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?
Our lawyers disagree with the insurance company not just on the settlement value of fractured ribs but the very definition of what is 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.
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. There may be technically no broken bone. But it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and hurts exactly the same as a fractured rib.
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 (which is a line we stole from one of our clients). Virtually EVERYTHING is painful: coughing, laughing, lifting, twisting, bending, and even breathing.
Fractures rib cases are a different breed of car accident injury because although they can be unbelievably painful, they require little and sometimes no medical treatment in the healing process. Rest and ice are free. But fractured ribs are really about allowing time to heal.
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 particularly when there is no medical treatment to go with it.
Let's compare two nearly identical cases:
- Whiplash neck and back injuries with $6,000 in medical bills
- 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.
Valuing broken ribs in a car accident lawsuit is difficult because it is an injury that involves a lot of pain but not much medical treatment. The typical settlement value of broken ribs in an auto accident lawsuit can be anywhere between $20,000 to $100,000 depending on various circumstances.
For starters, the more broken ribs the higher the case value will be. 5 broken ribs are going to be worth more than 1 broken rib. Beyond this the main factors which impact the settlement value of broken rib injuries in a lawsuit are the extent of medical treatment and case venue. By themselves, broken ribs have a more limited settlement value because they don’t require much medical treatment. But if broken ribs are combined with another injury that does require extensive treatment, they can really add a lot of value to a case. Also, in Maryland case venue can make a big impact in the value of rib injuries. Cases in Baltimore City and Prince George's County are going to have the highest value.
No. Like all skeletal injuries, broken ribs are easy to prove in car accident lawsuits. A rib fracture can be clearly and objectively identified on an x-ray.
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.
You also want to remember how important venue is in Maryland. Cases in Baltimore City and Prince George's County are going to have the highest value followed by Baltimore County, Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County, and Charles County. Behind those are Frederick County, Washington County and, in dead last in this group, Howard County. Claims in every other county in Maryland are even lower. Does this mean that you cannot get a good verdict or settlement in other Maryland counties? Of course not. A good case is a good case anywhere.
- November 2017, Maryland $1.6 Million: The defendant made a left turn in front of the plaintiff in Price George's County. As we just discussed, rib injury cases rarely stand alone and usually travel with other serious injuries. In this case, the plaintiff has a leg and knee fracture, and two rib fractures. The jury awarded $1,584,296.
- July 2016, Maryland $80,000. This is a case where the primary injury is rib fractures. A 71-year-old male suffers rib fractures after a T-bone crash in Baltimore County. The breakdown in the verdict was $46,258 for pain and suffering, $21,865 in medical bills, and $11,877 in lost wages.
- July 2014, Maryland: $32,951 Verdict: A 49-year-old HVAC contractor was stopped at an intersection near BWI Airport 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. His lawsuit claimed the other driver failed to keep a proper lookout. The defendant did not dispute that she struck the plaintiff’s vehicle. Instead, the battlefield was 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 in Glen Burnie. Her driver attempted to make a left turn across the southbound lanes of traffic. 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. The lawsuit argued the at-fault driver failed to yield the right-of-way. The defendant did not dispute Plaintiff’s rib injuries. Instead, the insurance company claimed the treatment plaintiff received for her neck and back injuries were excessive and unnecessary. An Anne Arundel County jury returned a $412,737.77 verdict for the plaintiff.
- July 2013, Maryland: $79,831 Verdict: This is another "primarily broken ribs" injury case with a similar result as the one above. 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. The defense was she was walking in the middle of the road. Plaintiff argued she was legally walking with traffic. An Anne Arundel County jury rendered a $79,831 verdict for the Plaintiff.
- 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 and struck 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 collided with her. A Howard County Circuit Court jury found the defendant negligent and awarded the Plaintiff $30,493. Again, Howard County juries can be tough on plaintiffs. This case is good evidence of this proposition.
- 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 orthopedic surgeries, she recovered. She sued the driver for negligence, claiming the defendant failed to maintain the proper lane of travel. The defendant did not deny liability, but did dispute the extent of the 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. They claimed Plaintiff was in the truck’s blind spot. The parties agreed to settle prior to trial for $500,000.
We battle hard - very hard - to get our clients compensated for all of their injuries on our terms, not the insurance company's terms. Our law practice is primarily focused in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Call us today to discuss your case at 800-553-8082 or get a free consultation online.More on Settlement Value of Broken and Fractured Ribs
- What can you tell me about the value of my case?
- Get the values of different injuries
- Is there a settlement formula to compute my payout? (short answer: yes and no... but really no)
- Contact a Lawyer at 800-553-8082 or get a free consultation