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Complications from Broken Ribs

To many people, a broken bone sounds like a “minor” injury that should heal on its own in a matter of months. However, broken ribs can be serious injuries with many complications that are potentially life-threatening. Even worse, ribs can fracture when motorists are wearing seatbelts, so someone who has been careful can still sustain a serious injury.

At our law firm, we help accident victims get the compensation they need when a broken rib keeps them out of work or costs them thousands of dollars in medical care due to the following complications. Contact us for more information.

Punctured Lung

A rib that breaks in two is like a spear. It can puncture the nearby lung, causing it to collapse. If you notice you have trouble breathing, then you might have suffered a punctured lung. Other symptoms include chest pain, particularly after taking a deep breath, and a rapid heart rate. At the hospital, a doctor can deliver oxygen and prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection from setting in.

Aorta Injury

The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It emerges from the heart and extends to a person’s abdomen, supplying oxygen and blood to the rest of the body. If one of the top three ribs in your rib cage is broken, then the jagged edge could tear or puncture the aorta. This is a very serious injury that requires immediate medical attention, otherwise, a person could die.

Other Organ Damage

The more flexible lower ribs that are not anchored to the breastbone could also cause damage to internal organs. If broken, they could cut your kidney, spleen, or liver. Pay attention to pain in the abdomen or the upper back.


The elderly, in particular, are prone to developing pneumonia after breaking a rib. The odds are very high that a senior citizen might also die if multiple ribs are broken: in fact, one study found that roughly 1 in 5 elderly died if three or more ribs were fractured. Because of the fractures, they cannot exhale as strongly as they should, which contributes to the development of potentially fatal pneumonia.

Speak with a Miami Personal Injury Attorney Today

At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, our lawyers have decades of combined experience seeking compensation for our personal injury clients. If you have broken a rib because of someone else’s negligence, please give us a call, 305-371-2692. We offer a free, confidential consultation.