Broken or Fractured Ribs in Car Accident

How much money should you expect in a motor vehicle accident where your most serious injury was broken or fractured ribs? Valuing personal injury cases is always a challenge but broken and fractured rib cases are a particular challenge. Insurance companies notoriously undervalue rib injury cases which means you are often in for a fight if you want the full value for all of the harm that has been done to you.

What Is a Fractured Rib?

These cases are not only hard to value, our lawyers are often arguing with the insurance companies over the very definition of a fractured rib. A classic dictionary definition is a fracture is a crack or break (which is why we used the terms interchangeably) in the rib cage.

Fractured ribs

But it is also fair to call it a fractured rib when there is a break in the cartilage connecting the ribs to the breastbone although there is technically no broken bone.

We handle different types of personal injury tort claims but almost all of the broken rib as the primary injury suffered cases are motor vehicle collisions involving the occupants of a vehicle in the crash. If you are, for example, in a pedestrian accident, your rib injury is likely to be the least of your worries.

What Is Different About Rib Injury Cases?

The pain in fractured rib cases can be awful. You cannot live a normal life while recovering. Our clients have described this pain in a host of different ways. They all sound agonizing. The best metaphor is someone putting out a cigarette with a stiletto shoe on your chest. Virtually EVERYTHING is painful: coughing, laughing, lifting, twisting, bending, and even breathing.

Fractures rib cases are a different breed of car accident injury because in spite of the fact that they can be unbelievably painful, they require little and sometimes no medical treatment in the healing process. Rest and ice are free.

Insurance companies are caught in a fictional world where medical bills are the real indication of pain and suffering. They discount human pain anyway, but particuarly when there is no medical treatment to go with it.

Let's compare two nearly identical cases:

  1. Whiplash neck and back injuries with $6,000 in medical bills
  2. Whiplash neck and back injuries with two fractured ribs and $6,000 in medical bills.

We cannot tell you the value of the first case. There are too many variables at play. But let us say that those values add up to a settlement value of $15,000. That same case with the two rib fractures could be worth $40,000.

Look, do not get caught up in these specific numbers. That case could have a value of $20,000 or a value of $100,000. There are too many factors to try to pin down the exact settlement value of a two broken ribs injury case based on such limited facts. But you get the idea: fractured ribs can add a good deal to the value of a claim.

But the insurance companies rarely see these injuries the same way which make settling these cases before filing a lawsuit more of a challenge.

Sample Settlements and Verdicts

We really want to help victims better understand the range of value of their cases which is why our law firm has been a leader in getting up average verdict statistics and sample settlements and verdicts in different types of injury cases. We qualify our information by telling victims not to read too much into a single verdict because a past result cannot predict a future outcome. Why? There are just way too many variables of differing weights that go into a jury's verdict. This is an art, not a science. But this speech should be amplified even more with fractured ribs because most of the cases have other injuries and it is hard to parse out what part of the case was for the fractured ribs. So while these will better help you understand the value of personal injury claims, take them with a few grains tablespoons of salt.

broken ribs
  • July 2014, Maryland: $32,951 Verdict: A 49 year-old HVAC contractor was stopped at an intersection near BWI when he was rear-ended. He treated at a local clinic that same evening where he was diagnosed with two fractured ribs. He sought physical therapy treatment for eight weeks following the accident. The man filed suit against the driver who rear-ended him, claiming Defendant failed to keep a proper lookout. Defendant did not dispute that she struck Plaintiff’s vehicle, but did argue the extent of his injuries. They presented their arguments to the Allegany County Circuit Court, where a jury rendered a $32,951 verdict for the Plaintiff.
  • April 2014, Maryland: $412,737.77 Verdict: A 30 year-old bartender was riding as a passenger in a vehicle traveling northbound on Ritchie Highway. Her driver attempted to make a left turn across the southbound lanes of traffic when they were struck by a southbound travelling vehicle. She was transported to a local emergency room and treated for three fractured ribs, body bruising and neck and back injuries. She sued her driver for negligence, claiming he failed to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic. While Defendant did not dispute Plaintiff’s rib injuries,he did claim that any treatment Plaintiff received for neck and back injuries were excessive and unnecessary. An Anne Arundel County jury returned a $412,737.77 verdict for the Plaintiff; however, the amount was reduced to a stipulated sum of $100,000 (policy limits).
  • July 2013, Maryland: $79,831 Verdict: A 30 year-old forklift operator was struck by a large pick-up truck while walking on the shoulder of Ft. Smallwood Road in Pasadena late one evening. She was rushed by ambulance from the scene where she was admitted to Shock Trauma for two days. She was treated for seven fractured ribs, lacerations to her spleen and liver, and soft tissue injuries. She sued the driver for negligence. Defendant contended Plaintiff was contributorily negligent as she was walking in the middle of the road. Plaintiff argued she was walking with traffic pursuant to the law and alleged Defendant failed to keep a proper lookout. An Anne Arundel County Jury rendered a $79,831 verdict for the Plaintiff.
  • ribs
  • May 2011, Maryland: $30,493 Verdict: A man was riding his bicycle during his lunch break in Howard County. While riding in the right lane, a woman attempted to back into the roadway from her driveway only to strike the bicyclist. He was hospitalized for two days and treated for three fractured ribs, a fractured collarbone, and fractured pelvis. He sued the driver for negligence claiming she failed to properly observe the roadway before backing out. Defendant claimed she was actually pulling into the driveway and Plaintiff attempted to pass her and, in doing, so collided with her vehicle doing so. A Howard County Circuit Court jury found Defendant negligent and awarded the Plaintiff $30,493.
  • September 2010, Maryland: $415,000 Verdict: A woman was driving southbound on Muddy Creek Road in Edgewater when she was struck head on by a vehicle that crossed the center line. She suffered multiple fractured ribs, three fractured vertebrae, a dislocated hip, and collapsed lungs. Her injuries were so severe she was given her last rites following the accident. Miraculously, after multiple orthopaedic surgeries, she recovered. She sued the driver for negligence, claiming Defendant failed to maintain the proper lane of travel. Defendant did not deny liability, but did dispute the extent of Plaintiff’s damages. An Anne Arundel County jury returned a $415,000 verdict for the Plaintiff.
  • February 2010, Maryland: $50,000 Settlement: A 50 year-old bicyclist was stopped at the intersection of Eye Street, N.W. and 12 Street, N.W. in the District of Columbia. When the light turned green he attempted to pedal straight through the intersection but was struck by a dump truck attempting to make a right turn directly into his travel lane. The bicyclist was dragged an entire city block before construction workers alerted the driver of the situation. The man was hospitalized for over two weeks for multiple rib fractures, a torn MCL and a fractured acetabulum. He sued the driver and his employer for negligence. Plaintiff claimed the accident was caused by Defendant Driver negligently turning into his path. Defendants denied liability and claimed Plaintiff was in the truck’s blind spot. The parties agreed to settle prior to trial for $500,000.
Contact Us

We battle hard - very hard - to get our clients compenated for all of their injuries on our terms, not the insurance company's terms. Our law practice is primarly focused in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Call us today to discuss your case at 800-553-8082 or get a free consultation online.

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