Broken or fractured bones are some of the most common injuries in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident.
The power and high forces of an impact exerted on the body during an automobile accident can cause serious and life-threatening injures.
Many people call our office wanting to know the average settlement for a broken bone in a car accident.
What Causes Bones to Break or Fracture During an Automobile Accident?
The combination of sudden deceleration and forward propulsion of the body is capable of causing extensive damage during an accident especially if the body is thrown into contact with other objects and debris.
Speed is a major factor and contributes to the severity of the injuries that people suffer in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident.
Though bruising, muscle soreness or pain, and soft tissue injuries often occur during an automobile accident, broken bones and fractures are particularly common after a wreck.
What is the Difference Between a Fracture and a Break?
A fracture is any loss of continuity of the bone. It could be a tiny, hairline crack or a complete shattering of the bone.
Many people believe that a bone break is more serious than a fractured bone. This is not the case. Medically, the two terms can be used interchangeably.
However, it is not as common to not refer to a hairline crack as a break.
All fractures are classified as either simple or compound.
What is the difference between a simple fracture and a compound fracture?
A simple fracture occurs beneath the skin and does not result in any lacerations or protrusion of the bone from the flesh.
A compound fracture is when the bone exits the body at some point during the injury.
5 Most Common Injuries Caused by a Car, Truck, or Motorcycle Accident
1. Lower Extremity Fractures
The most commonly reported broken bones in auto accidents are lower extremity fractures.
Common lower extremity fractures include:
- Upper and Lower Leg Fractures
- Hip Fractures
- Pelvis Fractures
- Patella (Knee) Fractures
- Ankle Fractures
2. Upper Extremity Fractures
The second most commonly reported fractures are upper extremity fractures.
These injuries are often caused by the airbag deploying or when the arm hits a hard surface in the vehicle.
Similar to lower extremity fractures, treatment will depend on the location and severity of the injury. Surgery may be needed, or a cast may be required to be worn for an extended period of time.
Fractures of the upper extremities can take weeks or months to heal.
Depending on the location of the injury, long-term loss of functional use is not uncommon.
Some common upper extremity fractures are:
- Broken Arm
- Wrist Fractures
- Hand Fractures
- Broken Elbow
- Shoulder Fractures
- Broken Clavicle (Collarbone)
3. Facial And Jaw Fractures
The bones in the face are more delicate and can be easily broken in a motor vehicle accident.
Facial and jaw fractures commonly occur when the airbag deploys or when the face comes into contact with the dashboard, steering wheel, window, or the back of a seat.
These injuries may require fixation (e.g., wiring the jaw shut) or reconstructive surgery. Additional specialists such as an ear, nose, and throat specialist, an ophthalmologist, a plastic surgeon, or a neurosurgeon, may be necessary.
Recuperation depends on the location and severity of the fracture.
Some common facial fractures include:
- Broken Jaw
- Broken Nose Bridge
- Fractured Cheekbone(s)
- Fractured Orbital Socket(s)
4. Skull Fractures
Skull fractures are serious injuries that can be life-threatening.
Impacts with a dashboard, steering wheel, side window, or windshield can cause severe damage. (Hence why wearing a seatbelt is so important.)
Skull fractures require immediate medical treatment to prevent further tissue damage and life-saving surgery may be necessary to stop swelling or bleeding in the brain.
Fractures of the skull can result in traumatic brain injury (TBI), seizures, stroke, paralysis, or death.
This type of injury can also result in long-term or permanent medical impairments and personality changes that can be short-term, long-term, or permanent.
5. Spinal Fractures
Fractures to the spine occur when there is sudden deceleration and the spine is propelled forward.
Immediate medical care is necessary for spinal fractures.
Treatment of spinal fractures depends on the location and severity of the injury.
Even a very small fracture, bone chip, or bone spur can press on a nerve or deform a disc, causing excruciating pain.
If the damage to the spine is severe enough, fractures may cause temporary or permanent paralysis or death.
Fractures in the neck are also a result of spinal trauma and are common auto accident injuries that can result in paralysis or death. Recovery can vary by the severity and location of the injury, the age and health of the patient, and how well the patient responds to treatment.
Healing time can take several weeks to several months and physical therapy may be needed. Permanent damage or paralysis is not uncommon.
How Much is My Broken Bone or Compound Fracture Worth?
If you have been injured in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident and have suffered a fracture or broken bone, you know how expensive and painful the recovery process can be.
You may be experiencing long-term medical treatment that can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Especially if your break requires surgery and/or physical therapy.
Even when a broken bone doesn’t require extensive surgical procedures, it can still limit a person’s ability to work or do the things they use to enjoy until the fracture is fully healed.
Being out of work for weeks or months at a time is bad enough. And in some cases, a broken bone never fully heals, and patients must contend with a long-term disability and a lifetime of pain.
You are likely wondering how much a fractured bone is worth in a lawsuit or what a fair settlement for a broken bone would be.
Because each accident is different – different types of vehicles involved, different circumstances that led to the crash, different injuries, etc. – there is no set number for determining the amount of damages you will receive.
If your accident was caused by another person’s negligence, you are entitled to recover damages for the cost of your immediate medical treatment, any surgical procedures, long-term care, lost wages, out of pocket expenses, and pain and suffering.
How Can a Local Personal Injury Help Me With My Broken Bone Injury?
You may not be the type to hire a lawyer, but keep in mind, the insurance company isn’t on your side. They may lowball you with their offer and ask you to settle right away before you’ve even had a chance to get properly diagnosed. It is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney about your legal rights and options for recovering financial compensation.
An injury lawyer can help you analyze the details of your case and come up with an amount that you may be able to receive from a jury verdict. Only after you know this number, should an accident victim or their attorney begin negotiating for a fair settlement.
Keep in mind that the accident wasn’t your fault. If you've suffered a broken bone, there’s no shame in wanting your medical bills paid and your property replaced.
An experienced accident attorney will work with your doctors to get a full understanding of your injury and limitations.
During this difficult time you need someone who will listen, someone whose only interest is your best interest.