Article Updated: August 3, 2021
Broken Bone Injuries
Broken bones after a car accident can take substantial time to recover, but can also result in substantial compensation. In this article you will find information on:
♦ Different kinds of broken bone injuries
♦ Symptoms to look out for after an accident
♦ Serious crash fractures and treatments for them
♦ Strategies to help your settlement succeed
♦ Average settlement amounts
Scroll down to get more information on how you can maximize your broken bone car accident settlement.
Table of Contents
10 – About the Author
Broken Bone Injury Symptoms
It is not always as easy to identify that a bone is broken. Often, broken bones have more subtle pain and symptoms that do not immediately reveal the seriousness of the injury.
Why Broken Bone Injuries Are Not Always Obvious
Some broken bone injuries are subtle because they cause hairline breaks that cause persistent pain but a pain that is more dulled than more obvious breaks.
Common Symptoms of a Broken Bone
While there are many symptoms of a broken bone injury, common car accident broken bone symptoms include:
♦ Pain that increases in time
♦ When pressure if placed on the bone, pain increases
♦ More pain when active
Crash Fracture: Mechanisms of Injury
A non-exhuastive list of the different common ways which result in broken bones for vehicle accident victims is below.
Ejection: Getting ejected from your vehicle is one of the major ways you can get a broken bone. This can happen from not wearing a safety belt or malfunctions. This kind of impact will often cause major broken bones as well as other serious injuries.
Motorcycle Fall: Falling off a motorcycle is a common and painful event that can lead to major broken bones, including crush injuries from the bike landing on your leg.
Getting T-Boned: The impact of a T-bone car accident, with the absence of a bumper to your side, often leads to fractures and breaks in the ribs, the shoulders and the hips.
Pedestrian Accident: Being hit by a vehicle of any size at any speed can cause broken bones in any part of the body. These can be horrific injuries that often lead to long-term injuries.
Types of Bone Fractures
This happens when the bone snaps into two pieces. The injury happens from intense pressure or direct impact on the bone and generally happens at a right angle.
SAMPLE VERDICT: $115,000.00. A child suffered a transverse fracture of his leg. The injuries were serious enough to require surgery to be conducted on multiple occasions to address the injuries. The injury was a result of a driver under the influence of a controlled substance hitting the car with the child in it who was injured. This is a pretty small settlement for these facts. I would predict the jury did not get to hear about the defendant driver being drunk.
A spiral fracture happens when a rotating force fixes one bone in place, and causes intense twisting of the bone. These are similar to the oblique fractures, except unlike the oblique fractures, which are diagonal breaks across the bone, the spiral fracture is around the bone with intense twisting.
An oblique fracture is where the bone breaks on the diagonal axis of the bone. While not a common form of fractures, this can happen in car accidents where the bones twist and get trapped during the accident. Oblique fractures can happen in two formats:
A compound fracture is a serious injury that has occurs because of intense trauma and is extremely painful. This injury causes the bone to be broken at an angle that causes it to push directly out of the skin and can leave the potential for infections and life-threatening conditions.
A comminuted fracture happens when a bone breaks into three or more pieces. This kind of fracture tends to happen from a great amount of pressure being placed on the bone and can have some of the hardest and longest recovery times.
SAMPLE VERDICT (Pennsylvania): $22,000,000.00. A passenger suffered a comminuted fracture of the leg. This injury was bad enough that it led to the plaintiff having to have an amputation of the right leg due to the severity of the fractures. The case, occurring in Pennsylvania, occurred due to a rear ending at a stopped traffic light.
Buckle & Stress (Greenstick)
A buckle fracture happens when the bone begins to break but no actual break occurs due to the bone being soft. Nonetheless, this causes what can be called a fracture and tends to affect children more commonly.
Stress fractures are similar to the buckle fracture with the exception that in the stress fracture, there is a bend in one side of the bone and a fracture in the other side.
An avulsion fracture is when there is a separation between the bones and the soft tissue. In this accident type a tendon pulls off a piece of bone and can occur anywhere in the body.
A hairline fracture is when there are small cracks or splinters in the bones. A hairline fracture can often be overlooked because they are not as obvious as other more serious fractures. However, if not attended to, a hairline fracture can grow and get worse over time, weakening the bone.
SAMPLE VERDICT (Alabama): $50,000.00. In an Alabama case, a 62-year old male was injured in an accident and suffered a hairline fracture in his mid-leg. This occurred as a result of his vehicle being struck by another vehicle which led to a loss of 25% of the knee’s capabilities; i.e., this was a permanent injury. But, this was a conservative jurisdiction, so the low result for this serious injury is not surprising.
Broken Bone Injury Complications & Treatments
Broken bone injuries and treatments can take months if not years and sometimes they can never fully be recovered from.
In addition to the long and arduous recovery times, there is intense potential for serious complications that can lead to death if not treated in a timely manner.
Serious Complications From Broken Bones
Some bone fractures and recoveries can lead to infections which can be life threatening. A compound fracture can cause the skin to break leading to infections of the bone as well as infections to the blood. Either of these can lead to death if not treated immediately and will need tests to assess the severity or presence of injuries.
When the bone does not heal within the first 6 months after being broken, this can lead to many complications. These include things such as a Hypertrophic Nonunion Recovery which creates calluses on the bones and Atrophic Nonunion Recovery which makes the ends of the bones become rounded and causes bone reabsorption
This type of complication produces an angular deformity or rotational alignment problem that must be corrected through a surgical procedure. Malunion complications usually occur in long bones like the femur.
Broken Bone Treatments
♦ Splints are used to keep the bone from moving so that it can heal which is often needed in car accident fracture cases which create the need for extensive healing periods.
