Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Tampa Auto Accident Lawyers > Blog > Car accident > Fractured Sternums are a Common Car Accident Injury

Fractured Sternums are a Common Car Accident Injury


Car accidents can and do result in a wide range of injuries. One lesser known injury that is sustained by a surprising number of victims is a fractured sternum. In fact, sternal fractures occur in an estimated seven percent of car accidents, which makes sense when you consider the fact that blunt chest trauma is the most common cause. Because this kind of injury occurs amongst car accident victims so often, it’s a good idea for motorists to familiarize themselves with the symptom of such an injury, as well as their potential recovery options.

Sternal Fractures 

The sternum, or breastbone, is a bone that attaches to the collarbone and the first seven ribs in the ribcage, forming the center of the chest wall and protecting vital organs, like the heart and lungs. A sternal fracture occurs when there is a break in this bone. In car accident scenarios, they typically occur when the chest strikes the steering wheel, although some are also attributed to seatbelt use. These injuries can also be accompanied by rib fractures, dislocations, and contusions to the heart and lungs.

Sternal Fracture Symptoms 

Fractures to the sternum can result in significant chest pain that is usually aggravated by taking deep breaths or coughing, as well as:

  • Shortness of breath;
  • Tenderness in the chest area;
  • Soft tissue swelling or deformity at the site of the injury;
  • Discoloration or bruising on the chest; and
  • Limited mobility or pain when twisting or turning.

These symptoms may not abate without treatment, making it especially important for injured parties to seek medical attention as soon as possible. They could also be indicative of a more severe underlying problem, like a contusion to the heart.

Diagnosis and Treatment 

Sternal fractures are diagnosed using a lateral chest x-ray or CT scan of the chest area. Patients may also need to undergo cardiac and pulse monitoring, while electrocardiograms can be used to look for signs of myocardial contusions Once diagnosed with a sternal fracture, a car accident victim can begin treatment. This often involves the use of pain medications, close monitoring, and deep breathing exercises to avoid pulmonary complications during recovery. With displaced or unstable fractures, patients may also need to undergo surgery, as well as treatment for secondary injuries, like pulmonary contusions and rib fractures. Sternal fractures can take up to three months to heal and may also end up causing long-term problems.

Recovering Damages for a Sternal Fracture 

Treating a sternal fracture is often expensive, a burden made doubly heavy by the fact that victims are sometimes unable to work while they recover. Fortunately, injured parties who can prove that their injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, could be entitled to compensation for these costs, as well as for their pain and suffering. To learn more about the potential value of your own accident case, reach out to our legal team today.

Set Up a Free Consultation Today 

If you suffered a fractured sternum, or other injury in a car accident, please contact the experienced Tampa auto accident lawyers at Anderson & Anderson to learn more about your recovery options.




Facebook Twitter LinkedIn