Much-needed beautiful weather is on the way here in Alabama, making it a great time to hit the road. This is also a good time to remember that motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to crashes and accidents during the spring and summer months. Negligent drivers who fail to pay attention on the road can collide with a motorcyclist, causing serious or even fatal injuries. One injury you should never ignore is an injury to the ribs.
Often after a collision with a vehicle, a motorcyclist will be thrown from their bike. The resulting impact can lead to a variety of serious injuries, one of which includes broken or fractured ribs. Symptoms of broken ribs include:
- Bruising in the chest area
- Difficulty or pain when breathing
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Crunching sound or feeling in the chest
- Pain that gets worse with movement or coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in the chest area
If you or a loved one are involved in a motorcycle crash and have any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Although some may want to just “walk off” a fractured or broken rib, these types of injuries can lead to serious complications:
- Lacerated organs. A broken rib can damage organs like the spleen, liver, or kidneys. Failure to diagnose an internal injury can lead to serious or fatal consequences.
- Punctured lung. If a rib breaks or splinters, it can puncture the lung and even cause it to collapse.
- Torn or punctured aorta. When one of the top three ribs break, they pose a risk to rupturing the aorta, which causes life-threatening injury.
Any blunt injury to the chest should be treated by a physician. A medical professional can evaluate you by performing a physical exam, as well as using X-rays or MRI diagnostic tests.
Treatment for rib fractures may vary, depending on the severity of the injury. Common treatments include rest, ice, painkillers, hospitalization and, in severe cases, assisted ventilation. Although in the past doctors treated rib fractures by binding the affected area, this is no longer a standard therapy. Binding and taping can prevent a patient from breathing as deeply as necessary, which can lead to pneumonia, another life-threatening complication.
Many motorcyclists walk away from the scene of a crash feeling lucky they weren’t fatally or catastrophically injured. However, even what feels like a sore rib could end up being much more serious. Internal injuries can become life-threatening in an instant, so always ensure you or your loved one seek medical attention after an accident.
And when the accident was not your fault, the motorcycle crash attorneys at Martin & Helms will fight for your right to compensation. We can help. To schedule a consultation in our Huntsville or Decatur office call 256-539-1990 or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact form. Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis so there is no cost to you unless we win your case. We serve clients in North Alabama including Huntsville, Decatur, Athens, and Madison.