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Fox Farley Willis & Burnette Attorneys At Law
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Sternum fracture in Tennessee motorcycle accidents

Tennessee motorcyclists may not always be aware of all the risks they take when they get on their bikes. One potentially life-threatening risk is that of sternum fracture. The sternum, or breastbone, is a flat plate of bone just beneath the skin at the center of the chest, connected to the ribcage by cartilage. This gives structural support to the torso and protects the heart and lungs but when broken can be painful or even deadly.

Sternum fracture is more common in women than men, and in people over 50 as compared to the total population. About 5 to 8 percent of chest trauma cases, including those resulting from a motorcycle accident, involve sternum fracture. People with osteoporosis are especially vulnerable to this kind of bone breakage. Sternum fractures are commonly accompanied by fractured ribs and may result in injury to the heart, lungs, abdominal organs or blood vessels.

Sternum fracture-related deaths occur in roughly 25 to 45 percent of cases. While the fracture itself is painful and debilitating, underlying damage such as injury or punctures of the heart or lungs caused by fragments or sharp edges of bone can lead to fatal complications. Collapsed lungs, pooling of blood in the thoracic cavity and pneumonia are possible outcomes of traumatic sternum fracture. Additionally, spinal column injury presents in about 10 percent of cases.

When evaluating a case involving fatal injuries, an attorney might elect to examine the medical records of the deceased and anyone else involved in the accident as well as first-responder accounts of the causes and outcome of the accident. The attorney may demand compensation on behalf of the estate or survivors for medical and funeral expenses, wrongful death and possibly punitive damages. The case may be settled privately or tried in open court.

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