By Danielle Nichollson. Last Updated 23rd November 2022. Have you suffered from a fractured breastbone in an accident? Was the accident the result of a third party’s negligence? If so, you may be entitled to claim compensation. This guide will talk you through the process of claiming for an accident caused by a breach of duty of care.
If you have fractured your breastbone, this can have a real impact on your quality of life. Because your breastbone moves with your ribcage, it can cause you pain and discomfort while coughing, laughing or even breathing. And when you’ve suffered this injury because of someone else’s negligence, it can feel especially unfair.
In this guide, we’ll look at the process of claiming compensation when you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence. There is generally a three-year time limit to seeking compensation payouts. We can help you start one right now by:
- Calling us direct on 0161 696 9685
- Email or write to us at Advice.co.uk
- Speak to Natalie on our ‘live support’ option, bottom right
Select a Section
- A Guide To Claiming Compensation Payouts For A Fractured Breastbone
- What Is A Fractured Breastbone?
- How Can You Suffer A Fractured Breastbone At Work?
- Fractured Breastbone In A Public Place
- How Can You Suffer A Fractured Breastbone In A Road Traffic Accident?
- Chat About Personal Injury Compensation Calculations
- What Are Special Damages?
- Case Study: £12,000 For A Fractured Breastbone
- Broken Sternum – Time Limit Exceptions
- No Win No Fee Policies For Our Clients
- Your Free Legal Advice Is With Our Experts
- More Resources And Guides On A Fractured Breastbone
- Fractured Breastbone FAQs
In this guide, we’ll look at the process of claiming compensation for a breastbone fracture that was caused by someone else’s negligence. We will look at what the breastbone is and what the symptoms of a fractured breastbone might include.
Furthermore, we will look at how an accident that results in a fractured breastbone might be caused by someone else’s negligence. We will examine the duty of care that is owed to you when you’re at work, on the road and in a public place.
When you make a claim for compensation, you may be wondering, “how is my settlement calculated?”. Our section on special and general damages and what might be covered by a typical compensation claim will help answer this question.
To illustrate how a compensation claim is calculated, we will look at a case study in which someone who suffers a fractured breastbone is awarded £12,000 in compensation. This case study will look at the process of claiming from the accident occurring to the compensation being awarded.
Having provided an example of a compensation claim, we will summarise by providing information on No Win No Fee agreements and how they may be able to benefit you in obtaining legal representation. Finally, we will provide you with some useful resources and answers to some commonly asked questions about this kind of injury.
The breastbone or sternum is located in the centre of the chest. When the bone fractures, it can pose a serious risk to internal organs such as the heart or lungs. This kind of injury can be caused by high impact trauma, for example, from a fall from a height or a car accident.
Typical symptoms can include:
- Burning pain
- A crunching noise in the chest
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme tenderness and bruising
Sometimes, you may suffer from secondary repercussions following a fractured breastbone. For instance, you may suffer from a punctured lung or damage to the heart because of the broken end of the bone.
Your doctor may advise you to allow your fractured breastbone to heal without intervention. Alternatively, you may be required to undergo surgery in order to recover. You may notice that a simple fracture to the breastbone begins to heal within 6 to 8 weeks, whereas a more serious break that has required surgery may take longer to heal.
Read on to find out more about claiming for a fractured breastbone at work. Alternatively, why not get in touch with our team today to start your claim for compensation?
Accidents in the workplace are more common than you may have thought. For instance, in 2019/20, there were 2,987 accidents at work that resulted in injuries to the torso in British workplaces, according to the RIDDOR statistics on reported fatal and non-fatal injuries in Great Britain by the site of injury. Although not all of these injuries will have resulted in fractured breastbones, we can infer that some of these injuries may have been of this nature.
When we’re at work, we expect that some action has been taken to ensure our safety. Read on to find out more about what your employer is expected to do to keep you safe.
What Is An Employer’s Duty Of Care?
The Health And Safety At Work etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA) outlines the duty of care that employers in the UK have towards their workers. There are several things an employer would be expected to do to reduce the risk of an employee suffering a fractured breastbone. These include:
- Conducting regular written risk assessments and acting on the findings
- Giving adequate training and supervision.
- Maintaining good housekeeping
- Ensuring that all PPE is correct and appropriate for the role
If you can show that you were injured because your employer failed to uphold the duty of care they had towards you, you may be able to claim.
How Could My Employer Breach Their Duty Of Care?
There are a number of ways an employee could suffer from a broken breastbone due to the employer’s negligence in the workplace. For instance, poor housekeeping, such as a walkway that is filled with debris and obstructions, could cause someone to fall. If they fell with enough force onto something which impacted their chest, or if they fell from a height, they may suffer a broken breastbone as a result.
