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Broken ribs are common injuries in people who have been in a car accident. They can happen as the airbag inflates or the torso hits a door panel. Unfortunately, a broken rib can have a jagged edge that can damage internal organs. Also, some accident victims may only end up with bruised ribs, which is a less severe rib injury. Although this injury causes pain, some people may just shrug it off. Unfortunately, broken and bruised ribs often cause significant pain that limits breathing, resulting in pneumonia. Especially in the elderly, pneumonia can be life-threatening. 

If you sustain a blow to your chest that results in persistent pain, which tends to increase whenever you inhale, you must seek immediate medical attention. If you suffered broken ribs in a car accident that resulted from the negligence of another driver, you must speak with a skilled car accident attorney. You can read more broken and bruised ribs and what you can do about them below: 

Symptoms of Bruised or Broken Ribs

When your chest or rib cage is subjected to a direct blow, your ribs could break into pieces. Pain is the main symptom of a broken rib. You experience this pain whenever you breathe, cough, laugh, or sneeze. Also, bruising or swelling can occur around the ribs. Meanwhile, bruised ribs are a soft tissue contusion above your rib cage. Symptoms include pain, skin discoloration, and swelling. 

Both bruised and broken ribs usually heal by themselves. You may only need to take pain and anti-inflammatory medications. Also, you may be required to perform breathing exercises to keep your lungs fully inflated while they heal. Typically, broken ribs heal in six to eight weeks.

Possible Complications

If you break at least one rib, you may need to take short shallow breaths due to pain and limit your movement. However, taking long breaths is important to prevent a collapse of your air sacs. Such a collapse can result in pneumonia. If you break more ribs, then you have a more dangerous injury. 

Displaced or bent ribs may puncture your lungs or major blood vessels. When this happens, you must undergo surgery immediately to restore the proper position of your ribs and prevent further complications. 

What to Do About Broken Ribs

If you have difficulty breathing or feel pain whenever you inhale after a car accident, you must seek immediate medical attention. You could develop complications like pneumonia that require medical intervention. If somebody else was to blame for the accident and your injury, you may be eligible for compensation through their insurance company. A car accident attorney can help you file a claim and pursue the maximum compensation you deserve. 

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