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Broken ribs are a painful injury for which there is often no treatment beyond rest and recovery. While most broken ribs can heal on their own within six weeks, some broken rib injuries require medical intervention and treatment. If you have suffered a rib injury as a result of someone else - such as in a car accident that was not your fault, or in a workplace accident - then you may be able to make a personal injury claim for compensation.

Your ribs are the protectors of your internal organs and upper body, including your heart and lungs. Rib injuries can be caused in any number of ways, but typically when the chest is hit directly, causing blunt-force trauma chest injuries. 

Accidents at work resulting in injury to the ribs can happen when falling from a height, or in a crush accident where a person becomes trapped between two objects. Rib injuries are also relatively common in road traffic accidents, where the chest impacts the steering wheel, or where another form of impact occurs.

If you have suffered a rib injury and have broken ribs, you will likely feel pain at the site of your injury and may even feel a crunching or a grinding sound. A rib fracture will be painful and will likely require medical treatment and have resulting medical expenses. 

If you have suffered broken ribs as a result of someone else’s negligent behaviour, speak to our personal injury solicitors about rib injury compensation claims and find out where you stand. We are a no win no fee based firm and are here to help you get back on track after an injury that was not your fault.

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Common causes of broken ribs and rib injuries

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Rib injuries can happen in any number of ways, but there are some causes that are more common than others! In most cases, blunt force is the most common cause of injuries to the ribs - but this can happen in any number of ways. This is a list of the types of rib injuries that can happen in daily life:

  • Car accidents - When travelling in a vehicle you are susceptible to injuries which can happen if you are in a collision and are thrown against a part of the car, such as the steering wheel. Pedestrians hit by cars and thrown across the front of a car can also get rib and chest injuries.
  • Cycling accidents - Cyclists are susceptible to a range of injuries because they are largely unprotected if involved in an accident. Rib injuries are common where cyclists impact with the road or fall onto their bike.
  • Workplace accidents - Depending on the type of workplace that you are in, rib injuries can be caused by machinery, vehicle use, or falling from a height.
  • Sports-related injuries - Tackles and impacts to the ribs can happen within a range of sports, but common sports include football, soccer, wrestling, and boxing.
  • Falling from a height - If falling from a sufficient height it is possible to suffer broken ribs - especially if you impact an object.
  • Crush accidents - Crush accidents can happen in the workplace, in car accidents, or in sporting accidents. Rib injuries and broken ribs can occur as a result of the blunt force trauma associated with this type of injury.

Rib injuries can also happen in a public place due to things like slips, trips and falls. If your rib injury or broken ribs have been caused by someone else’s negligence, speak to our compensation lawyers on a no obligation basis about how we can help you.

Professions at risk of broken ribs

Work injury compensation

Some professions are naturally at a greater risk of injury than other professions, simply due to the type of work that is undertaken and the nature of the conditions that people work in. As you can imagine, professions where there are tools being used, or where there is a risk of falling from a height, can result in rib injuries. Some of the professions most at risk of suffering broken ribs include:

  • Tradespeople - It is probably no surprise that tradespeople (or ‘tradies’) are at risk of suffering a broken rib in their line of work - specifically tradespeople who work in professions like concreting, sanding (where falls from height are possible), roofers, plumbers (where crush injuries are possible) and
  • Mine workers - Working in a mine is an environment where there is a great deal of machinery and a lot of moving parts. If safe workplace practices fail or break down, it is possible to become trapped in an environment where a rib injury may happen causing broken or bruised ribs.
  • Mechanics - Vehicle and heavy vehicle mechanics can suffer injury to their ribs if hit with falling objects or crushed by items.
  • Sportspeople - Sportspeople are at risk of rib injury from tackles and other high-pressure contact.

The fact remains that it is possible to suffer a broken rib in any type of profession - so if you have suffered a rib injury or broken ribs at work, speak to us about how we can help you with a claim from a broken rib or ribs. Our team of lawyers are experienced and can assist you with your claim at every step of the way.

Compensation for bruised ribs

While broken ribs is a serious injury, another type of rib injury happens with a blow to the chest or a fall resulting in bruised ribs. ribs is an injury that is painful and can take some time to heal. It can also result in time off work as you recover, or time off daily duties. As a result, it may be the case that you will look to seek compensation for bruised ribs if your injury has been caused as a result of someone else’s negligence. When looking to find out compensation amounts for bruised ribs, the total amount that you can claim will depend on the type of loss you have suffered.


Linda is employed as a retail assistant. Her employer asks her to retrieve some boxes in a storeroom and the only way to reach them from the high shelves is with a ladder which is known to be broken. Linda’s employer just asks her to be careful not to fall, but does not offer an alternative way to retrieve the boxes. When climbing the ladder as the only available option to complete her task, Linda falls a distance of a metre and a half and lands on a cardboard box. 

She seriously injures her chest and suffers bruising - but does not break any bones. Linda would be able to make a claim for WorkCover compensation for any time off work and medical expenses, and may also be able to make a ‘common law’ claim against her employer for their negligence.

Note: If there was no fault or negligence you would still be entitled to a WorkCover claim if the incident was work related (at work or on the way to or from work) but there may not be the option for a lump sum compensation case. Speak to our team to see what options are open to you.

Compensation amount for broken ribs

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When making a broken rib claim, the amount that will be payable will be dependent on the injury suffered and the financial loss (such as for medical bills) which may be associated with your injuries. Compensation amounts may include compensation for:

  • Loss of income (including superannuation)
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent impairment or disability
  • Ongoing care provided in the home (gratuitously provided - for example, by a family member or friend)
  • Reasonable adjustments to the home (this would be for injuries which have resulted in permanent impairment, for example)

In a decision relating to a motor vehicle accident in 2014,[1] the plaintiff (claimant) was a passenger in a utility vehicle that rolled over. He suffered broken ribs in the accident (along with a broken nose) and was awarded $32,971 in his claim. This amount included compensation for pain and suffering, loss of amenities, past economic loss, and future operation expenses.

If you are making a claim for compensation, speak to our no win no fee lawyers about how we can help you. Our team of accident claims lawyers can provide the support you need at the time when you need it the most to get started with your claim and get on with your life.

Time limits for rib injury claims

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When claiming for rib injury compensation, in most cases you only have three (3) years in which to commence your claim for common law damages. 

This is a statutory period of time and is strictly enforced. What this means is that if you are looking to make a claim - insurance companies or the relevant parties will need to be provided with notice of your intention to claim within that applicable time period. In some cases, the three year time period does not apply - say for example, if you are injured under the age of 18, or if you have been injured at work - and need to notify your employer within six months of your intent to claim.

You can read more about the relevant time limits for rib injury claims here, and speak to us on the phone or in person if you would like to know more about where you stand with your rib injury claim for compensation.

 [1] Ballandis v Swebbs [2014] QDC 129

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