While many people see rib injuries as relatively minor they can be extremely painful and have an impact on surrounding organs. When you bear in mind that the rib cage is the main protection for the heart and lungs it is not difficult to see how there could be potentially serious complications. If you believe you have suffered a rib injury as a consequence of negligence by a third party then you might have a rib injury compensation claim.
Common Rib Injuries
It is not difficult to think of a dozen scenarios in which rib injuries may occur but we can probably group these into five different headings:-
- Accidents in the workplace
- Clinical negligence
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Criminal assault
Obviously, the key to claiming compensation for a rib injury which was caused by the negligence of a third party is to provide evidence. We know that the vast majority of rib injury compensation claims are settled out of court but you may still need to have a timeline for the injury and clear/concise evidence. Before we look at ways in which you can prove negligence and the type of evidence required, we will take a look at the consequences of a rib injury and how it can affect your everyday life.
Starting A Rib Injury Compensation Claim
First and foremost it is up to the victim to prove negligence in order to pursue a rib injury compensation claim. The evidence you have may determine how strong your claim is so consulting a personal injury for a free consultation is a good place to start. A personal injury solicitor will give you an honest assessment of the evidence you already have and whether they can obtain any further evidence for you. Evidence might include:
- Medical reports
- Witness statements
- CCTV recordings
- Photographs of the scene
- Timeline of events
The solicitor can then review the circumstances of your injury and advise you of the chances of a successful rib injury claim. In the event that they believe you have a strong rib injury claim, they may offer a No Win No Fee agreement during which they will agree to take a percentage of your compensation as their fee. In the event that your case is unsuccessful then you would have no fees to pay.
Upon an agreement with your personal injury solicitor, it is then time to lodge a claim against the defendant by depositing details of your claim and evidence with the courts. The defendant will have access to your evidence at which point they may decide to challenge your claim in court or pursue an out-of-court settlement. The majority of rib injury compensation claims are settled out of court but there is a chance that your claim could be decided by the courts.
Rib Injury Compensation Amounts
A successful rib injury compensation claim would generally result in two different types of compensation which are referred to as general damages and special damages. When we look at general damages these include compensation for:-
- Life-changing injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Mental trauma
Currently, a rib injury that lasts for a period of weeks only can see compensation of up to £3,370 in regard to general damages.
If we then take a look at special damages these are more related to recompense for the loss of earnings as well as current/future additional expenditure which includes:-
- Loss of earnings
- Future loss of earnings
- Medical expenditure
- Adaptions to the home
- Additional transport expenses
A relatively straightforward broken rib would likely result in a period of time off work although some of the more complicated secondary injuries could impact the victim’s ability to work again. There is no hard and fast rule with each case considered on its own merits and relevant compensation awarded.
What Could You Claim Rib Injury Compensation For?
Like so many physical injuries, rib injuries can happen anywhere and at any time. However, it is worth noting that when using third-party facilities or even walking down the street, if there has been negligence resulting in your injury then you may have a claim for compensation. Some of the more common scenarios for rib injuries compensation claims include:-
- Accidents in the workplace
- Falls on pavements
- Clinical negligence
- Criminal assault
Accidents In The Workplace
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 lays down in basic terms the legal obligations of all employers. This covers everything from a tidy workplace to ongoing training, the provision of protective equipment to the allocation of personnel to roles in which they have the relevant experience. If you have suffered a rib injury due to negligence in the workplace, whether by your employer, a fellow employee, or a visitor for example, then you could have a case to claim compensation for an accident at work.
Falls On Pavements
Falls on pavements are a common cause of rib injuries. If the local authority/council has not taken the appropriate measures to repair damaged or unsafe pavements in good time, resulting in injury to individuals, they may well be liable. In reality, councils cannot realistically ensure all paths are hazard-free 24/7. However, they do have an obligation to do their best. In the event that for example they were warned of issues in certain areas under their control, and failed to carry out any safety work, this could be seen as liable and lead to a pavement compensation claim.
Unfortunately, we have seen occasions where surgery for a totally unconnected medical condition has resulted in a rib injury. While “these things do happen” from time to time during a complicated surgery, there is a difference between an accident and negligence. Indeed we have seen scenarios where those going under the surgeon’s knife may have unknowingly suffered from various forms of brittle bone disease which in the end increased the danger of rib injuries. Whether the surgeon should have been aware of such challenging conditions is debatable and each injury would be considered in isolation. Where it is simply a case of negligence and “mistakes” these tend to be relatively open and shut medical negligence claims.
Rib injuries received as a consequence of a criminal assault can lead to legal action and a compensation claim against an individual. In some cases, it may be difficult or impossible to prove which individual party caused your injury or indeed the party may never be identified. When it comes to legal action against a known individual this would be a traditional personal injury claim pursued through the courts. However, where the criminal party could not be identified or they managed to evade arrest you would still be able to claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. This fund was specifically set up to assist victims of violent crime.
Whether playing football, tennis, or any other sport or even exercising down at the gym, it can be easy to incur a rib injury. In the vast majority of cases, this may simply be a situation where you push yourself too hard or there is an accidental collision. However, whether playing any type of sport or exercising at the gym, various parties do have legal obligations for the health and safety of third parties.
For example, if your rib injury occurred as a consequence of faulty gym equipment then there is every chance you would be able to pursue claim compensation for a gym injury. If the equipment is not fit for purpose then it should not be available to patrons.
While a more contentious area of law, when playing sports, the opposition and indeed your own teammates have a duty of care to each other. If your injury occurred as a consequence of a rash challenge or illegal activity then again there is nothing stopping you from claiming compensation for a sports injury.
Please contact us for a free consultation if you would like to discuss your rib injury compensation claim with a personal injury solicitor.