Compensation for Broken Ribs

Broken ribs compensation

A broken rib is a common injury that can occur from trauma to the chest, such as by a fall, motor vehicle accident or impact during sports. A broken rib occurs when a bone in the rib cage cracks or breaks. Symptoms of a broken rib include difficulty or pain when breathing. Complications include the potential for a punctured lung or lacerated spleen.

Can I claim compensation for broken ribs?

Generally, if you have broken your ribs because of the careless action or negligence of another person, you may be able to sustain a claim for compensation. It is typically the insurance company of the person at fault who will pay a compensation claim to you, rather than the person at fault themselves.  

Negligence by another person can occur in many situations. For example, if your employer fails to implement policy and procedure to prevent injury, they may be liable to pay compensation for an injury caused at work. Injuries can also occur in public places, which may give rise to grounds for a public liability claim. It is important that you prove this negligence to succeed in a claim as no compensation will be payable if you cannot prove that someone else is responsible.

Check your rights in Queensland to claim compensation for broken ribs caused by a work, road or public place accident.

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I broke my ribs at work- can I claim compensation?

If you have sustained a rib injury at work, whether it is because of unsafe work conditions or otherwise, you may be able to claim workers compensation. Common causes of broken ribs at work include:

Employers must provide proper and adequate means for employees to carry out their work. This includes:

  • Maintaining a safe workplace; and
  • Providing employees with adequate training, supervision and instruction.

If you have sustained a broken or cracked rib while at work because your employer has neglected to provide a safe workplace, you may be able to claim compensation for personal injury. It is important that you seek expert legal advice to understand your rights, both for compensation and for time away from work to recover.

Example: Simon is a warehouse worker. At the warehouse where he works, they are required to pack and unpack fruit to be transported to large supermarkets. Despite company policy directly prohibiting this, instead of leaving the forklift at a designated parking station, Simon leaves it temporarily unmanned in the middle of the unpacking section of the warehouse. In a rush and overtired from a late shift the night earlier, Simon forgets about the forklift and fails to notice it while carrying a large container. Simon trips over it while carrying a large load.
He falls suddenly, hitting his chest on the front of the forklift as he tumbles. Simon cannot likely claim compensation from his employer as his employer provided a safe workplace with procedures in place to help prevent injury which he neglected to follow.
If Simon’s employer had not implemented policy in relation to using the ladder, they may be liable to pay compensation for failing to provide him and his colleagues with adequate instruction.

I broke my rib in a road accident - can I claim compensation?

If you suffer a broken or cracked rib in a motor vehicle and you are not at fault, you may be able to make a claim under compulsory third party (CTP) insurance scheme for compensation. As there are time limits within which injured persons may make a claim, you should see an expereinced lawyer who can guide you through the various claim restrictions and help maximise the claim payable to you.

Example: Rebecca is driving to work one morning when an unruly provisional plate driver runs a red light and smashes right into the back of her motor vehicle. Rebecca is not visibly injured, but feels a sharp pain in her chest when breathing after slamming into the airbag which inflated upon impact. She has broken two ribs. Rebecca can likely sustain a claim for compensation under the negligent driver’s CTP insurance as she has been injured due to his negligent behaviour.

I broke my ribs in a public place- can I claim compensation?

If you have broken your ribs in a public place due to the negligence of another person or organisation, you may have a claim for public liability compensation. To succeed in such a claim you will need to abide by statutory time limits and ensure you can identify the at fault person or organisation. Injuries which occur at work, during medical procedures or in a car accident, among other things, are not covered by public liability.

Gathering evidence to support a public liability claim is often difficult and the above is only a basic overview of the legal requirements to claim public liability compensation. We strongly suggest you consult with an experienced lawyer to ensure your legal rights are protected.

Example: Michael is playing rugby at a local sports oval. When running to catch a pass, he trips over a jagged pipe edge that is sticking up from the soil unexpectedly, fracturing two ribs. As the oval is a public place and Michael has sustained an injury, he may be able to sustain a claim for public liability compensation. If the oval had cordoned off the jagged pipe or placed a warning sign nearby indicating that the pipe was there and could potentially cause injury, Michael may not be able to sustain a claim for public liability compensation.

Professions at risk of broken ribs

Professions with higher incidence of broken ribs are those which require immense physical activity including:

  • Construction workers;
  • Tradesmen and women;
  • Truck drivers;
  • Warehouse workers; and
  • Sportsmen and women.

Common causes of broken ribs

Broken or cracked ribs can occur in a variety of situations. Car accidents and falls at work or at home are primary causes.

How much compensation for a broken ribs?

The compensation payable to you will depend on the nature of your injury and the extent to which it has impacted your daily life. There are many factors a court will consider when reviewing your claim for compensation, including:

  • Any loss and enjoyment of life you have experienced due to the injury;
  • Any lost past and future earnings;
  • Out of pocket expenses paid for home and nursing care; and
  • The expense of your hospital rehabilitation process.

Depending on the nature of the injury to your ribs, compensation may or may not be available. If you think you may have a claim for compensation or if you need help to understand your rights, you should seek expert legal advice.

What time limits apply to my claim?

  • If you are injured at work: Statutory workers compensation claims in Queensland must be filed within 6 months from the date of the accident or the date you become aware of your injury. If you intend to sue your employer for negligence, you must request an assessment of permanent impairment from the workers’ compensation insurer within 2.5 years of the injury.
  • If you are injured in an motor vehicle accident: Pre-court procedures require you to serve an official Notice of Claim on the party you believe to be at fault within 9 months of the injury, or within 1 month of your consultation with a solicitor in relation to your claim, whichever occurs first.
  • If your injuries are the subject of a public liability claim: If you are making a claim against an occupier, property owner or public authority, you must serve an official Notice of Claim on the party you believe to be at fault within 9 months of the injury, or within 1 month of your consultation with a solicitor in relation to your claim, whichever is first.

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Last update on:
July 10, 2020
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.