If CPR Causes Broken Ribs, Can You Sue?
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If CPR Causes Broken Ribs, Can You Sue?

If an accident causes you to stop breathing, a Good Samaritan may rush to your rescue and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to restart your breathing and pump blood throughout your body. It’s possible that CPR could cause you to suffer broken ribs, although it can also save your life. Although it may be technically possible to file a lawsuit against the person who saved your life, the chances of it succeeding in a courtroom are slim.  

However, there are other ways of recovering financial compensation after an accident, such as a car accident. For example, you might file a lawsuit against the individual who caused the car accident. It’s best to consult with a personal injury attorney who has experience sorting through complex cases. Your lawyer can review the facts and advise you as to the best course of action.  

A closer look at CPR and broken bones 

CPR is an emergency measure used to maintain blood circulation even after the heartbeat and respiration stop. It involves doing hard compressions on the person’s chest using the heels of the hands. Rescuers are advised to aim for about 100 compressions per minute, each depressing the chest by about two inches. The pressure on the chest means that there is a high likelihood of causing broken ribs. 

In fact, one study performed at a Korean hospital revealed that roughly one-third of patients suffered at least one broken rib after having received CPR that saved their life. About four percent of the patients had a broken breastbone. The study suggested that women were at a higher risk of broken bones from CPR than men. In addition, patients whose CPR was performed by a non-medical professional were at a higher risk. 

The possibility of suing after CPR causes broken bones 

Broken ribs and/or a broken breastbone can be exceedingly painful. It can be difficult to take deep breaths due to the pain experienced when inhaling, and this can make for a rough recovery. When you’re in a lot of pain, you might start thinking about suing the person who caused your broken ribs. 

Technically, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against your rescuer. However, it’s likely that they are protected by Good Samaritan laws. In California, for example, a Good Samaritan law protects people who render emergency care at the scene of an accident, provided that those individuals acted in good faith and were not compensated for their care. This means that if the person who performed CPR was a medical professional who was compensated for the action, then it’s possible to file a lawsuit against them without the Good Samaritan law inhibiting it. 

Finding a different defendant 

Even if you can get around the Good Samaritan law, it’s likely that a jury would be sympathetic to the rescuer who saved your life. You would have a better chance of securing compensation if you decided to file a claim against the individual who caused your car accident. A lawyer can review the evidence and determine the most effective legal strategies for holding the negligent party responsible for your injuries. 

Note that your broken ribs may become a factor in the car accident lawsuit, even if this injury was acquired after the accident itself. Since you wouldn’t have had broken ribs if the car accident hadn’t caused your breathing or heart to stop, this injury is directly connected to the accident. You may elect to request pain and suffering damages on account of your broken ribs. 

Contact Ellis Injury Law to recover the compensation you deserve 

The attorneys at Ellis Injury Law have recovered more than $350 million in settlements for our personal injury clients. With a successful track record of more than 25 years of favorable results, our personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles is well-positioned to guide clients through complicated lawsuits. We’re proud to serve injured individuals throughout Southern California who have suffered as a result of someone else’s negligent or reckless actions. To find out whether you may have a case, call us today to request a free consultation. 

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