What Victims of Serious Accidents Need to Know About Broken Bones

Did you know that the number of bones you have in your body changes throughout your lifetime? Although a baby is born with 270 bones, bones fuse together as he grows which is why adults only have 206 bones in their bodies. Whether someone has 270 bones or 206 bones, any number of bones in the human body can break due to trauma.

With 54 bones in the hands and 52 bones in the feet and ankles, it’s no wonder why some of the most common broken bones occur to the fingers, wrists, hands, ankles and feet. Although bones are strong, they can break due to extreme force put on them.

Common Broken Bones

People commonly experience breaks and fractures in the following bones and joints:

  • Nose
  • Jaw
  • Shoulder
  • Clavicle (collar bone)
  • Humerus in the upper arm
  • Radius or ulna in the lower arm
  • Wrist
  • Ribs
  • Hip
  • Pelvis
  • Femur or thighbone
  • Fibula or calf bone
  • Tibia or shinbone
  • Patella or kneecap
  • Ankle
  • Toes
  • Foot bones

Most bones break due to the sheer force of a crash or because of trauma from a fall. Some of the most common causes of broken bones (also known as fractures) include car accidents, motorcycle crashes, truck wrecks, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, and accidents caused by defective products. Because every type of accident and injury is different, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to find out about your legal rights so that the time limits to file a claim against the negligent party don’t run out.

Types of Bone Fractures

Depending on the kind of accident and the force involved that caused the fracture, the injury can range in severity due to the type of fracture suffered. Some of the most common types of bone fractures include:

  • Incomplete fracture.  The bone cracks but does not fully break into two pieces.
  • Complete fracture. The bone makes a clean break into two pieces.
  • Non-displaced fracture. The bone partially breaks or fully breaks with the bone pieces remaining lined up at the fracture site.
  • Displaced fracture. The bone breaks into two or more parts and the bone fragments do not line up at the fracture site.
  • Open fracture. The bone breaks and penetrates the skin, creating an open wound to the skin.
  • Closed fracture. The bone breaks but doesn’t puncture the skin.
  • Comminuted fracture. The bone is crushed or fractured into many fragments and parts.

Complications of Bone Fractures

Because it takes quite a bit of force to break a bone, people who suffer broken bones—no matter the type of fracture—endure pain. In addition, broken bones can lead to complications. If you have suffered any type of complication following a fracture caused by someone else’s negligence, don’t wait to contact an attorney about your legal options.

Sadly, serious bone fractures can have dangerous complications, including:

  • Infection. When a bone punctures the skin, a person is at high risk for suffering a bone infection (also known as osteomyelitis) as well as an infection in the surrounding tissue. When osteomyelitis occurs, it needs to be treated quickly and aggressively in order to stop the spread of the infection. In severe cases, a leg or arm might have to be amputated to stop the spread of infection.
  • Blood vessel or nerve damage. Broken bones can cause damage to nearby blood vessels, nerves and tissues, causing swelling, blood clots and other temporary or permanent problems—even paralysis. Additionally, this type of damage can lead to prolonged healing of the fracture.
  • Compartment syndrome. When a fracture due to trauma occurs, or after surgery or casting of a fracture, it is possible that pressure within the body’s compartments increase, which can result in insufficient blood flow to nerves and muscles that can be life-threatening. This can cause numbness, tingling, pain, and tightness that requires additional surgery.
  • Arthritis. When a bone fracture involves a joint, a person can develop arthritiseven after surgery or healing in a cast. As a result of the pain and inflammation, a person may need joint replacement surgery, such as a knee or hip replacement.

Because serious fractures require surgical procedures that involve metal plates and screws to set fractures or stabilize broken bones, some recoveries are also complicated. For example, if a person breaks a shoulder or a bone in the upper arm, surgery would be necessary that requires internal fixation such as plates and screws. Unfortunately, complications can arise with this type of surgery, such as fractures not healing correctly or hardware breaking. Additionally, having hardware in one’s body can be very discomforting and annoying, as many people feel stiff where the hardware is located or can feel the head of the screws against their skin.

Not only do victims of car accidents and other personal injuries suffer the physical effects and complications of broken bones, but they suffer other adverse effects that are discussed below.

Effects of Broken Bones

Whether a cyclist suffered a broken collarbone or a motorcyclist sustained a broken leg in a crash, people need their bones to perform correctly in order to function. In fact, bones serve many functions as they support, move, and protect the human body. When they break, they can make even the easiest activity difficult, and leave victims without the ability to care for themselves, drive, work, or participate in the hobbies and activities they once loved.

Fractures can also lead to depression and other emotional issues as well as financial stresses due to expensive medical bills and lost wages from time off of work. Because broken bones can cause physical, emotional, and financial trauma, victims of personal injury accidents need to find out about their legal options and what type of compensation is available for their broken bone injuries and losses.

If you have suffered a broken femur, tibia, arm, leg, or other bone in your body as a result of someone else’s negligence, our law firm would be honored to help you pursue justice and a just recovery for your physical, emotional, and financial injuries. The effects of broken bones are many, and you shouldn’t have to suffer any more than you have already. Please call us today at (703) 591-0067 to discuss the details of your case, or fill out our online contact form and we will be in touch with you shortly.