Severe Bone Fracture
In a car accident, our bones are subjected to various kinds of forces, many of which are capable of causing a severe bone fracture. Although our bones are tough and resistant to impact, even they have limits, and when those limits are reached, the result for car accident victims can be painful and sometimes, in the case of severe bone fractures, life-altering.
Both because of their toughness, the material they are made out of, and their ability to slightly bend to resist force, our bones are resistant to impact-related fractures. However, bones have a breaking point. When the forces exerted on them are too great, a break—or fracture—is the result.
Types of Fractures That Happen in a Car Accident
Not every kind of bone fracture is the same, and some are not very severe. For example, in some cases, the bone will slightly crack, but the bone structure remains intact, or the crack does not go all the way through the bone. Although painful, these kinds of fractures will often heal on their own, with enough time (although a doctor may still recommend a splint or cast).
Severe bone fractures can cause extensive damage to the body. A fracture that goes all the way through the bone, bisecting it (dividing it in two), is called a transverse fracture. Although serious, a transverse fracture where the bone above and below the fracture is still aligned will generally heal without serious long term disability so long as the victim keeps it immobile, and then gets the proper therapy as recommended by a doctor.
However, sometimes the bone becomes misaligned; in other words, the two parts of the bone may separate, or one-part may jut out or be thrust to the right or left of the other part of the bone. These are called oblique displaced fractures, and they can be very serious.
In some cases, one part of the bone can separate from the other so much that it breaks through and shows through the skin. This is called an open, or compound fracture. This kind of fracture is very serious, and potentially life-threatening and immediate emergency attention is needed. Muscle, tissues and blood vessels that surround the area of the fracture can be damaged. With some bones, especially the longer ones, a fat embolism can develop, which can deposit fatty tissue into the lungs causing respiratory distress and possibly death.
Another bone fracture often is seen after car accidents is a comminuted fracture. A comminuted fracture is not actually a fracture, but rather a crushing of the bone. The break is completely through the bone, but not with an even, clean crack. Rather, the crack is uneven, with pieces of the bone coming loose. Think of a hammer crushing a stick, not only breaking it, but shattering off shards and pieces.
How Bones Fracture in an Accident
Because of the serious impact that occurs in a car accident, it is not hard to imagine how bones break. Some common ways that bones in the body are broken or fractured in a car accident are:
- A leg bone can be broken when the interior of a car crushes in on it.
- Arms that slip off of steering wheels and go into car dashboards can cause breaks in the arm.
- Fingers that jam into any part of a car’s interior can fracture bones in the hand
- For those who do not wear a seatbelt, ribs can be fractured on impact with the steering wheel and the interior of the car. Even with a seat belt, an airbag deploying can be strong enough to fracture ribs
- In a side-swipe accident, a collapsing door can crush and fracture hip bones
The risk for fractures goes up even more when an accident is so severe that a driver or passenger is ejected from the car. A body that collides with the interior of a car, and then goes flying out of it and lands on the ground, can sustain fractures in multiple places.
Treatment After a Fracture
After an accident in which a severe bone fracture is suspected, an emergency room will usually take an X-Ray, which will reveal the nature and extent of the fracture. Patients may be splinted and sent home, or immediate emergency surgery may be needed. Surgical pins may be implanted to make sure that the joint is stable during recovery.
Once the bone has been put back into position and has been immobile for some time, doctors will usually recommend therapy. Therapy and continued medical care are important after a fracture. Therapy will prevent surrounding muscles from atrophying. Therapy can also make sure that bones do not re-heal in a crooked or misaligned way. A victim may sustain life-altering lack of function or disability for bones that do not heal correctly, or the bone may permanently lose its ability to sustain weight loads that the body puts on it.
Damages After Accidents
In Pickering, Ontario, there are limits for recovering from minor injuries, however, generally, a fractured bone is not considered minor. This means that the available insurance benefits after an accident are increased via the accident benefits system and that there is a right to pursue a negligent driver in court for damages that exceed available statutory accident benefits insurance.
In some cases, obtaining additional benefits can be lost if a patient does not get the required medical care, or if a patient ignores doctor’s orders. Aside from the obvious medical benefits, patients should always follow up with medical professionals and heed medical advice when recovering from severe bone fractures.
Our Pickering personal injury lawyers can help you recover insurance benefits and often recover damages from a negligent driver that caused an accident. Call us today to discuss your injuries and your accident.