Personal Injury: Seeking Compensation for Sternal Injuries After a Car Accident

Broken bones are common injuries when you’re in a car accident. Depending on the severity of the accident, you can get broken ribs, arms, legs, ankles, or wrists. One of the most common and painful injuries resulting in a car accident is chest injuries or cracked sternum. About 3% of auto accidents result in sternal injuries.

A broken or fractured sternum occurs when the bone in the middle of your chest breaks. It is a common injury not just in auto accidents but also when someone falls from a significant height. This kind of injury can cause serious long-term health problems and must be promptly addressed by a medical professional.

Suppose you are suffering from sternum fractures caused by someone else recklessness. In that case, you are eligible to file a claim to recover the costs of your medical expenses and seek compensation for lost wages.

Fractured Sternum: Are You Eligible for Compensation?

If you suffered from sternal injuries, you are eligible to file a compensation claim. However, you must prove you were owed a legal duty of care, the defendant was negligent, and an accident occurred as a result. You are also eligible for compensation if your sternum was fractured in a car accident or you were diagnosed with sternal injuries within three years of an accident.

You can file a claim for sternal injuries for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages include coverage for accrued medical bills, lost wages, and repair costs of your damaged vehicle. Non-economic damages cover loss of quality of life, physical pain and suffering, emotional and psychological trauma, and other indefinite losses.

Economic and non-economic are called compensatory damages. These are intended to provide compensation for your losses. Meanwhile, punitive damages will punish the defendant for causing severe injury. If you win this lawsuit and are awarded punitive damages, you can expect to receive three times the amount you received in compensatory damages.

Proving Your Sternal Injury Claims

In most cases, sternum fracture injury claims will be passed to the defendant’s insurance company for settlement. As you may know, dealing with an insurance company and its agents can be overwhelming. They may do everything in their power to lower the settlement amount.

As such, you must ensure you have as much proof as possible to prove your claims. At the accident scene, take pictures and videos of your injuries and the damages to your vehicle if you can. You should also secure footage from your dashcam or security cameras in the area.

If there are witnesses to the accident, get their contact information and witness statements. It is also essential to report the accident and get a copy of the accident report. This will help you prove that your sternum was broken because of the accident. Lastly, secure a copy of your medical records. Medical records and X-rays confirm a fractured sternum, so these records will help you strengthen your claim.

Be Mindful of the Statute of Limitations

You have three years from the accident date to file sternum injury claims. Sternum injuries are usually not immediately apparent, so the countdown for the time limit starts when the injury is discovered. For minors, the time limit doesn’t start until they are 18, but parents and guardians can file the claim on the minor’s behalf. 

The rule of thumb is to start filing your claim as early as possible when evidence is fresh and more straightforward to collect. Witnesses will also have an easier time recalling details of the accidents to support your claim.

How Long Do You Have to Wait for Settlement?

Various factors determine how long it will take for your fractured sternum claim to be resolved. These include the severity of the injury and the evidence you’ve gathered. In some cases, it only takes a few months to receive compensation, while others can take a year or longer. The latter happens when it’s become a challenge to reach an agreement on what damages should be awarded.

If you have submitted all the necessary documents and filed your claims within the statute of limitations, you should receive an amicable settlement.

Maximize Your Sternum Injury Claim

Aside from securing necessary evidence, it would be helpful to remember some do’s and don’ts to maximize your claim. First, after the accident, call 911 and allow EMTs to check you and take you to the hospital while ensuring that the police investigate the accident. You will need their accident report as evidence. Seek a specialist and undergo physical therapy to speed up your recovery. Make sure to save all the receipts for your care.

Don’t offer statements to the police or insurance agents without consulting a lawyer. Provide basic information, but don’t volunteer any other information. When dealing with the insurance company, be prepared to submit all evidence to avoid delays in your claim. Lastly, never agree to insufficient offers.

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