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Guide to Broken Bones From an Accident

broken bones from an accident

A broken bone from a car crash proves that you were in a significant accident. The force necessary to break a bone means that you likely have many serious injuries. At St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas, we specialize in car accident injury claims. We have handled countless cases involving serious bodily injuries. Because of our experience, we know that these claims often require extensive medical treatment. Our goal in every case is to make sure you have the resources to get quality medical care and then maximize the recovery to you.

What is a Bone Fracture?

A fracture is the medical term for what laymen call a broken bone. There are many types of fractures that can be caused by a car accident crash as follows:

Transverse

This fracture is also known as a complete break. It occurs when the bone is snapped into two pieces as a result of direct pressure or a direct hit. The bone is generally broken at a right angle, perpendicular to the long axis of the broken bone.

Compound

This fracture is also known as an open break. It is one of the most serious types because the broken bone actually pushes through the skin. These types of fractures also carry a high risk of infection.

Comminuted

This type of fracture occurs when the bone breaks into three or more pieces. Repairing this injury can be difficult due to the multiple pieces involved.

Buckle

This type of fracture is also called an incomplete or torus. It occurs when the bone begins to bend, but no break actually results. Children are often the victim of buckle fractures because of the softness of their bones.

Stress

A stress fracture is a partial break of the bone. It occurs when one side of the bone breaks, but the other bends.

Oblique

This type of fracture occurs when the bone breaks along the diagonal of the long axis. It is a rather rare type of fracture. This may occur if one bone gets trapped and another bone is twisted over the top of the trapped bone.

Avulsion

This type of fracture occurs when the bone and the soft tissue separate. (Soft tissue are the ligaments and tendons that link the bone to muscle or to other bones). Avulsion fractures can cause serious pain and normally require surgery for repair.

Hairline

A hairline fracture is a small crack or partial break in the bone. This is typically one of the least severe types of fracture and some people do not even know that it has occurred. However, if left untreated, a hairline fracture can continue to grow and weaken the bone.

What Are the Most Common Broken Bones After a Car Accident?

Wrist Fractures

These are perhaps the most common car accident fracture that I have seen in my career. Because the wrist has so many small and fragile bones, it is susceptible to break during the impact of the accident. I normally see these fractures when my clients have their hands on the steering wheel or dashboard at the time of the collision.

Spine Fracture

This is perhaps the second most common type of fracture from a car accident and much more severe than a wrist fracture. It takes a massive impact to fracture the spine although I have had cases where my clients were simply sitting in an odd position and that was enough to cause the injury. The most serious spinal fractures can cause temporary or permanent paralysis, so it is important to seek emergency medical care if there is any question about the extent of the injury.

Arm Fracture

Like wrist fractures, arm fractures normally occur when someone is braced for impact. I have also seen these injuries when someone is t-boned or thrown into the door. There are three bones in the arm, the humorous in the upper arm, and the radius and the ulna in the lower arm.

Lower Leg Fracture

The tibia and fibula are the two bones in the lower leg. They can be broken when the foot is braced for impact or when there is a side impact collision.

Upper Leg Fracture

The femur is the bone in the upper leg that runs form the hip to the thigh. It is a strong bone and is rarely broken unless the impact is severe.

Rib Fracture

Broken (and bruised) ribs are quite common in car accidents. They can be caused by the pressure of the seatbelt, the airbag, or striking the steering wheel or door. Although broken ribs can be painful, they normally just require rest in order to heal.

Hip Fracture

A fracture to the hip is another common injury from a car accident impact. Because the hip absorbs a large amount of force when seated in a car, the bone can be broken. Although some of my clients need emergency surgery to repair these injuries, most fractures are nagging and my clients resist surgery for as long as possible. Fortunately, great strides have been made for hip surgery and my clients all report great relief after the procedure.

Pelvic Fracture

It normally takes a high impact to fracture the pelvis. I rarely see these in car accidents, but commonly see them in motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents or pedestrian accidents.

Skull Fracture

A fracture to the skull can occur when something hits the head in the car or the head smashes into something like the steering wheel, window, or dashboard. These fractures are rare, but serious. In most head injury cases from car accidents, it is the brain, not the skull that is injured. These traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are sadly much more serious than a fracture. Brain injuries are some of the most difficult cases to deal with from a personal perspective because there is little that modern medicine can do to treat the brain.

Facial Fracture

Facial bones are more delicate and apt to break during an impact. We see nasal fractures, cheekbone fractures and orbital fractures caused from the face striking an object in the car or the airbag.

Clavicle Fracture

The clavicle is the long bone that runs on top of your ribcage and is essential to move your arms and shoulders. These bones are apt to break because they are thin and long. Unfortunately, many of these injuries require surgery to repair.

What Are the Types of Treatment for Broken Bones?

The type of treatment for your injury depends on the severity of the break. Some of the treatment options are as follows:

Framing

In the case of a shattered bone, framing is an external fixation to keep the bones immobilized while they heal.

Implants

In the case of a bone that has fragmented into pieces, pins, screws or plates may be used to bind the bones together.

Cast

A cast is a common and simple method to keep the injured bone still while it heals.

Surgery

If a bone needs to be realigned or fragments removed, surgery may be the only option to accomplish this.

Physical Therapy

After a break, many patients will need strength training and stretching exercises to regain proper function.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

At St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas, we understand how serious injuries from car accidents can be. When you have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover money for your past and future medical bills, loss of income, out of pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. The value of your case depends on many factors including the ability of your car accident lawyer and the insurance coverage.

If you have broken a bone or have otherwise been injured in a car accident and are unsure of your rights, please contact us for a free consultation.

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