Navigating the Legal Pathway: Compensation for Chest Injuries
By Space Coast Daily // October 25, 2023
Chest injuries have a high mortality rate. And, even if you survive, the severity of the damage caused could hinder the quality of your life, not to mention the high medical expenses you have to pay.
The mental suffering due to the accident is even more troubling, especially if the liable party refuses to own up to their mistake. In this case, you can file a chest injury claim and get compensated.
This article will provide a comprehensive legal pathway to compensation for chest injuries, including the types of chest injuries you can get compensated for, how to gather proof of liability, and other helpful information to increase your chances of winning the lawsuit.
How Much Compensation Can You Get From a Chest Injury Claim?
The amount of money you stand to get as compensation for a chest injury claim depends on a few factors, including the severity and circumstances that led to the injury. When considering your case, the court will first look at the general damages incurred. This can include everything from the pain and suffering you endured to any mental suffering caused by the accident.
The court also considers any financial losses incurred due to the accident. These are typically referred to as special damages and account for several damages, including:
■ Medical bills
■ Lost earnings during recovery
■ Transport costs to medical and physiotherapy appointments
■ Replacement or repair of any personal property damaged during the accident
■ Ongoing cost of treatment
Due to the uniqueness of each case, there are no set damages for chest injury claims. Instead, the court considers the case’s specific circumstances and gives a ruling based on maximum and minimum compensation guidelines in the court’s jurisdiction.
What Type of Chest Injuries Can You Get Compensation For?
The nature of your chest injuries doesn’t just determine how much compensation you get. They also determine whether you get compensated in the first place. Therefore, it helps to understand what types of chest injuries you can get compensated for before filing a claim. They include:
The sternum, or as it is commonly referred to, the breastbone, is the flat-like bone in the middle of your chest. Its location on the body leaves it susceptible to damage when hit with monumental force, such as in hit-and-run accidents, sporting accidents, and physical assaults. Sometimes, your doctor may recommend leaving a fractured sternum to heal on its own, but surgery may be required if the bones are not aligned.
Penetrating Chest Injuries
Traumatic chest injuries have a mortality rate of about 26%. These numbers are even higher for penetrating chest injuries since they may cause internal injuries. Most personal injury cases involving penetrating chest injuries involve stabbing incidents.
Broken ribs are the most common type of chest injury, accounting for 10% of all traumatic injuries and present in 40% of patients with severe trauma. These injuries can lead to bruising, internal bleeding, and organ damage.
Legal Pathway to Compensation for Chest Injuries
Like car accident personal injury cases, it helps to follow the correct procedure and gather necessary evidence before presenting your case. That’s why it’s always advisable to contact your lawyer immediately after an accident so that they can advise you on the next steps to take to ensure you get compensation.
After a chest injury, you should;
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Some chest injuries are more severe than they seem. Unlike injuries to the limb, which generally break or get swollen, chest injuries can be internal, thus necessitating the need to seek immediate medical attention.
While you’re at it, you should also document all medical records; they will come in handy later as part of your evidence.
Consult an Attorney
After seeking medical attention and getting approval from your doctor to move around, you should contact your attorney. Your lawyer will first review your medical records and hear your side of the story to assess the case comprehensively. Some of the crucial issues discussed during the initial consultation will include:
■ How the accident occurred
■ Who caused it?
■ The parties involved
■ Nature of injuries sustained from the accident
■ Nature of treatment received for the injuries and any medical bills incurred
Investigate the Accident
Most chest injury accident scenes don’t have police involved – especially when they happen at a workplace. Therefore, your lawyer may not have much to go with in terms of police reports. That’s why it’s always important to report the incident at a police station as soon as possible.
Besides reviewing police reports (if available), your lawyer may collect statements from witnesses, check CCTV footage of the accident area, and consult an expert witness.
Issue a Claim for Compensation
After evaluating your case along with the evidence presented and seeing you have a high possibility of winning, your lawyer will work with you to file a demand for compensation from the liable party. The compensation demand clearly states everything about your injuries and what you expect from the responsible party.
But before taking your matter to court, you must allow the liable party to make a settlement offer. In most cases, the offer is often low, considering the extent of damages. That’s why most people reject the initial offer, hoping to get a higher settlement in court.
However, if you choose to accept the initial offer, you eliminate any chances of getting higher compensation. Conversely, you can refuse the initial offer and lose the case. Therefore, it is crucial to take your lawyer’s advice.
Take Your Claim to Court
A typical chest injury case includes:
■ The discovery phase: This is where the liable party gets their chance to argue their case and disprove your claim.
■ Mediation: At this stage, both parties have a sit-down and try to negotiate a suitable settlement
■ The trial: Depending on the nature of your trial, it can be heard by a judge or in front of a jury, which issues a final verdict based on its resolution.
Addressing a Chest Injury Claim
Chest injuries are very prevalent in motor accidents and workplace accidents involving trauma. Collecting relevant evidence and consulting a lawyer can considerably increase your chances of getting compensation for your injuries. That said, the compensation you get depends on the nature of your case, the severity of your injuries, and the maximum and minimum compensation limits in your state.