Many car accident victims in Kansas City and throughout Missouri and Kansas sustain fractures or broken bones. While broken bones may not appear to be as serious as a spinal cord or traumatic brain injury, bone fractures are still a significant injury.
Broken bones from a car accident can require months of treatment, rehabilitation and even surgery. This can result in long periods of pain and discomfort. The injury may prevent you from working, which results in lost wages. You may be unable to perform basic household chores or leisure activities that you enjoy, like swimming, skiing, gardening or hiking.
Some fractures can result in permanent impairments, and others increase the likelihood of arthritis later in life. In sum, a broken bone is not a minor injury. As a result, you need to understand both the nature of your injury and your legal rights after a car accident that results in a broken bone.
Why Bone Fractures Happen in Car Accidents
Broken bones usually result in car accident because of the powerful impact from the car colliding into another vehicle or other stationary object, such as a street light or guardrail. When a car is traveling at 40 mph and suddenly stops, your body continues to travel at that rate of speed until otherwise stopped. Depending on how the crash occurs, your hands, wrists, legs or knees may collide with the dashboard, your arms may slam into the side door, your chest may be restrained by the pressure of the seatbelt. Any of these actions may cause a bone to break.
Fractures can also occur if your body is thrown inside or tossed outside the car. Car accident victims often sustain broken ribs from the pressure of a seat belt or air bag or because their body is twisted by the force of the crash. Perhaps the worst fractures from a car accident are to the bones in one’s spine or skull because these injuries can result in lifelong impairments.
Common Types of Broken Bones in Car Accidents
Any bone in your body may be fractured from the force expended in a car accident. Our broken bone lawyer in Kansas City, MO frequently works with clients who have sustained:
- Arm, hand and wrist fractures
- Hip or pelvis fractures
- Spine fractures (sacrum, thoracic, lumbar, cervical spine)
- Shoulder fractures
- Femur (leg) fractures
- Ankle fractures
- Sternum (breastbone), Clavicle (collarbone) or rib fractures
- Head (skull) and facial bone fractures, such as a broken nose
Some of the most serious broken bones are fractures in vertebrae of one’s neck or back. The impact that causes fractures of the spine can damage nerves in the spinal cord and result in paralysis or even death.
The severity of the injury often correlates with the type of fracture. For instance, a “hairline” fracture is a small or partial break. This type of fracture may require minimal medical treatment. However, more severe types of fractures are:
- Compound (a bone pierces the skin)
- Transverse (a bone is completely broken into two)
- Comminuted (a bone shatters many pieces)
- Displaced (a bone breaks and the sides do not align)
- Avulsion (a ligament or other soft tissue detaches from the bone)
The seriousness of a bone fracture injury depends on the individual’s overall health and age. Young people can rebound easier and quicker from a broken bone after a car accident. On the other hand, an elderly person may be completely debilitated from a bone break. For some older victims, a serious fracture, like a broken hip, may result in life-threatening complications.
How Are Broken Bones Treated?
If you are experiencing broken bone symptoms after a car accident, you should get immediate medical attention. A doctor will examine your injury and order certain tests like an X-ray, CT Scan or MRI in order to identify the location and severity of the break.
Proper medical treatment requires that the fracture be aligned in order to heal properly. Realignment may involve require surgery and the implantation of hardware like plates, nails, screws or wires.
Once aligned, you will be ordered to restrict movement of the injured area so the bone may heal properly. A doctor may put the bone in a cast, brace or sling to immobilize it. This may last for several weeks or even months.
As the bone heals, you will likely be ordered to return to the doctor for additional examination and tests to make your fracture is healing properly. For many types of fractures, you may need physical therapy or rehabilitation. This typically involves exercises and stretches to assist you in regaining strength, motion and flexibility. Your doctor may tell you that you cannot work or may recommend that you be restricted to light duty during rehabilitation.
Can Bone Fractures Lead to Complications?
Yes, for some car accident victims, a fracture can result in other medical complications. For example, a bone break may get infected, may not heal properly or may result in deformities that restrict your mobility. In addition, you may continue to experience joint or muscle pain or develop arthritis earlier than you otherwise would have.
What Types of Damages Can You Recover for Broken Bone Injuries?
If you suffered a fracture in a car accident caused by another’s negligence, you are entitled to recover damages that include:
- Past and future medical costs (such as emergency treatment of the broken bone, orthopedic evaluation, medication, and rehabilitation)
- Past and future lost wages (for time missed at work and or lost future earning capacity due to a permanent impairment)
- Pain and suffering.
Get Help from an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Kansas City
At our car accident law firm in Kansas City, we recognize that a broken bone is a serious injury. It can lead to costly medical care, lost wages and even permanent impairments. We can help you recover the maximum compensation available and make the best of a difficult and painful time in your life.
For more information about how we can help after broken bone from a car accident, contact us today for a free consultation at 816-203-0143.