While most people associate hip injuries with elderly people, the fact is that hip injuries can affect victims of all ages, especially when the injury is caused by a traumatic event like a car accident or slip and fall. When a person suffers catastrophic injury to their hip, it can affect their entire lives. Injury victims may incur tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt. Additionally, they may have to miss months of work, causing them to lose wages they would’ve otherwise received. Finally, there’s the possibility of life-altering debilitations such as limited mobility that will impact every part of a victim’s life.
The physical stress on your body caused by a hip injury, can be overwhelming to handle on your own. And that’s saying nothing about the mental stress from mounting medical expenses and lost income.
That’s why hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can help. If your hip injury was caused by someone’s negligence, Abels & Annes can help you to recover compensation for your damages. Contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Hip Injuries Can Have Lasting and Devastating Consequences
The bones and joints that make up the hip are one of the most important structures in the human body. We rely on our hips to walk, sit, and exercise. Basically, our hips help us with just about every daily mobility task.
Because our hips are so important to movement, a hip injury can severely disrupt our ability to do almost anything. They are also severely painful and take a long time to heal.
Hip injuries, like fractures or muscle tears, cannot easily be repaired. Because of this, the recovery period is often long and arduous. Hip injuries prevent people from working, socializing, and taking care of their homes and families. They also often require multiple, complicated surgeries, intense rehabilitation, and months of bed rest.
In worst case scenarios, a hip injury can become fatal. At-risk populations like the elderly are most prone to fatality due to a hip injury. When an elderly person or people with underlying conditions suffer hip injuries, post-surgical complications can follow. These complications include infection, pulmonary embolism, blood clot, and pneumonia.
If a hip injury victim dies because of someone’s negligence, those responsible may be held accountable through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Types of Hip Injuries
Hip injuries are most common in people who already have health issues, like osteoporosis. However, even a perfectly healthy hip can sustain serious damage when put through the intense physical strain of a traumatic incident. Some of the most common trauma-induced injuries to the hip include:
- Labral tear
On an annual basis, over 300,000 people are hospitalized for hip fractures. A hip fracture is characterized by a break to the top of the femur (thigh bone) or the pelvis. Though the femur is an extremely strong bone, it can break under excess pressure, such as by the force of a truck accident or a fall down stairs. Bruising, swelling, localized pain, and the inability to stand are telltale signs of a hip fracture. These injuries often require surgical repair or stabilization of the broken bones. In some cases, hip replacement surgery may be necessary.
All of the body’s major joints have fluid-filled sacs known as bursae. They are positioned between bones and soft tissues that act as cushions to reduce friction and facilitate movement. Bursitis develops when these sacs become inflamed in response to an injury. The pain and stiffness associated with bursitis can limit a person’s ability to move their hip. Bursitis of the hip is typically treated with anti-inflammatory medications, ice packs, steroid injections, and physical therapy. Severe cases may require surgery. Just like with other hip injuries, physical rehab and bed rest are often required.
The femur connects to the socket of the pelvis to form the hip joint. A dislocation happens when the femur separates from the pelvis due to extreme force or pressure. Dislocated hips are not just severely painful, but emergency treatment is necessary to treat the injury. If a dislocated hip is not treated within an appropriate time frame, the femur can die by not receiving the oxygen it needs. Treatment for dislocated hips usually requires patients to be placed under anesthesia while doctors pop the femur back into the socket.
The hip joint is surrounded by cartilage that strengthens and stabilizes the joint. Labral tears occur when this cartilage becomes damaged. This can occur when the hip joint is twisted beyond its natural limits during an accident. Labral tears cause stiffness, hip and groin pain, and a limited range of motion. A regiment of rest, medication, and rehab is needed to restore the range of motion and strengthen the joint.
Personal Injury Incidents that Cause Hip Injuries
Hip injuries often occur because of normal wear and tear over time or because of an underlying risk factor like age or osteoporosis. However, a hip injury can also be caused by trauma resulting from a car accident, slip and fall, or workplace injury.
Below are some of the most common causes of hip trauma.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents, such as auto accidents and truck accidents, easily generate enough force to damage a person’s hip. Injuries following a motor vehicle accident should be taken seriously, especially those related to the hip. Delaying treatment can cause further problems, not just medically but for an injury claim as well.
Motorcycle accidents are another major cause of hip injuries. If a vehicle slams into a rider, or if a motorcyclist is thrown from their bike during a collision, it can cause a serious fracture or dislocation. Motorcycle riders, unlike car passengers, have no way to protect themselves from hip injuries except to be especially cautious and to trust that drivers will do the same.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents
It is not hard to imagine a pedestrian or cyclist being susceptible to a hip injury. They have nothing to shield them from the force of a car accident. It takes roughly 4,000 newtons of force to break the femur. For reference, a compact car weighing a little under 3000 pounds traveling at 20 MPH exerts over 238,000 newtons of force when coming to a quick stop. This is what makes car collisions with bicyclists and pedestrians exceedingly dangerous.
Slips and Falls
Hip fractures are especially common after falls. Over 95% of hip fractures happen due to slip and fall and trip and fall accidents. Many of these injuries happen to the elderly. But it’s possible for a young and healthy person to also break their hip during a fall. This is especially true for falls from tall heights or falls down stairs.
Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
Up to 50% of elderly patients who sustain a hip fracture die within six months. Sadly, many of these incidents take place in nursing homes where these patients should be cared for and monitored. Nursing home residents often require special accommodations to move around so that they don’t fall. However, negligent staff, maintenance issues, and unfixed tripping hazards are all common causes of nursing home slip and falls. As the above statistic makes clear, we need to protect our most vulnerable citizens from injury since they are so often fatal.
Workplace or Construction Injury
Work-related hip injuries are most often caused by a fall, by being struck, or by a crushing incident. Because falls are a common cause of workplace hip injuries, older workers tend to be at greater risk. Falls, which can easily cause hip injuries, rank among the most common causes of injury to workers of any age in any kind of workplace.
Always Seek Immediate Medical Care After an Injury
After you are involved in a car accident or other personal injury incident, you should seek immediate medical attention. These types of traumatic events can cause a burst of adrenaline that easily mask the pain of an injury.
Here are some of the common symptoms that may indicate you have a hip injury:
- Severe pain in the hip or groin area
- Inability or difficulty moving the legs
- Difficulty bearing weight on your leg
- Bruising, swelling, or stiffness around your hip
- One of your legs is turned outward
- One of your legs feels shorter than the other
You may think that some of these symptoms are obvious or that anyone with a broken hip would know instantly. But shock and adrenaline mask pain as a coping mechanism.
If you are involved in an accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible to check the status of your body. Additionally, this will ensure that your injury is officially documented for a later injury claim.
Damages Incurred from a Traumatic Hip Injury
Treating and recovering from a hip injury is expensive. For example, the cost of hip replacement surgery ranges from $30,000 to $112,000. Recovery time can also be substantial. It can take up to three months to heal from a dislocation and up to a year to reach maximum recovery after a hip replacement.
All of these things cost money, which usually comes out of the pocket of the injury victim. However, if you were injured because of someone’s negligence or recklessness, you can seek compensation for your damages. These damages include medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other costs directly related to your injury.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Hip Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered a hip injury due to someone’s negligent acts, speak to an attorney at Abels & Annes.
We are committed to recovering maximum compensation for our clients so they can focus on recovery.
For a free consultation, call us at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.