Broken Bones and Fractures From Car Accident
When you suffer a broken bone in a car, truck, bus, or motorcycle accident, medical bills and time off work increase fast.
These injuries can be serious and entail ongoing medical complications. If you suffered broken bones from a Maryland accident, you should talk to an injury lawyer as soon as possible.
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we help scores of people in Maryland every year who sustain fractures in car wrecks every year. We know how painful these injuries are and how they can impact your life.
There are many different types of broken bones from a Maryland car accident ranging from hairline fractures to small bones in the fingers which do not usually require surgery to life-threatening breaks of bones like the femur and the pelvis.
How do Bones Break During a Maryland Car, Truck or Motorcycle Accident?
There are a number of scenarios that lead to broken bones in auto wrecks. Bones often break when cars collide at a high rate of speed or with considerable force.
Although broken bones are less likely in low speed rear-end accident, elderly people are more susceptible to fractures.
The circumstances leading to broken bones in a crash include:
- Hitting an Object – A direct blow to part of your car at a high speed can break bones. Even an airbag can hit you with real force at 70 mph. A motorist’s face or arms may hit the steering wheel or the dashboard. Drivers and passengers have little legroom. When a car is crumpled by an outside force, legs break.
- Being Thrown out of a Vehicle – Ejection accidents are often very serious. The impact of a body hitting the road can cause multiple fractures and other injuries like brain damage. Ejection accidents usually occur when the victim is not wearing a seat belt. However, a victim who is wearing a seat belt may suffer a partial ejection.
- Crush Impacts – When a car, SUV, or pickup is hit by a larger vehicle like a tractor-trailer, the occupants can suffer crush injuries including multiple pulverized bones and other life-threatening conditions.
- Being Thrown from a Motorcycle – Bikers face particular dangers on the highways of Maryland. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 28 times more frequently than passenger car occupant deaths in traffic crashes in 2016.
Riders often shatter bones when they are thrown off their bikes and face a higher risk of having their legs amputated after a crash than motorists. They may also break a bone from entrapment between their bikes and the ground.
What Bones Can You Break in a Car Accident?
Drivers and passengers who are in car collision often break wrists. In the seconds before a car wreck, the occupants of a car often brace their hands against the side or ceiling of their car or truck.
This puts intense pressure on the bones, tendons and ligaments in your hands and wrists.
The wrist comprises eight small bones that connect with two long forearm bones called the ulna and the radius.
Although any of these bones can easily break, the most common bone to fracture is the radius. This is called a distal radius fracture by hand surgeons, states the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.
The clavicle or collarbone is a long bone that acts as a strut between the shoulder blade and the sternum or breastbone. It is a more fragile bone than many other bones in your body, meaning it’s highly susceptible to breaking during a crash.
A clavicle fracture accounts for approximately 5 percent of all fractures in adults, according to OrthoInfo. Clavicle fractures typically occur when the car accident victim falls on his shoulder or an outstretched arm puts enough pressure on the bone that it snaps or breaks. A broken collarbone is a very painful break. It can be difficult to move your arm with a shattered collarbone.
If you suffer a more complicated fracture of the clavicle surgery may be needed to realign the collarbone using screws and plates. Treatment for a broken collarbone typically involves a sling or figure-of-eight splint to keep the area immobile for several weeks. Recovery may take four to eight weeks. Often the victim will need physiotherapy. If you suffer an injury of this nature, you may incur large medical expenses.
Fractures of the pelvis are associated with serious motorcycle accidents. They also occur in car crashes. These fractures are more uncommon than wrist and collarbone breaks. They can be life-threatening.
Fractures of the pelvis range from mild breaks when the minor ring is broken to severe if the major ring is broken. Pelvic rings typically break in more than one place.
Although a minor pelvic fracture may heal in a few weeks without surgery, a serious broken pelvic injury may be life-threatening. These injuries can cause damage to the organs the pelvis protects and require long-term care, rehabilitation and physical therapy.
Arm Fractures often occur after the victim braces for a collision in a car crash. Arm breaks usually occur in one of three bones – the humerus that connects the elbow to the shoulder, the radius that connects the elbow to the wrist above thumb or the ulna, the bone that connects the elbow to the wrist.
Arm fractures vary in seriousness. An open (compound) fracture where the broken bone pierces the skin is usually more complicated to treat than a closed fracture in which the skin is not pierced.
A displaced arm fracture is defined as a break in which the bone fragments are not aligned at the break site while a comminuted fracture involves the fragmentation of bones into several pieces. This injury is associated with a severe impact and can have a serious impact on your life.
Cars have very little legroom for drivers and passengers. During a crash, the legs can become crumpled by the body of the car and suffer serious breaks.
A tibia, or shinbone, is the most commonly fractured long bone in the body. A tibial shaft fracture is a very serious break that occurs along the whole length of the bone, below the knee and above the ankle. Our Baltimore injury lawyers see these types of fractures in wrecks involving big rigs on the I-695 Beltway. These injuries are also associated with high impact motorcycle crashes.
