Car accidents are a traumatic experience that can leave victims with a range of injuries. One of the most common and serious injuries resulting from auto accidents is bone fractures. Bone fractures occur when a force greater than the strength of the bone is applied, and the bone cannot withstand the pressure.
Fractures can occur in any bone in the body, but those in the arms, legs, and pelvis are the most prevalent as a result of auto accidents. In this article, we'll look at how bone fractures happen in car accidents, the types of fractures that occur, symptoms, and treatment options available.
How You Can Sustain Bone Fractures in Auto Accidents?
Bone fractures usually occur during an accident when a person's body collides with hard surfaces such as the door, dashboard, or steering wheel. The impact creates a force, which can cause the bone to split, crack, or shatter. Depending on the type of accident, fractures can also occur when the car overturns, especially if the victim is not wearing a seat belt. In such a case, the force of the collision could throw the victim from the vehicle, causing a bone injury.
Types of Bone Fractures
The most typical bone fracture resulting from an auto accident is the "closed fracture." This type of fracture results in a break in the bone, but the skin remains intact. Another common fracture that can result from an auto accident is an "open fracture" where a broken bone penetrates the skin. Additionally, a "hairline fracture" is where the bone has a tiny crack, and the "displaced fracture" occurs when the bone breaks into two or more pieces.
Arm and Hand Bone Breaks
During a car accident, your arms and hands may hit the dashboard or windows causing bones to break. In many instances, your hand or arm may suffer a bone break or fracture if you brace yourself or block the airbag. Some of the most common arm and hand bone breaks include wrist fractures, forearm fractures, and finger fractures.
Leg Bone Breaks
Legs are also prone to fractures in a car accident. The most commonly broken leg bones include the tibia, fibula, and femur. The tibia and fibula are the two bones found in the lower half of your leg.
These breaks can be the result of your leg being trapped between the seat and dashboard. Leg breaks can cause significant pain and may require surgery, especially if the bone has been shattered.
Pelvic & Hip Fractures
A pelvic bone break can occur during a car accident when a forceful impact is felt in the lower body. These breaks are often severe and can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, and you may require surgery to install screws or plates that can help with mobility.
Rib Cage & Upper Spine Bone Breaks
If you are in a severe car accident, your rib cage and upper spine can be impacted, causing breaks in these bones. Rib fractures should be taken very seriously as the bone can pierce your lungs. These breaks can be very painful and often require time and specialized treatment for full recovery.
Collarbone & Shoulder Blade Bone Breaks
In a car accident, the collarbone and shoulder blade can also fracture. This type of injury can be caused by your seatbelt as it tightens when your weight shifts forward during the collision. These breaks can cause severe pain, and if left untreated, can lead to limited mobility in the affected area.
What Does a Bone Fracture Feel Like?
When a bone is broken, the victim will experience pain and swelling around the affected area. A fracture can also result in a sharp or dull pain, and the victim may feel numbness, tingling, or the sensation of pins and needles. Depending on the type of break, the victim may not be able to move the affected area, and this can be an indication of a severe fracture.
If a victim suspects that they have suffered a bone fracture following an auto accident, it is crucial that they seek immediate medical attention. The doctor will likely order an X-ray or other diagnostic imaging tests to confirm the fracture. If the fracture is not identified and treated promptly, it could lead to further complications, like nerve damage, joint damage, or permanent disability.
Treatment for Bone Fractures
Treatment for bone fractures typically depends on the severity of the injury. Minor fractures may require the use of a splint or cast to immobilize the affected area and allow time for healing. More severe fractures may require surgery to realign the broken bone before setting in place. After surgery, the doctor may prescribe pain medication and physical therapy to promote healing and help restore mobility.
Can You Leave a Bone Fracture Untreated?
A bone fracture resulting from an auto accident can have a significant impact on a victim's life, and it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention to avoid any further complications. Leaving a bone fracture untreated can have serious consequences, particularly in the case of long bones.
According to medical experts, a nonunion or delayed union may occur, where the bone fails to heal or heals improperly, resulting in misalignment, visible deformities, and limited movement. In some cases, these issues could lead to long-term complications such as arthritis and weakness. Moreover, an untreated fracture can put the patient at risk of serious infections that can be hard to manage, especially if the wound is open.
Therefore, it is important to seek prompt medical care if a fracture is suspected. Physicians can assess the extent and location of the bone injury and recommend appropriate treatments, such as immobilization to support the affected limb or surgery to reset bones in the right position.
Pain management with prescription medication can also be provided to help alleviate the patient's discomfort. Ultimately, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is recommended to minimize the risk of complications associated with untreated fractures.
Here to Help Car Accident Victims Recover Damages
The Dickinson Law Firm has helped countless clients fight to receive the best possible broken bone car accident settlement. If you or a loved one have suffered a broken bone or fracture in an auto accident, our attorneys are equipped to help you handle negotiations or litigation.
Learn more about how we can help by calling (770) 924-8155.