At Abels & Annes, our Chicago injury attorneys often represent clients who have sustained a fracture or broken bone in an accident. This type of injury often requires extensive medical care and may require surgery and rehabilitation. Fractures can also lead to a notable recovery time, which can cause a person to miss out on needed paychecks.
When you break a bone in a car accident, slip and fall, or other personal injury incident, it’s important that you get medical treatment as soon as possible.
If your injury was caused by someone else's negligence, you may be able to get compensation for your damages. A personal injury lawyer can help you to navigate the legal process and handle settlement negotiations on your behalf so that you can get the money you need to move on with your life.
What is a Bone Fracture?
A fracture occurs when force is applied to a bone that is stronger than the bone itself. Whether the bone is completely broken or just cracked, it’s typically referred to as a fracture. A broken bone that punctures through the skin is called an open fracture.
A stress fracture is a break in the bone that is caused by repeated or prolonged forces against the bone, rather than a single traumatic event. The repeated stress weakens the bone until it finally breaks.
How Common Are Bone Fractures?
Bone fractures are quite common. Each year in the U.S. approximately 6.3 million fractures occur. Some fractures are caused by old age, others by disease, and some occur to healthy tissue as a result of trauma.
Your risk of a fracture can depend in part on your age. Children are likely to sustain a fracture, however they tend to be less complicated than a fracture to an adult. When you are older, your bones can become more brittle and a fall that might not hurt a child could seriously injure an adult. Of the fractures that result in hospitalization, 57% occur in people who are 65 and older. For this swatch of the population, 90% of fractures are hip-related, 65% are pelvis-related, and 56% are vertebra-related.
Types of Bone Fractures Caused by Accidents
In the event of an accident, bones are likely to crack, bend, and break. Although simple fractures are common, there are many different types of broken bones, which vary in severity and require differing degrees of medical attention.
Bone fractures are usually divided into categories and types. The categories specify the general result of the fracture. The types of fractures are more specific.
Most fractures are categorized as:
- Complete fracture – bone snaps in two
- Incomplete fracture – the bone breaks, but not into pieces
- Compound fracture or Open fracture – the bone breaks and pierces through the skin
- Closed fracture – the bone breaks, but the skin is not broken
- Simple fracture – fracture to the bone only without damage to the surrounding tissue or puncture of the skin
- Stable fracture – broken ends of the bone line up and are minimally out of place.
- Comminuted fracture – bone shatters into three or more pieces
Bone fractures can be categorized as one or more of the above descriptions. Understanding these categories and types can help you to understand your injury and what that means for your personal injury claim.
The different types of fractures include:
- Avulsion fracture – fragment of bone is separated from the main fractured bone
- Buckled fracture or Impacted fracture – ends of the bone are compressed into each other
- Compression or Wedge fracture – bone is compressed with enough force to cause a break, usually seen in vertebrae
- Greenstick fracture – incomplete fracture causing bone to bend, occurs most often in children
- Pathologic fracture – fractured caused by a disease that weakens the bones
- Spiral fracture – bone has been twisted to the point of breaking, seen in assaults and motor vehicle accidents
- Stress fracture – a hairline crack along the bone
- Transverse fracture – serious break in which the broken piece of bone is at a right angle to the bone’s axis
Some fractures are far more serious than others. Depending on where and how the fracture occurs, recovery may be relatively simple. Severe fractures and bone breaks will have a longer recovery time, more expensive bills, and significant pain and suffering. Some broken bones cases can end up costing the victim thousands of dollars, especially when surgery or complications such as infection are involved.
Areas Often Broken or Fractured Due to Injury
Some broken bones are more like crush injuries in which multiple bones are broken at once from an extreme amount of force. For example, in a motorcycle accident, a rider may get pinned under their bike or another car. This can cause their ribs, vertebrae, and other bones to break to varying degrees.
Two of the most serious and common breaks besides those to the extremities are skull fractures and vertebral fractures.
Fractures to the skull are extremely dangerous and can be life threatening. They are usually caused by blunt force. When the skull is struck in this kind of way, it can lead to damage to the brain, internal bleeding, or swelling. Because the skull is so strong, any force capable of breaking it usually causes traumatic brain injuries (TBI) as well.
These fractures occur when the spinal column receives a sudden jolt. This is most commonly seen in the event of a motor vehicle accident or a slip and fall. The vertebrae are complex sets of bones, cartilage, and other tissue. Disruption to the delicate vertebrae can lead to a multitude of problems.
Broken vertebrae are technically a type of spinal cord injury because it can cause pressure on the spinal cord and nerve. This is a common cause of discomfort and pain in accident victims. And in some cases, the fracture can cause temporary or long-term paralysis.