Most tibial shaft fractures take 4 to 6 months to heal completely and the patient may suffer complications such as infections and injuries to nerves and blood vessels.
Fibula fractures are breaks to the smaller of the two bones in the lower leg. Fractures of the fibula may occur along with a tibia fracture or a broken ankle. Fibula or calf bone stress fractures are common among athletes but more serious breaks can occur in auto accidents.
Although most fibula fractures heal with the correct treatment, as is the case with all fractures, there is a danger of longer-term conditions like degenerative and traumatic arthritis, abnormal deformities and permanent disability of the ankle.
The femur, or thighbone, is the longest, strongest and heaviest bone in the body Notwithstanding its strength, the femur can fracture during a high-impact collision.
This is a very serious injury. The femur supports all of the body’s weight during many activities, such as walking, running, and standing.
Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of broken femurs. Most femoral shaft fractures take about 3 to 6 months to completely heal. Some fractures take even longer to heal, especially if the fracture was open or broken into many pieces.
Rib fractures are fairly common in Maryland auto wrecks. They can be caused by the airbag, a steering wheel or seat belt during a high impact collision. Rib fractures are typically caused by an impact to the chest area during the collision.
The rib cage protects important organs. It encloses the body’s thoracic cavity, which contains the lungs. Rib fractures often take months to heal. The lower ribs are more flexible than the upper ribs and are more susceptible to injury during an accident.
The body contains 12 pairs of ribs. Any of the 24 ribs can potentially sustain an injury. These fractures range from partial cracks, while others are so serious the bone is fully broken into two or more pieces.
Fully broken ribs are even more painful than fractured ribs. A complete break is more dangerous because a jagged rib may damage nearby organs, such as the lungs, spleen, kidneys, or the liver. A broken rib can puncture the aorta, the body’s main artery, leading to serious blood loss and death.
The hip is a joint composed of the head of the femur (ball) and the pelvic acetabulum (socket). Any strong impact in a car collision can fracture either or both of these bones.
A broken hip is one of the more common fractures associated with car wrecks. T-bone accidents are likely to cause hip fractures as well as head-on collisions. The intensive forces associated with a head-on collision can push up the leg to the hip and break the hip near the pelvis.
People who break their hips in car accidents often require surgery. When a fracture is less severe, non-surgical treatment options, such as pain medications and, physical therapy may be sufficient.
Spinal Vertebrae Fractures
Spinal fractures are among the most serious examples of broken bones in a Maryland car accident. The spine is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae that provide the main support for your body. This bone structure allows you to stand up bend, and twist. Each vertebra contains a hollow space called the spinal canal, which is a protective space for the spinal cord.
Spinal injuries range from fairly mild ligament and muscle strains to fractures and dislocations of the vertebrae, and life-threatening spinal cord injuries. Fractures to the spine can lead to paraplegia and quadriplegia, paralyzing conditions that require long-term, around the clock medical care.
The bones of the face are fragile, and can easily shatter in a car accident. During a car wreck, the victim’s face may hit the steering wheel, the dashboard or an airbag with considerable force. Vulnerable bones include the bony bridge of the nose, cheekbones, and the orbital socket, the bone of the eye socket.
Crash accident victims may fracture their jaw or break their teeth. Another vulnerable joint connects the lower jaw and the skull. A driver or a passenger may be harmed if they strike a hard object with their chin or the side of their jaw.
What Are the Different Types of Fracture Associated with a Car Crash in Baltimore?
No one fracture is the same. Broken bones range from hairline fractures to complicated breaks in which the bones shatter. They include:
- Compound – This is a serious type of fracture. The broken bone protrudes out directly through the skin. Doctors take compound fractures very seriously because there is a high risk of infection. Seek medical help immediately if you suffer a compound fracture.
- Stress – Stress fractures are partial breaks. Children are more likely to suffer these breaks. When a stress fracture occurs, one side of the bone breaks and the other side bends.
- Transverse – A transverse fracture involves the bone being snapped into two pieces from the direct pressure of an auto accident hit. The bone is typically broken at a right angle.
- Comminuted – When bones shatter into three or more pieces, the fracture is referred to as a comminuted fracture. This type of fracture is associated with a powerful impact such as in a tractor-trailer accident. Treating and repairing comminuted fractures is extremely complicated.
- Oblique – An oblique break occurs when a bone fractures along the diagonal of the long axis. These kinds of breaks are rare. They may occur during an auto accident when a bone gets trapped and another is mangled and twisted over the top of the trapped bone.
- Greenstick – A greenstick or buckle fracture occurs when the bone bends and breaks partially, but not totally. It’s comparable to breaking a fresh twig of wood? Instead of snapping in half like a dry stick, it breaks on the outside but only bends in the middle. This condition is most likely in children whose bones are not fully formed.