Furthermore, an employee may suffer a broken breastbone because a piece of machinery was not working properly, causing it to strike their chest and cause injury. As it’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure all machinery is functional, safe and well-maintained, this could constitute a duty of care.
It’s useful to note what we mean exactly by ‘public places’ where you’re owed a duty of care by the person in charge. Some examples are:
- Shopping precincts and retail outlets
- Parks, beaches, and common ground
- Public transport
- Restaurants, bars, and nightclubs
- Streets, roads, and highways
Those in control of the spaces listed above must comply with a common duty of care as outlined in The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 (OLA). Anyone in control of a public space is legally required to consider your safety and act to ensure it as far as is reasonably practicable.
The Duty Of Care Of Those Who Are In Control Of Public Spaces
The Act requires anyone in control of a public space to do the following:
- Provide a consistent and even standard of care to the safety and wellbeing of all visitors
- Give a clear indication of unavoidable risk
- Accept that being open to the public assumes these responsibilities
- Realize that children may need extra provision when it comes to judging their safety
The OLA doesn’t specify who the occupier of a public space is; however, it should be someone who could have reasonably been expected to know that an accident could have taken place. It should also be someone who has the ability to make changes to prevent an accident from taking place.
How Could Those In Control Of Public Spaces Breach Their Duty Of Care?
In many ways, the responsibilities owed to us in the workplace are similar to those owed to us while we are out in public. Things like regular risk assessments will help occupiers ensure that any hazards to the health and safety of members of the public who visit the space are reduced as much as possible.
For instance, a risk assessment may identify a problem with a piece of shelving that houses heavy items. If the shelf were to collapse, it could result in a heavy item falling on a member of the public and causing injury. As a result of this injury, they may be able to claim compensation.
There is also an expectation that good housekeeping will be maintained in public places, for instance, cleaning up spills or obstructions within a reasonable timeframe. Failure to do so could result in someone tripping and falling on something and fracturing their breastbone as a result.
The duty of care that road users owe to one another is outlined in the Highway Code. The Highway Code is a set of rules and guidelines that road users must follow to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone on the road.
Duty Of Care Of Motorists and Road Users
According to the Highway Code, all road users are expected to:
- Abide by the speed limit
- Follow road signs and markings
- Concentrate on the road fully at all times
- Refrain from undertaking dangerous manoeuvres
If a road user violates the Highway Code, no allowances will be made if they are inexperienced or lacking in skill. All drivers are expected to adhere to the standards of care and skill of the average motorist.
How Can A Motorist or Road User Breach Their Duty Of Care?
If you were injured by a driver who was in breach of the Highway Code when the accident occurred, then you may be able to claim. Examples of breaches of the duty of care that road users owe to one another include:
- Driving while using a mobile phone
- Failing to give way at a junction and pulling out prematurely
- Overtaking dangerously
For instance, you may suffer a fractured breastbone if you’re hit in the rear by a driver who was failing to concentrate on the road. This crash could lead to you being forced into the steering wheel, fracturing your breastbone as a result. If you can show that your injuries were caused by the third party’s negligence, then you may be owed compensation.
You may be wondering, “how much could I receive in a claim for compensation?” or “how will my compensation award be calculated?”. A typical claim for compensation could consist of two heads of claim, known as general and special damages.
General damages is the part of your compensation that is paid to you based on your injuries. It will depend on how severe your injuries are and how they have impacted your quality of life.
You will usually be invited to a medical appointment as part of your personal injury claim. Here, an independent expert will examine your injuries and speak with you about the impact that they’ve had on you. A copy of the report from this assessment will then be sent to whoever is handling your claim.
The report will be used in conjunction with the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to value your claim. The JCG are a set of guideline compensation brackets for different injuries of a number of different severities.
General damages is not the only type of payment that can be included in your claim. Read on to find out more about special damages, or get in touch with our team today for more information.
Special damages is the part of your personal injury claim that compensates you for any losses you’ve experienced as a result of your injuries. These can include:
- Any lost wages from missed work
- Loss of financial opportunities in the future
- Costs of professional carers or family members who needed to look after you
- Travel expenses to hospital, counselling or work if you cannot drive
- Physiotherapy and specialist procedures
The list of special expenses that we have included above is not exhaustive by any means. If you feel you have been made financially worse off because of injuries that were caused by someone else’s negligence, then you may be able to include this in your claim.
It’s important to note that you must provide evidence for anything that you would like to include in the special damages head of your claim. This can include things like bills, receipts and bank statements to demonstrate how you’ve been affected.
Miss Black was waiting at the lights and looking forward to the weekend away with her fiance. She had just finished work on a Friday and felt relaxed. All that changed when the driver behind her suddenly accelerated and, ignoring her stationary position at the red light, rammed into the front of her car. The force of the impact was such that even with a seat belt on, Miss. Black fractured her sternum against the steering wheel of her own car.
