Broken Hips and Pelvis
No broken bone is a minor injury, but a broken hip or pelvis is particularly major. These injuries directly impact your mobility, severely affecting the other areas of your life, such as your ability to drive, work, care for your children, or even complete simple household chores.
You may think of broken hips as injuries that only impact the elderly, but these serious injuries can occur in people of any age as a result of an accident. This is particularly true of high impact accidents, such as pedestrians struck by vehicles, though simple falls can result in broken hips under the right circumstances.
A broken pelvis not only indicates damage to the bones but can cause injuries to other organs in the abdomen, as well. The pelvis provides structure, keeping organs in their proper places. When the pelvis is broken, organs in the pelvic region may be compressed or shifted out of their proper place. The blood vessels, nerves, and muscles that run through the pelvic ring are also at risk for being shifted, pinched, or otherwise damaged by the break.
Diagnosing the Break
After a severe fall or accident, you should be checked over by a doctor to determine whether or not you have any injuries. This will begin with a physical exam. Although your doctor will perform x-rays to confirm the details of the break, there are some tell-tale signs that you have experienced a break in your hip or pelvis, including:
- Sharp pain in your groin, hip, or lower back
- Inability to put your full weight on the affected leg
- Bruising or tenderness in the area
- Numbness or tingling in your legs or groin
Due to the potential for the involvement of organs and nerves in the damage, it is not unusual for your doctor to order a CT scan as well. This scan will give your doctor a clearer image of the break, as well as of any associated injuries.
In some cases, you may not notice any symptoms immediately after the accident, either due to your body’s production of adrenaline or the break being relatively minor. This does not mean that your broken hip or pelvis was not caused by the accident.
Repair and Treatment
Although hip and pelvic breaks impact the same region of the body, treatment varies widely. The one common factor is restricted mobility. This allows your bone the rest needed to properly heal. However, remaining immobile for extended periods of time can also put you at risk for further complications, such as blood clots, bedsores, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia.
A broken hip will typically require surgery. Depending on the precise location and severity of the break, your doctor will use some combination of pins, screws, and plates to hold the bone in place.
Pelvic breaks, on the other hand, do not always require surgery. If the pelvis break is a simple one and the bones still line up properly, then treatment is likely to involve reducing or eliminating weight-bearing activities on the affected leg using crutches or a wheelchair. This allows the bone time to heal and regrow. More complex breaks or breaks in which the bone has also become dislocated or misaligned from the rest of the pelvis will require surgery. Depending on your specific case, your doctor may opt to use devices such as pins to hold the bones in place internally or to use removable, external supports to keep your pelvis aligned as it heals.
Covering Your Costs
You may be able to recover your expenses from the at-fault party’s insurance company through a simple insurance claim. However, remember that insurance companies are out to protect their bottom line, so they will offer you less than you need and deserve. If you cannot come to an agreement with the insurance company, then you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit. Subject to the discoverability principle, there is a two-year time limit in which to file your suit in Ontario, which begins from the date of the injury. Your lawyer will help you to calculate the amount in damages you should seek by adding together expenses such as:
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
Recovering compensation for your expenses requires that you be able to prove that the damages you are seeking were the direct result of the accident. The insurance company’s legal team will be looking for any evidence that your injuries might have existed prior to the accident or been caused by some other event. In broken hip and broken pelvis cases, opposing lawyers may request medical records to look for evidence of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a common underlying cause of these fractures, so do not be surprised to find yourself defending against claims that you have a pre-existing condition which is responsible for your injury, rather than the accident.
You will also need to show that the person you claim was at fault caused the accident. This may also mean proving that your actions did not primarily cause the accident. It is possible to be found partially at fault and still recover some damages, though. The defendant may claim contributory negligence, meaning that your actions aided in causing the accident. If the court agrees, the amount you can recover will be reduced by your degree of fault.
Contact a Thunder Bay Lawyer
Preszler Injury Lawyers may be able to help you fight for the compensation you need to pay your bills and get back on your feet. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.