- Avulsion – An avulsion fracture refers to the separation of the bone and soft tissue. It’s an extremely painful scenario. Surgery is usually required for an avulsion fracture.
- Hairline – Hairline fractures are partial breaks in the bone or small cracks. There are fewer symptoms than other types of breaks and the victim may not know he or she has a hairline fracture. However, hairline fractures often become more serious over time without treatment. These kinds of fractures can weaken the bone.
What kind of Injuries Can You Get in a Car Accident in Maryland?
People who are involved in car accidents in Maryland suffer a wide range of injuries depending on the type of accident, the speed and the forces involved.
Even an accident at a low speed can cause soft tissue injuries. These are the most common types of injuries sustained in a car crash.
Whiplash is when an impact causes the head to jerk suddenly backward and forward. It is a form of neck sprain. Although this injury usually heals in a matter of weeks, it can have long-term consequences.
Other types of Injuries you can get in a car accident in Maryland include:
What Are the Most Common Bone Injuries in a Baltimore, MD Car Crash?
Every year, about 7 million people break a bone in the United States. Auto accidents are not the only cause of fractures. People can break bones in slip-and-falls, sporting accidents, birth injuries as babies, and cycling accidents.
Fractures to the clavicle or the shoulder bone are the most common breaks. Clavicles can be easily fractured by an impact to the shoulder in a car accident, from the force of falling on outstretched arms, and by a direct hit.
Fractures to the arm including to the radius, or ulna bones in the lower part of the arm, or the humerus bone of the upper arm are also common bone injuries in a Maryland car crash.
Wrist fractures are also common broken bones from a Maryland car crash. However, falls are also a frequent cause of broken wrists because people put their hands before hitting the ground.
Broken hips are the most common fractures in people over the age of 65. Women in this age range have the highest rate of fractures due to osteoporosis which involves the loss of calcium.
What Bone is Broken Most Often in a Car Crash?
The clavicle is a fragile bone that is susceptible to fracture in a wide range of scenarios. Many of our car accident clients contact us with broken collarbones.
We are also contacted by many people who fracture arms and wrists because they inadvertently put them in front of them in the seconds before an impact. Facial injuries such as broken noses are also common in car accidents because these bones are fragile.
Can you Break your Leg in a Car Accident?
Many car accident victims suffer broken legs. Typically, legs are broken in car wrecks at high speed. Tibia and fibula fractures may be very serious and entail long recoveries.
Car accidents are a leading cause of femur (thighbone) fractures. It takes a lot of force to shatter the femur which one of the largest and strongest bones in the body. A broken femur is a potentially life-threatening injury. It can take as long as six months for this break to heal.
Surgery is almost always required for a femur fracture. The most common procedure is the insertion of a metal rod down the center of the thighbone. The rod usually stays in the bone for the rest of the patient’s life. If you or a family member suffers a fractured femur, it’s important to recover as much money as you can from the driver who caused your injury. You may have high ongoing medical costs.
What is the Treatment for a Broken Bone from a Maryland Car Accident?
Medical treatments required to fix a broken bone from a Maryland car accident can range from very simple to extremely complicated and costly.
No fracture is the same. While hairline or stress fractures can often be treated without surgery, complicated breaks like comminuted or compound fractures often require intensive medical treatment.
After you suffer a fracture in a Maryland car wreck, a medical professional will perform X-rays which will reveal the severity of the break and help the doctors decide if surgery is needed.
Many fractures heal through the fitting of a cast that holds the bones in place, accompanies with medication and physical therapy after the cast is removed.
However, surgery may be necessary to put the bones back in place. People who suffer a broken collarbone, for example, may require open reduction and internal fixation.
The bone fragments are first repositioned to their normal alignment. The pieces of bone are held in place with special metal hardware. A surgeon fits plates and screws to hold the bones in place.
What Damages Can You Claim After You Suffer Broken Bones from a Maryland Car Accident?
Depending on the nature of a fracture, broken bones sustained in a Maryland car accident can be devastating. Most people who sustain a fracture require time off work and incur large medical bills. If another driver caused your wreck, you may be able to claim the following:
- Lost wages if the break caused you to miss work or to take sick or vacation time.
- Ongoing lost income if you are unable to work or have to give up a job. If you have a physically demanding job, a fracture can end your career.
- Medical bills for treatment;
- Pain, suffering and emotional distress that result from the auto accident.
Contact a Baltimore Injury Lawyer Over Broken Bones from a Car Accident
If you or a loved one has suffered a fracture from an auto accident in Baltimore, Dundalk, Towson, Rossville or elsewhere in Maryland, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney.
Broken bones can be very serious and even life-threatening. They can lead to infections and multiple surgeries. Be wary about dealing directly with an insurance company over serious injuries of this nature.
You are likely to be short-changed. An experienced Maryland fracture injury attorney will fight for your rights. Please contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today.