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What are the Most Common Broken Bone Injuries Associated with Car Accidents?
A bone fracture is a medical condition in which a complete or partial break in a bone exists. According to a recent NCBI study, the bone most likely to be fractured or broken during a car accident is the femur (thigh bone). Following the femur, the bones most likely to be broken in a car accident are (in order of most likely to occur):
- Humerus (Arm bone that runs from the shoulder to the elbow)
- Tibia (Shinbone)
- Fibula (The bone that runs parallel to the Tibia)
- Clavicle (collarbone)
- Ulna (The long bone in the forearm)
- Radius Shaft (Another long bone in the forearm that runs parallel to the Ulna)
- Scapula (Shoulder Blade)
For reasons not well understood, men involved in a car accident were most likely to fracture their femur, while women were more likely to fracture their humerus. Speed can be a major factor in the severity of a fracture or broken bone stemming from an auto accident. A sudden deceleration or jarring impact felt in a collision can cause extensive injury, even at lower speeds. Broken and fractured bones are among the most common injuries associated with auto accidents.
While broken bones will rarely pose an immediate danger to the accident victim’s life, it can cause the person to be unable to return to work for a significant amount of time, and can also keep the victim sidelined until the fracture or break heals. Some fractures are more difficult to treat than others, and some fractures or breaks are more painful than others.
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Understanding Broken Bone or Fracture Injuries
While the bones listed above are the most likely to be broken during an auto accident, virtually any bone in the body can be fractured or broken during a car collision. The force of the crash can break or fracture bones, as can the body being hit with external objects, the body being unnaturally thrown forward or backward, limbs and bones that are twisted or bent, being thrown out of the vehicle and hitting a fixed object, or being crushed by the vehicle or another object.
Surgery or a cast may be required to facilitate healing of the break or fracture, and pain medications, physical therapy, and other treatments may be necessary for a very long time. In extreme cases, no amount of treatment or therapies can help the bones to heal or fuse as they should, resulting in a lifetime of impairment or disability. There are many different types of fractures, including the following:
- A hairline fracture is a small crack in a bone; many who suffer a hairline fracture are not aware of the fracture, therefore, fail to seek medical attention. This can cause the small crack to grow into a larger crack, weakening the entire bone.
- A transverse injury occurs when a bone is hit with such force that it snaps in two, usually with a right-angle break.
- When a person’s bones break into two or more pieces—usually due to a powerful impact or acute pressure—it is referred to as a comminuted fracture. Repairing this type of fracture can be very difficult.
- An oblique break occurs along the diagonal of the long axis bone, and is rare, but can happen when one bone is trapped as a result of the car accident, and another bone twists over the trapped bone.
- When a bone is bent, ruptured, or strained, but does not break, it is known as an incomplete fracture or a buckle fracture. Children are the most likely to have a buckle fracture, as their bones are not fully formed.
- A stress fracture is also a partial break and is also more likely to occur in children. A stress fracture happens when one side of the bone fractures, but the other side bends.
- An avulsion fracture occurs when the soft tissues and the bone separate. The soft tissues are the tendons and ligaments that join bones to muscle and bones to one another.
- In a compound fracture, the broken bone will protrude from the skin. A compound fracture is one of the worst kinds of fracture as there is a very high risk of infection.
How a Doctor Can Help Those with Broken Bone Injuries
It is extremely important that all victims of auto accidents are seen by a doctor after the accident. Because the body receives a jolt of adrenaline during the accident, many people believe they are “fine” after the accident, and do not realize until days or even weeks later that they did receive injuries. The signs of a fractured or broken bone include swelling, bruising, an inability to put weight on the affected area, an inability to move the affected area, pain around the injury that worsens with pressure or movement, a loss of function in the injured area, or a bone protruding from the skin.
When a bone is broken, it must be repositioned and “set.” There are certain instances where the bone can be set without the necessity of surgery, however, this is not the norm. Once the bone is set, the area will be immobilized with a splint or cast. If the break or fracture is more serious, surgery may be required, and the bone may be set with rods, screws, glue, plates, or pins. Once the bone has been set (whether through surgery or without surgery) rehabilitation will be an important part of the victim’s recovery. In those cases where a bone punctured the skin, antibiotics can be used to prevent infection.
How an Experienced Colorado Broken Bone Injury Attorney Can Help
If you or a loved one suffered a broken or fractured bone(s) from an auto accident that was the result of the negligence of another driver, you are entitled to receive compensation for your injuries, as well as for your lost wages, and your pain and suffering. Attorney Dianne Sawaya has been helping people just like you for more than two decades. Dianne believes in the rights—and the future—of those injured through no fault of their own. The Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya will work hard to ensure you receive equitable compensation, and that you are not left injured, facing an insurance company who simply does not want to pay what your injuries are worth. Dianne is a highly skilled negotiator, as well as an aggressive litigator, and will be the advocate in your corner at a time you need it most. Contact the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya today!