There were 396,486 car accidents in Florida in 2022, leading to 251,901 injuries and 3,538 fatalities. It’s not a stretch to assume that tens of thousands of those injuries were broken bones, as breaks and fractures after a car accident are incredibly common.
Many people believe that when someone is in a car wreck and “only” suffers a broken bone, they’re lucky. That’s true to some extent since car accident injuries can be much worse. However, suffering a broken bone can still cause significant issues, affecting the victim’s quality of life for several weeks or months.
If this happened to you in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, The Eberst Law Firm will work to help you obtain maximum compensation. You can contact us online or call 1-888-CALL-JON for a free consultation.
Common Causes of Broken Bones in Personal Injury Accidents
About 7 million people in the U.S. need medical treatment for a broken bone each year. Just about any accident can cause this injury, but here are the most common culprits.
Car, motorcycle, and bicycle accidents are notorious for causing broken bones due to the significant forces involved. When vehicles collide or impact other objects, occupants can experience bone fractures.
For example, in a car crash, the rapid deceleration and impact can result in fractures of the arms, legs, ribs, or even the skull. Motorcyclists and bicyclists are particularly vulnerable to fractures when thrown from their vehicles during accidents.
Slip and Fall Incidents
One out of five slip and fall incidents results in a broken bone. The wrist and hip are the most common body parts affected. When someone slips on a slippery surface and falls, the impact on the outstretched hand or side of the hip can cause fractures. Depending on the fall’s force on the bone, these fractures may range from simple to compound.
Workplace accidents, especially those involving falls from heights or incidents with heavy machinery, pose a substantial risk of broken bones. Construction workers, for instance, may suffer fractures from falling scaffolding or machinery accidents. In industrial settings, crushing injuries can result in severe fractures that often require immediate medical attention.
Sports and Recreational Activities
High-impact sports and recreational activities carry a heightened risk of fractures, particularly among athletes. Contact sports like football and hockey can lead to bone fractures due to collisions, tackles, or falls. Even non-contact sports can result in fractures when participants lose control and crash into obstacles or land awkwardly.
Assaults and Violent Incidents
Physical altercations and violent incidents can result in various types of fractures, with facial fractures among the most common. When individuals suffer blows or strikes, bones in the face, such as the nose, jaw, or orbital bones, can be fractured. The force applied during these incidents can lead to simple and compound fractures.
Types of Fractures
You might not realize there are many different categories of bone fractures. Here are just a few.
Simple (Closed) Fracture
A simple fracture occurs when the bone breaks but doesn’t puncture the skin. This type of fracture is often less severe and carries a lower infection risk than compound fractures.
Compound (Open) Fracture
In contrast, a compound fracture involves the broken bone piercing through the skin, significantly increasing the risk of infection. These fractures require immediate medical attention and surgical intervention to prevent complications.
Greenstick fractures most often occur in children. The bone bends but doesn’t break completely, similar to a young, green branch. These fractures may not always be immediately apparent and require specialized diagnostic imaging.
Comminuted fractures are the most severe because the bone shatters into multiple pieces. Treating such fractures can be complex and involve extensive surgical intervention and hardware like screws and plates.
Stress fractures typically result from repetitive stress on a bone, commonly seen in athletes and individuals engaged in intense physical activities. These fractures often manifest as hairline cracks and can be challenging to diagnose without specialized imaging techniques like MRI scans.
Broken Bones vs. Fractures After a Car Accident
While “broken” and “fractured” are often used interchangeably, they refer to the same problem – a disruption in bone continuity. The choice of terminology may depend on the medical convention or personal preference, but the result is a bone that is no longer in one piece.
Whether you refer to it as a broken or fractured bone, the implications and treatment approaches are fundamentally the same. The key lies in accurately diagnosing the type and severity of the fracture, which guides treatment decisions.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of broken bones and fractures are crucial indicators for patients and medical professionals. Common symptoms include:
- Pain: Pain at the fracture site is often immediate and can range from mild discomfort to excruciating pain.
- Swelling: Swelling occurs as the body’s natural response to injury, accumulating fluid and blood at the injury site.
- Deformity or misalignment: A visible deformity or a noticeable misalignment of the affected limb or area may be present, indicating a significant fracture.
- Difficulty moving: Fractures can restrict movement, making moving the affected limb or area difficult or impossible.
- Bruising and discoloration: Bruising often appears due to damaged blood vessels, leading to visible discoloration around the fracture site.
Diagnosis usually involves a combination of clinical evaluation and imaging tests. Doctors typically use X-rays, MRI scans, CT scans, or ultrasound. X-rays help doctors visualize fractures and assess their alignment. MRI scans are beneficial for soft tissue injuries that may accompany fractures, providing a comprehensive view of the injury.
Treatment and Recovery for Broken Bones and Fractures After a Car Accident
The treatment of fractures depends on several factors, including the type and location of the fracture, its severity, and the individual’s overall health. Doctors treat simple fractures by manually aligning the broken pieces and immobilizing them with casts, splints, or braces.
Severe fractures or those that a doctor can’t correctly align may require surgical intervention. Surgery often involves screws, plates, or rods to stabilize the bone. Following immobilization or surgery, physical therapy is crucial to restore mobility, strength, and function. This step is essential for long-term recovery.
Potential complications and long-term effects can vary widely depending on the nature and treatment of the fracture. They may include chronic pain, limited mobility, stiffness, muscle weakness, and the development of arthritis in the affected joint.
The costs associated with treating fractures can be substantial, encompassing medical expenses, rehabilitation, assistive devices, and potential ongoing medical care. For example, surgery for a broken leg can cost $35,000.
Establishing Liability and Recovering Damages for Broken Bones and Fractures After a Car Accident
In personal injury cases involving fractures, establishing negligence and liability is a critical step in pursuing compensation. Doing so often involves gathering evidence, such as accident reports, witness statements, and medical records, to demonstrate that another party’s actions or negligence led to the injury. These documents can help prove fault and establish the basis for seeking damages.
Potential damages that can be recovered in personal injury cases may include the following:
- Medical expenses: These include costs related to hospitalization, surgeries, doctor’s visits, medication, and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages: If the injury leads to time off work or impacts the victim’s ability to earn a living, they can seek compensation for lost wages.
- Pain and suffering: This category encompasses physical pain, emotional distress, and the overall impact of the injury on the victim’s life.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
A car accident lawyer can be a crucial ally in navigating the complex legal process that follows a personal injury accident. Lawyers are well-versed in the legal intricacies of personal injury cases. They file all necessary paperwork accurately and within deadlines.
They can also deal with insurance companies, aiming for a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. An attorney’s expertise is instrumental in assessing the full extent of your damages and pursuing fair compensation.
You must hire an attorney as soon as you can. They need to investigate the accident before critical evidence disappears.