You were heading out of town when a vehicle coming toward you suddenly veered into your lane. You had no time to respond and ended up colliding with them head-on. This car crash was totally unexpected and put a complete halt to all your plans.

After the crash, you realized that you were having a hard time breathing. You spoke with others at the scene and complained of chest pain. After being taken by ambulance to the hospital, you found out that you had broken ribs.

Just how serious is your injury?

Broken ribs can be anything from a minor inconvenience to a serious, life-threatening injury. The severity of your injury depends on how badly your ribs are broken and if they have impacted your lungs or other organs.

With a minor fracture, the ribs still stay in place. The pain may make it hard to breathe in fully, but most people heal and recover without long-term consequences. On the other hand, a seriously broken rib could break apart and pierce your lungs or other organs, causing immediate danger and a life-threatening emergency.

When you get to the hospital, the medical team may perform X-rays, a computerized tomography (CT) scan or other imaging tests to identify the damage. In some cases, minor punctures of the lung, for example, may appear on one of these tests and indicate that you need more invasive treatment right away.

If you are involved in a crash and have injuries as a result, remember that the at-fault driver should be held liable. You may be able to seek compensation from them to cover your pain and suffering along with other financial losses.