal. That, along with the extra medical costs, can have a large impact on your finances.
- Missed work. If you had to take off from work while you were recovering from your injury, you will likely be able to claim more compensation in your case for lost earnings.
- Loss of ability to earn a living. A complicated or seriously fractured sternum could permanently affect your ability to earn a living. In that case, you will need to claim even more compensation for these damages.
- The amount of compensation you need. Large claims often take much longer to resolve. This is because insurance providers and other liable parties will often fight harder to lower your claim, making it necessary for your lawyer to work even harder for fair compensation.
- Whether your case goes to trial. In some cases, it’s not possible to reach an acceptable settlement through negotiation alone. Trial cases almost always take longer to resolve than those that are settled outside of court.
- Who’s liable for your accident. In some cases, it is relatively clear who’s at fault for an accident. In others, the truth may be less obvious. If you share some responsibility for the accident, it will likely limit the amount of compensation you can recover. Additionally, if the accident involved multiple drivers or insurance providers, that can make your case more complicated. Cases like these often require the skill of an experienced car accident attorney.
How a Lawyer Can Help with Your Fractured Sternum Injury Case
Any time you are involved in a serious car accident, it’s a good idea to consult with a lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand what you can do to protect yourself and what your options are as you decide to move forward with your case. Statistically, you’ll also be a lot more likely to obtain the fullest amount of recovery if you consult with an attorney. Here’s what a car accident lawyer will bring to your case:
- Providing insight into your legal rights and options. Lawyers understand how to negotiate with insurers and negligent parties without damaging your case. They should also be able to weigh the likelihood that you will be able to obtain a settlement or favorable verdict and advise you on how to move forward with your case.
- Negotiating and communicating on your behalf. When you are seriously injured, you may not have the stamina or ability to deal with your case by yourself. Hiring a lawyer will take this task off of your shoulders while you focus on recovering from your injury.
- Calculating the value of your damages. It’s usually difficult to estimate how much compensation you will actually need to recover from your injury, particularly if you’re facing a long medical treatment plan or permanent impact on your life. A lawyer will help you estimate past, current, and future costs and assign a value to non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
- Maximizing your recovery. The simple fact is that most accident victims recover more compensation when they hire a lawyer to work on their behalf. Lawyers understand tactics that insurance providers and others use to undermine settlements and deny coverage, and they can help you avoid pitfalls that may limit the value of your settlement or verdict.
Why Hire FVF to Help with Your Fractured Sternum Injury Case?
When consulting with an auto accident attorney, it’s important to find one you can trust. Our firm of Austin injury lawyers has years of experience with car accident case settlements and verdicts and a reputation for delivering excellent results for our clients. Some of the values and benefits of consulting with our firm include:
- Compassionate counsel. We understand how difficult and painful a car accident injury can be. That’s why we strive to offer clients sympathy, support, and skillful counsel that will help them seek the compensation they need to recover.
- Education-first approach. Our goal at FVF is not to pressure you into hiring our team. We want you to have a full understanding of your rights and options in a case, even if you decide not to use our services.
- Reputation and experience. With over 80 years of combined experience among our staff; excellent ratings on Yelp, Google, and AVVO; and inclusion on prestigious lists like Super Lawyers Rising Stars, we know that we can build a strong strategy to seek the compensation you deserve.
- Free case consultation. Consult with our lawyers for free so you can meet our attorneys, learn about your rights and options, and decide how best to proceed with your case in a no-pressure environment.
At FVF, we believe that Austin injury victims deserve the best legal support available. Contact us today to schedule your no-cost consultation and learn more about your fractured sternum injury case.