All too often, accidents cause broken bones. Serious fractures can end up costing thousands of dollars in treatment and lost work opportunities and should not be dismissed as minor injuries.
- Severe pain
- Deformity, such as the broken limb appearing to be out of place
- Swelling, bruising, tenderness, numbness, or a tingling sensation around the injury, or
- Difficulty or pain when moving a limb.
Broken bones can range from stress fractures, which are tiny cracks in the bone, to more serious fractures where the bone is actually cracked and moves apart during an accident or fall. The worst bone breaks are known as compound fractures, where the bone breaks into two or more pieces and one or more of the pieces punctures the skin and is exposed. This poses a risk of infection, and also presents serious issues for reconstruction and setting of the break so that the bone can mend as closely as possible to its original position.
Any fracture requires immediate medical care. X-rays will determine whether you have broken a bone and whether you need a cast or a splint to treat the fracture. It is also possible that surgery will be necessary, depending upon the location and severity of the break. Pins, screws, or other measures might be required to stabilize the fracture. As a result, compound and other complex fractures are the most difficult and expensive to treat.
Broken Bones Are Common in Accidents
Fractures are among the most common of orthopedic injuries, with roughly seven million people suffering bone fractures in the United States every year. The average adult in the United States suffers two bone fractures in their lifetime. Extremity fractures are the most common, usually suffered by men under 45 years old, or women over 45 years old. For women, this is due to osteoporosis, a reduction in bone density commonly found in older women.
Costs for Broken Bones Add Up
Even if you have health insurance, a relatively simple procedure involving a broken bone can get pretty pricey. Adding up charges for an emergency room visit, doctor’s fees, lab fees, x-rays, fees for follow-up care, braces, slings, bandages, splints, casts, clinic visits, CT scans, and other procedures—can quickly push the costs over $10,000. Physical therapy, if necessary, can also add significant costs. Treatments for any nerve damage or other complications, such as muscle damage, also will escalate the cost. Depending upon your insurance policy, there is no guarantee that all—or even most—of these costs will be covered.
With medical costs constantly on the rise, any injury in an accident may wind up costing far more than you expect. Broken bones are no exception. Even with health insurance, a broken bone can be very expensive. Without health insurance, the costs of a broken leg can reach into many thousands of dollars:
- If you don’t have health insurance, treatment for a broken leg generally can be as much as $2,500 or more just for a break that calls for a cast. That can include an average of more than $200 for an x-ray – although that can cost as much as $1,000 – about $225 for a cast, and as much as $1,000 for the doctor’s fee, in addition to up to $200 for an office visit fee. Fees can vary depending upon where you are and what prevailing health-care costs are in your region.
- If you suffer a broken leg that requires surgical treatment and you do not have health insurance, surgical treatment of a broken leg typically costs $17,000 to $35,000 or more.
- If you have health insurance, a broken leg generally would be covered, but you remain responsible for copayments and coinsurance. These can amount to thousands of dollars, especially if your deductibles or yearly out-of-pocket maximums are high, as is common with many plans purchased on the Healthcare Exchange.
Broken arms are no less expensive:
- If you have no health insurance, the diagnosis and treatment for a broken arm that does not require surgery generally runs up to $2,500 or more.
- If surgery is required, without health insurance a broken arm generally costs about $16,000 or more.
- While a broken arm normally would be covered by health insurance, for someone on a health insurance policy through the Healthcare Exchange, deductibles could be more than $5,000, meaning you will wind up being responsible for the full costs yourself.
In addition, whether a broken bone is a compound fracture and protrudes through the skin is a major factor in how much it costs to treat a fracture. Compound fractures can be considerably more expensive to treat.
If you suffer a broken bone in an accident involving another party, whether in a traffic accident or an accident on someone else’s property, the other party may be legally liable for your damages. Regardless of what your insurance does or does not cover, you might be able to recover damages from the other driver or property owner, or from that person’s insurance carrier.
It is important to explore your legal options to obtaining compensation for your injuries. There is no reason for you to bear all the expenses yourself if another party was responsible. In addition, the law imposes deadlines on the amount of time you have to bring a legal claim for compensation after an accident. Don’t delay—contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you don’t lose important legal rights.
If You Have Been Injured in an Accident in the Chicago area, Contact the Attorneys of Abels & Annes
If you have been injured in an accident, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights. The attorneys of Abels & Annes are here to help you following an accident. You can reach us at (312) 924-7575 or through our website.