A broken bone or fracture is a medical condition where there is damage to the continuity of the bone from a high force impact or stress to the bone. Bones can bend, crack, splinter or even snap in two if they are hit hard enough or forced in the wrong direction. This type of injury may be the result of a motor vehicle, motorcycle or bicycle accident, a sports-related injury or a recreational accident.
Fractures are a common injury resulting from car, bicycle, or motorcycle accidents due to the force exerted on the body during the collision and how easily the body can be thrown into contact with objects and debris.
Broken bones that are caused by others’ actions (i.e. car accidents, nursing home falls or sports injuries) often involve a high force impact that results in a more severe crack. When the broken bone is caused by someone else’s negligence, the injured person can make a claim to recover money to compensate for damages from the injury.
TYPES OF BONE FRACTURES
There are several different types of bone fractures. The main categories of bone fractures include the following:
- Complete fractures: In the case of a complete fracture, the bone usually breaks into two or more parts.
- Incomplete fractures: In the case of an incomplete fracture, there is usually a crack in the bone, but there is no absolute breakage.
- Compound fractures (also known as open fractures): In the case of a compound fracture, the bone breaks through the epidermal layer of skin.
- Simple fractures (also known as closed fractures): In the case of a simple fracture, the bone breaks but does not wound the skin.
- Comminuted fracture: In the case of a comminuted fracture, the bone is broken, splintered or crushed into several pieces.
- Spiral fracture: In the case of a spiral fracture, a bone can be twisted apart.
SEVERITY OF A FRACTURE
Some fractures heal uneventfully, while others may require surgical fixation by an orthopaedic surgeon and months of rehabilitation.
There are several factors that may impact the severity of a fracture, including:
- Classification or alignment: The more pieces a bone has broken into, the more likely the victim will suffer long-term complications.
- Wound type: An open fracture is often more complicated and carries the danger of infection and longer healing time.
- Health and age of the victim: Young and old victims are at higher risk for fracture injuries in accidents. Older people tend to heal more slowly and are at risk of increased complications. Younger people are still growing and this makes the healing process more problematic and increases the risk of long-term complications.
In the case of multiple broken bones, these are usually combined with other serious soft tissue injuries and damage to the muscles, tendons, and discs. These types of combined injuries may complicate the rehabilitation process and lengthen the recovery time.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF BONE FRACTURES
Bone fractures are typically diagnosed with x-rays. Doctors may also use CT scans (computed tomography) and MRI scans (magnetic resonance imaging) to assist in their diagnosis.
Although broken bones can heal by themselves, it is important to ensure that the pieces of bone are lined up correctly. Some complicated fractures may require surgery or surgical traction.
Treatment may include the use of splints, braces, plaster cast, traction, surgically inserted metal rods or plates, and pain relief in the form of medication. After the bone has healed, it may be necessary to restore muscle strength and mobility to the affected area through the use of physical therapy.
LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF FRACTURES
Fractures do not usually have long-term symptoms, provided they receive the proper treatment in a timely manner. However, there are some fractures that can result in long-term impact on your body and your life depending on the health and age of the patient, the type of fracture, the amount of damage done to the bone and surrounding ligaments and muscles, and the location and severity of the injury.
These are some of the long-term effects of bone fractures:
- Permanent reduced range of motion and loss of use;
- Permanent or partial loss of use or disability;
- Chronic pain;
- Nerve damage;
- Joint problems;
- Anxiety and depression;
- Loss of strength; and/or
If you are left with any of these long-term effects they may affect your job, future employability, and the quality of your social, recreational, and family life.
Compensation for bone fracture injuries may include money for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, out-of-pocket expenses (including medical expenses, transportation costs etc.), cost of future care, past and future wage loss, and loss of earning capacity.
If you or a loved one have suffered a fracture injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP can help evaluate your specific case to determine whether you have a valid claim. It is important that you call us promptly so we can help you understand your rights and the potential to recover compensation for your injuries. Contact our office online or at 403-571-0555 for a free consultation. We look forward to helping you obtain the compensation that you deserve.