Bone Fracture From Car Accident | Lawyer NYC
When you’re in a car accident that causes broken bones, the last thing you’re thinking about is the technical terminology that describes your injuries. However, knowing those medical terms can be incredibly helpful – particularly if you want to take the person responsible for your injuries to court and attempt to recover damages. (This is true whether you have broken bones or any other injuries from a car crash.)
So what types of broken bones are most common?
All fractures can be extremely painful, but a comminuted fracture – one in which a bone is broken, splintered or crushed into several pieces – can require in-depth medical treatment. Because a comminuted fracture is often the result of a crush injury, such as those sustained in car accidents, you may need other types of medical treatment as well.
Greenstick fractures usually only occur in children, but they can occur in adults as well. When a bone breaks on one side but only bends on the other (and it doesn’t break all the way through), you’re looking at a greenstick fracture. Kids are most susceptible to these types of injuries because their bones are softer and more flexible than adults’ bones are.
When a bone breaks diagonally, doctors call it an oblique fracture; they’re fairly common in car accidents. They vary in severity, depending on how severe the trauma of the crash was and which bone is affected. They usually happen in bigger bones, such as those found in the legs and arms.
Spiral fractures, which are also called torsion fractures, are breaks that occur when a rotating force is applied along the bone’s axis. These types of fractures typically occur when the body is moving but one extremity is planted firmly in place, so they’re moderately common during car accidents.
Transverse Process Fracture
Transverse fractures occur in the spine, and then, they’re mostly in the thoracic spine – the upper and middle parts of the back. These fractures are usually only caused by extreme amounts of force, so they usually occur in conjunction with injuries to other bones, internal organs and, in some cases, the spinal cord itself.
Any of these fractures – comminuted, greenstick, oblique, spiral and transverse – can be simple fractures. When doctors say that you have a simple fracture, they simply mean that the bone is broken but the tissues surrounding it are not damaged.
Like simple fractures, traumatic fractures can encompass many other types of bone breaks. If a doctor uses the term traumatic fracture, he or she simply means that the bone broke because of a high-force impact or stress.
The only time a doctor will call a bone break a pathologic fracture is when your bone structure has already been weakened by osteoporosis, cancer, a bone disorder or other medical condition. Some people involved in car accidents suffer pathologic fractures after minor trauma, including the trauma caused by low-speed crashes, because their bones are naturally weaker than other people’s bones.
Ways to Medically Treat a Fracture
After typical first aid that first responders provide, which includes immobilizing the injured area and stopping or stemming the flow of blood, your doctor will decide on the best course of medical treatment for your bone fractures.
You may need external or internal fixation. External fixation includes casts, splints and other non-invasive treatments that will hold your bones in place. Internal fixation involves a doctor stabilizing your bones from the inside of your body.
Pins for Fractures
Pins are a type of internal fixation for bone fractures. Pins, which are actually types of wires, typically hold pieces of bone together when the fragments are too small for screws. They’re often removed after healing begins, but in some cases, they’re permanent.
Metal Plate for Fracture
Metal plates work the same way as splints work. Doctors typically attach them to your bones with screws. Sometimes they’re left in place after your bones have healed, but in some cases, doctors feel that it’s better to remove them.
Screws for Fracture
Screws are used more frequently than other types of internal fixation methods. Your doctor can use screws alone to hold your bones together, or he or she may elect to use them with plates, rods or nails. How long the screws remain in your body depends on your situation; sometimes they’re removed, and other times they’re permanent.
Delayed Union Fractures
Delayed union fractures are breaks that take longer than usual to heal. Because there are so many factors that influence the way a bone heals, including stability, blood supply and even nutrition, every person is different. However, if your doctor says that you have a delayed union fracture, he or she might need to come up with new treatment options to promote the healing process.
Nonunion fractures are broken bones that fail to heal at all. Most bones heal without any issues; new bone tissue forms and the pieces reconnect.
However, some broken bones don’t heal, even with the best treatments available. In cases such as these, doctors may have to do bone grafts (taking bone from another part of the body), allografts (taking bone from a donor) or grafts with substitute materials to create a “scaffold” for new bone tissue to grow on.
Doctors may also use internal or external fixation to help promote healing of a nonunion fracture.
A malunion fracture refers to a broken bone that heals but does so in the wrong way. It can happen after nearly any type of bone fracture, and it can result in pain, swelling, deformity or difficulty bearing weight.
You may need surgery to correct a malunion fracture; your doctor will be able to tell you what will work best in your situation.
Should You Call a Bone Fracture Lawyer in NYC?
If you’ve suffered one or more broken bones in a car accident, you could be entitled to damages from the person who was at fault. Call us at 1-800-VICTIM2 [800-842-8462].