♦ Braces like a splint are used to cause immobility which allows the bone to have support so that it can properly heal
♦ Plaster Casts are also used to create support and immobility to ensure that a bone can heal properly and not move during the healing process.
♦ Traction is a process by which the bone is slowly pulled and manipulated to get it back into place.
♦ Rods and Plates are placed surgically into the bones to help secure and attach them in severe cases where a splint or other mobility methods are not effective.
Broken Bone Injury Recovery Outlooks
Fractures can generally heal from as little as 6 weeks to as long as 12 months or more. The length of time this takes will depend on the specifics of the accident, which bone was broken and which kind of fracture was sustained. The recovery of bones generally breaks down into four phases.
Four Phases Of Fracture Healing Times
- Inflammatory Phase This phase starts from the time the injury initially starts and usually lasts only a few short weeks.
- Repair Phase In this phase, which lasts 2-3 weeks generally, the tissue starts to repair and new cells in the bone start to get created. In this phase the body creates a tissue called fracture callus which has calcium deposited into the callus.
- Ossification In the ossification phase the new cells continue to strengthen and build around the bone creating a stronger bone and helps to reduce pain.
- Remodeling In the remodeling phase this fracture callus is replaced with the newly created and organized bone. This phase lasts months and usually happens after the bone pain goes away.
Broken Bone Injury Case Settlement Averages
Broken bone cases tend to have a wide range in their values. The best way to get an average for this type of injury is to review some sample results. However, you are better served by looking up case values for your specific type of injury, and we have a injury value landing page where you can search based on injury types.
SAMPLE VERDICT: $200.000.00. A broken leg case that resulted from a head-on collision between two cars led to a large payout after the plaintiff sued the defendant as well as their insurance company, so this case had an uninsured motorist component which usually helps increase the value of the case.
SAMPLE VERDICT: $1,085,280. A plaintiff driving a truck suffered a fracture to his leg and hip as well as jaw when he swerved to avoid a car in front of him.
SAMPLE VERDICT: $130,000.00. A 12-year old female was injured in an accident where she suffered bilateral leg fractures requiring long-term care. The accident occurred as a result of a head-on collision caused when the defendant driver crossed the centerline of traffic.
Broken Bone Injury Q&A
Can a Comminuted Fracture Heal Without Surgery?
No, a comminuted fracture cannot heal properly without surgery and needs surgery. This will usually need the use of splints, rods or casts that are going to help keep the bones in place and also help to create help in the broken bone pieces to heal.
Can I Still Walk With An Avulsion Fracture?
While you may still be able to walk with an avulsion fracture, it will be very painful. This is particularly true in the initial stages of the injury where you will deal with intense pain in your heels and other affected areas, making it hard to put any pressure down on the injured bone.
What Can Happen If I Do Not Treat My Leg Injury Quickly?
If you do not treat a leg injury quickly, you risk the injury getting worse and the recovery time also getting much worse over time. In hairline fractures for example, the fracture will only get worse if left untreated which leads to a weakened bone that can become impossible to heal fully later on without more serious intervention.
Do Comminuted Fractures Need Surgery?
A comminuted fracture very likely needs surgery because of the severity that they usually have. These injuries usually require the use of splints or casts so that the bone can be kept in place so that it can heel properly over time.
Is A Broken Leg A Serious Injury?
A broken bone of any sort is serious and a broken leg in particular can be life-threatening because of the proximity of bones like the femur to major arteries. A break in the leg can therefore lead to bone poisoning as well as blood poisoning turning a broken bone into a life threatening injury.
Los Angeles Lawyers Experienced with
Broken Bone Injury Claims
Maximizing your settlement and broken bone claims means knowing which steps to take at which exact times post-accident. If any steps along the way become overwhelming or hard to deal with, you are invited to reach out at any time and let us help you maximize your settlement.
Supporting Citations, Literature & Resources:
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Mohammadi, A., & Ghasemi-Rad, M. (2011). Nasal bone fracture-Ultrasonography or computed tomography?. Medical ultrasonography, 13(4), 292-295.
Dalati, T. (2005). Isolated hyoid bone fracture: review of an unusual entity. International journal of oral and maxillofacial surgery, 34(4), 449-452.
Dhahir, B. M., Hameed, I. H., & Jaber, A. R. (2017). Prospective and Retrospective Study of Fractures According to Trauma Mechanism and Type of Bone Fracture. Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology, 10(10), 1827-1835.
Cohen, H., Kugel, C., May, H., Medlej, B., Stein, D., Slon, V., … & Brosh, T. (2016). The impact velocity and bone fracture pattern: Forensic perspective. Forensic science international, 266, 54-62.
Fazzalari, N. L. (2011). Bone fracture and bone fracture repair. Osteoporosis international, 22(6), 2003-2006.
Atanelov, Z., & Bentley, T. P. (2020). Greenstick fracture. StatPearls.
Ellis III, E., Muniz, O., & Anand, K. (2003). Treatment considerations for comminuted mandibular fractures. Journal of oral and maxillofacial surgery, 61(8), 861-870.
Anu, T. C., & Raman, R. (2015). Detection of bone fracture using image processing methods. Int J Comput Appl, 975, 8887.
Omoke, N. I., & Ekumankama, F. O. (2020). Incidence and pattern of extremity fractures seen in accident and emergency department of a Nigerian teaching hospital. Nigerian journal of surgery: official publication of the Nigerian Surgical Research Society, 26(1), 28.
About the Author
Article Author: This law article was written by attorney Ray Benyamin, Esquire. Mr. Benyamin received his Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and his license to practice law from the State Bar of California. His law license number is 277263. He has been practicing law for 10 years. Mr. Benyamin is a registered member of the following legal organizations: Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association (ABA), and the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Mr. Benyamin has personally helped his clients recover over $10,000,000 in vehicle accident insurance claims in the State of California.
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