A fracture – or broken bone – is a common result of a car accident. Fractures have a wide range of severity, from an incomplete or “greenstick” fracture to a compound fracture, in which the bone punctures the skin, or a comminuted fracture, in which the bone shatters.
Broken bones can typically be set and, with immobilization, heal over several weeks. But bones do not heal as well as people age. A fracture can cause a permanent loss in an adult, particularly an elderly adult.
Serious fractures in a car accident can result in expensive medical bills and the need for rehabilitation therapy and assistive devices, as well as lost income and significant pain.
The car accident attorneys at the Ginarte law can help people obtain compensation to help them recover from fractures suffered in car crashes in New York and New Jersey. We can review the circumstances of a wreck and the broken bones it caused for free, and help you seek the compensation you deserve. We charge a fee for our services only if you win your case.
Broken Bones in NY / NJ Car Accidents
Bones will bend or “give” somewhat when an outside force is applied to them, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) says. But any of the body’s 206 bones will break if the physical force exerted upon it – from the impact of a car crash, for example – is stronger than the bone itself. A broken bone is called a “fracture.”
The various types of bone fractures include:
- Compound fracture or open fracture, in which the broken bone may pierce the skin. A blow that causes a fracture may also create an open wound. Compound fractures can lead to infection of the wound and of the broken bone.
- Comminuted fracture, in which the bone shatters into three or more pieces.
- Impacted or buckle fracture, in which the ends of the broken bones are driven into each other.
- Stable fracture, in which the broken ends of the bone line up almost in place.
- Greenstick fracture, an incomplete fracture in which the bone is bent. Most greenstick fractures are usually seen in children because their young bones are more flexible.
Common fractures in a car accident are a broken sternum (chest bone) and a broken rib or, more often, multiple broken ribs. Ribs are comparatively easy to break in an impact accident. A potentially deadly complication of a broken sternum or ribs is that the bones become displaced and their sharp ends pierce an internal organ, such as the heart, lungs or bowel.
Broken bones heal by “knitting” back together as new bone forms around the edge of the broken parts. This requires putting the broken bones back into position (called “reduction”) and preventing them from moving out of place until they are healed.
In most cases, a cast, splint or brace is used to immobilize the broken bone, and it heals over several weeks.
For more serious fractures, a surgeon may insert pins and screws to hold the patient’s broken bones together. Sometimes pins and screws are inserted into the bone above and below the fracture site and connected to a metal bar outside the skin to stabilize the bone until surgery can be performed. This is called “external fixation.” Once in surgery, a doctor may use rods or a plate and pins and screws to put a badly damaged bone back together so it can heal. This is known as “internal fixation.”
A patient with a severe fracture or multiple fractures may be placed into traction, which is a weighted system that slowly realigns broken bones.
While simple fractures may be expected to heal with no lasting consequences, as the severity of a fracture and the age of the victim increase, the expectations for recovery decrease. Broken bones do not heal well in older adults, and a senior citizen who suffers a broken leg or hip in a car accident may never walk again. At any age, multiple or complicated fractures will result in lengthy, painful and expensive recoveries that may not be complete.
Get Legal Help from Our NY / NJ Car Accident Lawyers
If a New Jersey or New York car accident has left you with a broken bone or multiple fractures, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and other losses. The car accident lawyers at the Ginarte firm have helped many NY / NJ metro area residents obtain the financial assistance they deserved after suffering fractures in car accidents that were not their fault. Find out how we can help you, too.