While the types of injuries that a person sustains in an accident vary greatly depending on the type of accident in question, there are certain kinds of injuries that are more common than others. Broken bones, for instance, are one of the most commonly sustained accident-related injuries. Often, these breaks take the form of a minor fracture and can be treated relatively easily. Other breaks, however, including compound fractures, take much longer to heal and often require the surgical implantation of rods and screws in the injured area.
These costs can quickly overwhelm a person’s finances, which can feel especially unfair to those whose accidents were the result of someone else’s negligence. Fortunately, accident victims who sustain these kinds of injuries are often able to recover compensation for medical bills and other related losses, so if you recently suffered a broken bone, or another kind of injury in an accident, you should speak with an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer about filing a claim against the person who caused your injuries.
Types of Broken Bones
While we may often think of a broken bone as a single type of injury, there are actually a number of different kinds of broken bones that a person can sustain, including:
- Stable fractures, which occur when a bone breaks cleanly;
- Oblique fractures, in which a bone breaks at an angle;
- Compound fractures, which occur when a piece of the broken bone actually pierces the skin;
- Transverse fractures, in which a bone breaks horizontally; and
- Comminuted fractures, which occur when a bone breaks into three or more pieces.
The severity of the break that a person sustains depends primarily on the amount of force involved in the accident. Extreme trauma from a serious car accident, like a head-on collision or t-bone crash, for instance, is more likely to cause a bone to shatter, while less severe impacts, like a minor slip and fall accident, may only result in a small hairline crack that is more easily treated.
Recovering Treatment-Related Costs
The kind of treatment that a person with a broken bone needs will largely be dictated by the kind of fracture that he or she suffered. Stable fractures, for instance, are typically the easiest to treat, with the bone knitting back together after a few weeks of immobilizing the injured area with a fiberglass or plaster cast. Less serious fractures can even be treated through the use of a brace, which still allows for limited movement. Compound and comminuted fractures, on the other hand, almost always require surgical intervention and the strengthening of the bone with rods and screws. The physical examinations, x-rays, and potential surgical fusing or implantation that these treatments entail can be expensive. Even after they have healed, serious breaks also often require months of physical therapy before an injured party can regain full mobility. Fortunately, those who can prove that someone else’s negligence caused their injury could recover compensation for these expenses.
Failing to Treat Broken Bones
Unlike other parts of the body, a broken bone, when treated correctly, can heal completely, allowing an accident victim to make a full recovery. If left untreated, however, the problem can get much worse, resulting in serious complications and significant pain and suffering. Unfortunately, diagnosing and treating broken bones is not only painful, but can also be expensive, which can be extremely burdensome for those who are recovering from an accident and are unable to work.
When a fracture occurs in a person’s bone, the bone itself separates, with a partial fracture involving a remaining connection between parts of the bone and a total fracture occurring when the bone splits completely. When treating a broken bone, a doctor will usually set the bone, so that the two sides can connect and heal. Eventually, new tissue will grow and new bone material will fill in the gap, resulting in a complete recovery. To ensure that this process is successful, certain conditions must be met, including:
- Stability, which means that the bones cannot be misaligned, as they will connect unevenly, affecting the structural integrity of the tissue;
- Blood supply, which must travel to the injury site to encourage new tissue growth and facilitate rapid healing; and
- Nutrients, such as calcium, which plays an important role in rebuilding strong bones.
Whether a person’s bone is set in a plaster cast, is lightly wrapped and rested, or is repaired surgically, these three conditions must be met before a bone can fully heal.
Nonunion and Delayed Union
When a broken bone is left untreated it can result in a nonunion, where the bone doesn’t heal at all. In these cases, a person can expect to continue experiencing swelling, tenderness, and severe pain in the affected area that worsens over time. Alternatively, a broken bone could experience a delayed union, which means that, while the bone does eventually heal, it takes much longer to do so and could result in complications down the road.
Complications with bone healing can occur for a number of reasons, but can often be linked to:
- Certain medications;
- Tobacco use;
- Diabetes; and
- Low vitamin D supply.
In other cases, a complication could arise because of a failure to provide proper treatment. This is known as medical malpractice and occurs much more often than most people realize.
Reach Out to Our Experienced Personal Injury Legal Team
If you suffered a broken bone in an accident, obtaining proper treatment right away is critical to successful healing. For help seeking coverage of your own broken bone-related medical bills from the negligent person who caused your own accident, please call the dedicated Miami broken bone lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP. You can reach a member of our legal team 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 305-371-2692.