| Read Time: 6 minutes | Car Accident

Experiencing delayed rib pain after a car accident? Contact an experience attorney at Hutzler Law

After experiencing a car accident, most victims often focus on immediate injuries; but what about those you can’t feel or even see, like delayed rib pain? Such pain can surface days after the crash, which poses potential health risks and legal considerations. What is delayed rib pain after car accident, and how can it impact victims after a car accident in Arizona? What are the causes and symptoms of delayed rib pain, why should you seek medical attention and hire a Phoenix car accident lawyer? All these questions are thoroughly addressed in this article.

What Is Delayed Rib Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Presentations

Delayed rib pain following a car accident refers to discomfort or soreness experienced in the rib area after a certain period, typically hours or weeks following a collision. The pain arises due to trauma or injury sustained during the accident, such as impact from the seatbelt or steering wheel. It can manifest as muscle strain, bruising, or even rib fractures.

Symptoms of delayed rib pain may include:

  • Sharp or dull pain in the chest, especially when taking a deep breath, coughing, or laughing.
  • Tenderness and swelling around the affected rib(s), which is sensitive to the touch. The area may feel warm and inflamed, with the skin appearing slightly reddened or discolored. Swelling can create a sensation of tightness or fullness in the region, sometimes accompanied by a visible bulge or puffiness around the injured area.
  • Bruising in the chest area may develop or become more noticeable over time as the body responds to the injury. It’s also possible for internal bruising to occur without visible signs externally.

In very severe cases, car accident victims will experience difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. It can be due to various reasons, including rib fractures causing pain with each breath, lung contusions or bruising from the impact, or anxiety and stress associated with the traumatic event.

Injuries to the chest wall muscles or damage to the respiratory system can also contribute to breathing difficulties. If any of these symptoms are persistent or worsen after a vehicle accident, seek immediate medical attention. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications.

Can Delayed Rib Pain Following a Car Crash Be a Sign of Something Life-Threatening?

Yes. Delayed rib pain after car accident can indicate serious injuries, such as rib fractures, bruised ribs, or soft tissue injuries. These conditions can lead to complications like mal-union, delayed union, or non-union that pose risks of breathing problems, organ damage, and infection, as explained in detail below:

  • Mal-Union occurs when fractured ribs heal in a misaligned or improper position, leading to persistent pain, difficulty breathing, and decreased chest wall movement. It can impair lung function, increase the risk of pneumonia, and cause chronic pain if left untreated, potentially requiring corrective surgery to realign the ribs.
  • Delayed Union refers to a prolonged healing process where fractured ribs take significantly longer than usual to mend, resulting in persistent pain, limited mobility, and ongoing inflammation at the fracture site. Its seriousness culminates in prolonged recovery, increases the risk of complications such as pneumonia due to restricted lung expansion, and may necessitate more aggressive treatment interventions, like bracing or surgical fixation, to promote proper healing.
  • Non-Union happens when fractured ribs fail to heal despite appropriate treatment, resulting in persistent pain, instability, and potential deformity at the fracture site. Non-union can lead to chronic disability, impaired respiratory function, and increased susceptibility to further injury. This condition often requires more invasive interventions, such as rib plating or bone grafting to promote healing and restore structural integrity.

Prompt medical attention is essential especially if there’s chest tightness, persistent cough, or fever. You should also find a good car accident lawyer to discuss your case.

Treatment Options for Delayed Rib Pain

Symptoms like persistent pain, difficulty breathing, tenderness, or swelling after a car accident should not be ignored. They require immediate evaluation by a healthcare professional. Treatment for delayed rib pain varies depending on the severity of the injury and may include pain management, physical therapy, or surgical intervention:

  • Pain Management involves the use of medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or opioids to alleviate discomfort and promote comfort during the healing process. Non-pharmacological methods like applying ice packs or using heat therapy can also help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy focuses on improving rib mobility, strengthening surrounding muscles, and promoting proper breathing techniques through exercises tailored to the individual’s needs. This can enhance recovery, reduce pain, and restore functionality in the affected area.
  • Surgical Intervention may be necessary for cases such as fractures or complications like mal-union. Procedures like rib fixation or reconstruction aim to stabilize the ribs, promote proper healing, and alleviate pain, particularly when conservative treatments have been ineffective or insufficient.

Consulting with a healthcare provider is highly advisable to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your condition. Hospital records also provide official documentation of the extent of injuries sustained, which can be vital evidence in legal claims for compensation or insurance purposes.