Emergency services and the police attended. Miss Black was in a great deal of pain and found it difficult to breathe without a sharp, piercing pain in her chest. At the hospital, it was confirmed that Miss Black had fractured her sternum. The doctor advised her that she was lucky there was no subsequent damage to her heart or lungs, but she would still need to take 4-6 weeks off work in order to recover.
Miss Black needed care for two weeks as she recovered, as her injury meant she was unable to lift her arms. She was forced to take time off her work as a warehouse worker and lost an attendance bonus that she was on course to receive. Furthermore, Miss Black needed to undergo some physiotherapy to help her regain strength and mobility in her arms.
The table below shows the breakdown of the general and special damages that were awarded to Miss Black.
|General damages||How much?||Special damages||How much?|
|The JCG recommend that a compensation award amount|
of £3,710 for chest injuries like Miss. Black's.
|Care costs for two weeks||£1,500|
|Loss of attendance bonus||£1,500|
|Physiotherapy and special painkillers||£1,500|
|Travel costs to hospital appointments||£790|
The above case study is an example and doesn’t represent an actual claim for compensation. Instead, it’s based on our experience in assessing and valuing compensation claims.
If you would like to claim fractured sternum compensation, the personal injury claims time limit is generally three years from the date you suffered your broken sternum or the date your injury was connected to negligence. However, there are circumstances that suspend the time limit to claim fractured sternum compensation.
For example, if a claimant suffered a broken sternum in a car accident but they lacked the mental capacity to start a claim themselves, the time limit would be suspended indefinitely. However, a litigation friend could claim fractured sternum compensation on their behalf. Should they regain their mental capacity, they will have three years following this date to start their broken sternum claim.
Should someone suffer a broken sternum due to negligence prior to their 18th birthday, the time limit is also suspended. A litigation friend can start a fractured sternum compensation claim on their behalf during this time. However, should a claim not be started, the claimant will then have three years from their 18th birthday to start a claim.
Call our advisors to start your fractured sternum compensation claim today.
Many of us are familiar with the term No Win No Fee in relation to personal injury claims. But what does a No Win No Fee agreement mean, and how can it benefit claimants?
There is no legal obligation to use a solicitor when making a claim. However, many people choose to. This is because the expertise and assistance offered by legal representation can make the claims process less stressful and run more smoothly than it otherwise would.
A No Win No Fee agreement is sometimes referred to as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). It’s a contract between you and your solicitor that sets out the terms they must meet in order to receive payment. When you sign a CFA, it means that:
- There are no fees to pay as the case is ongoing or before it begins
- If your case fails, there are no fees to pay at all
- In the event that your claim is successful, your solicitor’s fees will be taken in the form of a “success fee” deducted by your compensation.
The success fee that covers your solicitor’s fees is legally capped, and you’ll always get the majority of the compensation awarded to you in the case that your claim is successful. If you’d like to know more about No Win No Fee agreements, just get in touch with our team to find out more.
Getting in touch to start your journey towards compensation is simple. You can:
- Call us directly on 0161 696 9685
- Email or write to us at Advice.co.uk
- Speak to a member of our team on our ‘live support’ option to the bottom right of this page
Our personal injury claims team is on hand 24/7 with free legal advice to help you. There’s no obligation to proceed with us, and we look forward to helping however we can.
Thank you for reading our article on free legal advice about fractured breastbone. We hope that it has helped in your decision to start a compensation claim for the injury you’ve sustained. The links below offer further reading on the topics we’ve covered, and we encourage you to get in touch if you need any further information.
Our guide will provide you with more information on accident at work claims.
If you’ve been in a car accident and injured because of someone else’s negligence, our guide on car accident claims could provide guidance.
Have you fractured your rib in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence? If so, our guide on fractured rib claims could help.
For further reading on road safety, please visit Think.gov.uk.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents offers help and guidance around the prevention of accidents in the home and in public places.
After being injured, you may be wondering whether to visit A&E for your injuries. This NHS page could offer further guidance.
How do you know when you have a fractured breast bone?
If you’ve fractured your breastbone, it may make breathing difficult or painful. You may also have problems lifting or moving your arms. You should seek medical attention right away if you think you have fractured your breastbone.
How long does it take a sternum fracture to heal?
Some simple fractures to the breastbone may begin to heal within 4 weeks. However, if your breastbone is badly broken or if you’ve required surgery, this could take longer.
Can I drive with a fractured breastbone?
You may find driving with a fractured breastbone painful or uncomfortable. Always follow your doctor’s advice and wait for their go-ahead before you start driving again.
Thank you for reading our guide on claiming compensation for a fractured breastbone.
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