Broken Bones from Car Accidents
One of the most common ways to sustain a broken or fractured bone is after being involved in a car accident.
When cars collide, the forces involved may cause the metal body of a car to crumple or distort, which in turn can lead to injuries of the occupants of the car. A collision can also cause a passenger’s body to travel forward and then backward in a seat, potentially striking a steering wheel, a dashboard, a gear shift, or even contact with the seat, all of which can cause injury.
A car accident at any speed can produce forces great enough to break a bone, but the faster the car at the time of the crash, the more likely a bone will break. This is because bones can only withstand so much force before they break under pressure, and this force increases exponentially as the speed of a car increases.
The most common types of broken bones sustained in a car accident are broken arms, legs, ribs, and vertebrae in the neck and back. Broken ribs can cause severe internal injuries, like punctured lungs and punctured organs. Particularly dangerous are fractured vertebrae, or the bones that make up the spinal column in the neck and back. When a vertebra is fractured it can cause damage to the spinal cord, which may result in partial paralysis. This is a devastating outcome for victims who may be unable to return to their normal life and careers.
Broken Bones in Falls
A very common cause of broken bones results from slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. In a slip-and-fall accident, something causes a victim to lose their footing and fall. These incidents can be caused by snow, ice, water, cleaning solutions, defective surfaces or stairs, or uneven sidewalk sections, to name a few. A trip and fall is similar but it involves an initial trip over an object followed by a subsequent fall. Often, we see these accidents arise from an improperly placed or maintained rug or mat in a restaurant or store, a defective curb or stairwell, or a foreign object placed in someone’s path of travel.
When a victim begins a fall to the ground, often the first thing done is to put out an arm to instinctively break a fall. This natural reaction might help lessen the severity of overall injuries but often it can lead to a fractured arm.
Another common fracture that results from a fall is a fractured hip. While a broken hip may sound like an injury that only affects the elderly, in truth, this is a common result of a fall. The structure of the hip makes this an easy area to break, especially if a falling victim lands on his or her hip.
If you were injured because of dangerous conditions on someone’s property, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your damages. Property owners and commercial property managers have a duty of care to maintain safe conditions for those who are on their property. Filing a premises liability claim with our attorneys can help you get the compensation you need for your injuries.
Broken Bones in Workplace Accidents
Workplaces can be dangerous and are common causes of personal injuries like broken bones. Regardless of what type of job is performed, all Illinois workers are protected by law for injuries they sustain while working, including any broken bones that occur.
Some workers that are more likely to experience fractures include construction workers, city employees, assembly line and warehouse workers, and anyone who drives for a living, including long haul truckers.
When a job involves moving materials, heavy machinery, or risks associated with driving on the open road, a simple mistake or an accident can have severe consequences, including broken bones, some of which may need surgical repair.
Workers who are injured on the job may have multiple claims and multiple avenues for recovery. This can depend on who is at fault for the accident or who is involved. Even if the injured employee bears some of the responsibility for an incident, there can still be a recovery.
Broken Bones Can Lead to Complications and Expensive Treatments
One of the main reasons that victims of car accidents and slip and falls need compensation is because of the amount of damages these incidents can produce. Medical treatment and missed time from work both add up quickly. This is true for even simple bone breaks. However, when a fracture leads to infection, nerve damage, or other complications, the medical bills and lost income are worse.
Injuries like compound fractures pose a higher risk of infection and are more likely to require surgery to repair. We have represented many clients who have had to undergo open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) surgery to repair fractures. This is a procedure where surgeons repair a fracture site by securing it with screws and plates, or an intramedullary rod. Sometimes the hardware remains in the fracture site temporarily, and sometimes it is permanent.
Aside from surgery, bone fractures also accumulate bills for:
- emergency care
- lab tests
- X-rays and other imaging
- doctor visits and follow-up care
- braces and splints
- physical therapy, if needed
Contact a Chicago Bone Fracture Attorney Today
Our personal injury attorneys are ready to assist you with your broken bone injury claim. Our expertise and experience will ensure that you get the proper legal representation you need so that your claim is handled correctly, promptly, and with the best possible outcome.
As your attorneys, we will:
- Investigate the incident
- Obtain evidence
- Interview witnesses
- Collect medical records
- Establish liability of the at-fault party
- Prove lost wages
- Handle all communication with the insurance companies
- Negotiate a settlement on your behalf
- File a lawsuit and represent your interests in court, if necessary
The majority of broken bone injuries from motor vehicle accidents and slip and falls are caused by the negligence of others. That’s why you need your own personal injury lawyer to fight on your behalf and get you the compensation you need.
You never pay for our services unless we recover money for you. And our case evaluations are always free. Contact us today.
If you have sustained a fracture, request a Free Case Consultation online or call (312) 924-7575 to speak with a lawyer now.