Legal Considerations for Delayed Rib Pain After Car Accident

Serious delayed rib pain following a car crash has both physical and legal ramifications. When filing an insurance claim, you need to demonstrate a clear connection between the delayed pain and the accident. Medical documentation plays a pivotal role in establishing this link.

Not seeking medical attention right after the accident can make it hard to prove the cause and severity of your injuries. Insurance companies will challenge your case by disputing the causation of the delayed rib pain, claiming that it stems from pre-existing conditions or unrelated incidents. They are known to employ tactics such as delaying or denying claim settlements.

Some demand extensive documentation or independent medical examinations or even provide lowball settlement offers to minimize payouts. Insurers may further scrutinize your medical history and accident details for inconsistencies or discrepancies to discredit your claim. The goal is to mitigate their financial liability by casting doubt on the severity or legitimacy of your injuries, making it difficult for you to pursue rightful compensation.

Proper documentation is necessary to prove the car accident caused your injuries and determine the extent of the damage for compensation purposes. A Phoenix car accident lawyer can assist you in filing insurance claims and ensure all injuries are properly documented for possible compensation.

When to Hire a Phoenix Car Accident Attorney for Delayed Rib Pain?

If you’ve experienced delayed rib pain following a car accident, consider hiring a Phoenix car accident attorney if:

  • You have suffered significant medical expenses due to the accident
  • The insurance company denies your claim or offers an inadequate settlement
  • You require assistance with the insurance claim process
  • You’re unsure of your legal rights and options

Unfortunately, most accident victims don’t hire a personal injury lawyer for delayed rib pain due to concerns about the complexity of the legal process. Some may underestimate the severity of their injuries or believe they can handle the insurance claim process on their own. In addition, there’s a lack of awareness about Contingency Fee Agreements, meaning you don’t pay anything out of pocket. Instead, your lawyer only receives payment when they successfully settle your case.

They’re paid through a percentage of your settlement, incentivizing them to vigorously pursue maximum compensation on your behalf, ensuring you receive the full amount you’re entitled to without financial burden. If you’re hesitant about hiring a car accident attorney, schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney at Hutzler Law to discuss your case specifics.

Potential Compensations for Delayed Rib Pain Following a Car Accident

The settlement amount you may receive for delayed rib pain will vary greatly depending on factors such as the severity of the injury, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help you evaluate the full extent of your injuries and pursue fair compensation for your damages. After a case assessment for compensation validity, you may be entitled to economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic damages compensate for all past, present, and future financial losses you incur due to the accident. Non-economic damages compensate for the intangible losses you experience due to the pain and suffering caused by the injury. These damages are more subjective and require establishing a clear connection between the accident and the non-economic losses.

Delayed Rib Pain After Car Accident FAQs

What do I do if I have rib pain that started 2 years after a car accident?

If you are experiencing delayed rib pain you should seek medical care immediately. After seeing a doctor, reach out to a car accident lawyer to help you build your case to ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your damages and losses after an accident.

Why is my rib pain after a car accident getting worse?

If your rib pain persists, it may indicate a more serious injury or complication from the car accident. Delayed rib pain often results from inflammation that takes time to fully develop. Other factors can also cause delayed rib pain, so it is advisable to see a doctor to evaluate your symptoms.

Why did I get rib pain months later after the car accident?

Experiencing rib pain months after the car accident can be concerning, this could occur because of delayed onset of symptoms or secondary injuries. It can also be due to a minor injury that has worsen throughout this time, or the trauma from a chronic condition exacerbated existing conditions. A doctor assessment will be needed to diagnose your symptoms.

How a Hutzler Law Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and are experiencing delayed rib pain, the Hutzler Law firm team has your back. Our skilled personal injury lawyers will protect your rights and work tirelessly to obtain the compensation you deserve. We can help you maximize damages for your delayed rib pain by:

  • Investigating your accident and gathering evidence to support your claim
  • Handling all communication with the insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf
  • Representing you in court should arbitrations with the at-fault insurer fall through

Call our office today at (480) 841-9761 or fill out our Online Contact Form today to schedule a free case review and advice on the best course of action going forward.

Author Photo

Jason Hutzler

Jason Hutzler is the founding partner of Phoenix personal injury law firm Hutzler Law, and represents individuals throughout Arizona. His practice is primarily dedicated to personal injury and car accident claims, leveraging his deep expertise as a former insurance adjustor to navigate the complexities of insurance negotiations.

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