Bones are not easily broken — they are flexible, to a degree. When they crack or break, it is usually due to some sort of extreme force, such as violent car wrecks, motorcycle accidents, tractor-trailer crashes, work injuries or gunshots.
Treating broken bones or bone fractures can be incredibly expensive. The injured body part or limb may require surgery, a cast, and physical therapy.
Our Atlanta personal injury lawyers have represented clients who have suffered broken legs from motorcycle accidents, fractured skulls in car accidents or endured a broken wrist caused by a work injury. They were in a great deal of pain, worried about how they were going to pay their medical bills, and frustrated because they were missing school or work.
Healing can take time. Get the facts about different types of bone breaks, treatment options, and what to do if your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence.
Types of Bone Fractures
Open vs. Closed
Closed (simple) fractures do not break through the skin. Open (compound) fractures do. The latter can be quite gruesome, has a higher risk of infection and complications, and will likely scar over after healing.
Partial vs. Complete
A partial break means the fracture does not go all the way through the bone. A complete break means the bone is broken into two or more pieces. These breaks can be horizontal, diagonal or vertical in some cases.
Displaced vs. Non-Displaced
When a broken bone still lines up together, it is non-displaced. If a piece of bone has moved, it is displaced (oblique).
Other types of broken bones include:
- Transverse fracture: the break runs straight across the bone
- Stress/hairline fracture: a small crack on the bone
- Greenstick fracture: the bone is slightly cracked and bends toward one side
- Comminuted fracture: bone is broken into three or more pieces
Other types include compression fractures (commonly affects the spine) and spiral fractures. An avulsion fracture is when a tendon or ligament tears off a piece of bone.
Broken Bone Symptoms
You may not realize a bone is fractured, especially after a traumatic accident. But after the shock and endorphins wear off, there are a few ways to tell something is wrong.
A non-obvious broken bone may be accompanied by a deep, intense aching or sharp pain. Other signs include bruising, stiffness, swelling, heat, weakness, dizziness or feeling chilly. You may have trouble using the affected body part or the notice the bone seems bent at an odd angle.
Most Common Broken Bone Injuries Caused By Crashes
These are the most common fractures suffered after a wreck or being hurt on the job:
- Motorcycle Accidents: fractured skull, neck injury, pelvic fracture, open fracture, broken leg
- Car Accidents: fractured skull, neck injury, spinal fractures, cracked sternum, and broken ribs
- Work Accidents: broken wrist, broken finger, fractured ankle, and foot fracture
Such injuries are devastating. The force of a car or large truck smashing into another vehicle or motorcycle subjects a person to tremendous shock, especially if the collision happens at high speeds.
Treatment for fractures can require extended hospital stays, leading to high medical costs, lost income, and potentially permanent disability.
Treating Broken Bones
Bone fractures are treated in three basic ways: setting the bone back into place, keeping the part from moving until it is healed, and managing the pain. Cast immobilization is a common way to prevent movement from stressing the bone.
Severe breaks, however, may require surgery. Rods, pins, screws, or plates could be used to hold the bones in place so that they heal correctly. These may or may not remain in place after you have healed — that call must be made by a doctor.
In rare cases, a system of pulleys and weights called a traction may have to be used to hold the affected body part in a specific position.
The natural healing process begins soon after injury. Swelling and blood clots start to form. A soft callus replaces the clots over the next few weeks as the bone begins regrowing. A cast is often needed to keep the callus in place so that it does not break.
If all goes well, the bone begins to return to its regular shape. The average recovery time takes 6-8 weeks.
But the recovery time can vary based on age, health, the type of break, and injured bone. It can sometimes take up to several years to fully recover depending on the severity of the injury.
It is therefore vital to follow a doctor’s instruction and rest the broken bone as much as possible. Physical therapy may be needed to strengthen weakened muscles and build confidence in using the affected body part once more.
The Cost of Broken Bone Injuries
Broken bones, especially if the injury is severe and requires surgery, can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Even staying just a few days in a hospital can ratchet up medical bills to jaw-dropping amounts.
Despite health insurance, you may be left with a huge bill that you cannot afford. What can you do?
If your injury was caused by another person’s negligence (drunk driver, distracted driver, an unsafe work environment, etc.), our law firm can fight to make sure the insurance company pays the maximum amount of money you deserve.
You should not have to pay for an injury you are not responsible for causing, especially if it results in long-term pain, mental anguish, disability, and lost wages.
We’ve helped countless Georgians injured in accidents and hurt on the job — check out our Case Results page to learn more.
Give Gary Martin Hays & Associates a call at (770) 934-8000 if you have suffered a broken bone or fracture as a result of a work accident, motorcycle crash or car wreck. We will protect your rights and get you the medical care and compensation you need to recover.