Half of Americans will break a bone before they turn 65. Many of these broken bones will come from accidents at home, in the workplace, or on the roads.
In most cases, broken bones heal over six to eight weeks. But they can cause complications and have long-term effects on your health.
Because they are such common injuries, we’ve compiled some information about broken bones and the compensation you can seek for them. Read on to learn more about the most common causes of broken bones and what to do if you break bones in an accident.
How Do Broken Bones Happen?
A bone fractures when a force overcomes the bone’s inherent strength. Different bones can withstand different amounts of force before they fracture. Thinner bones have less material to resist a fracture.
Bones can also form minor fractures under repetitive stresses that are too small to fracture the bone completely. These stresses can cause small cracks to form in the bones.
Normally, rest helps your body repair these cracks. However, repetitive stresses can cause these cracks to propagate before your body can heal them.
Stress fractures often result from work-related tasks or repetitive motions like lifting, carrying, walking, and bending.
What Are The Different Types of Fractures?
Bones can fracture in many different ways, depending on the force applied to the bone. Some common fractures include:
A non-displaced fracture means that the broken ends of the bone remain aligned. Doctors can usually treat these fractures by immobilizing the bone. They usually will not need to surgically repair the fracture.
In a displaced fracture, the broken ends of the bone move out of alignment with each other. Since a displaced fracture will not heal or may heal crooked, doctors need to set the bone by realigning the broken ends.
Sometimes, they can move the bones back into alignment without surgery. But in some cases, doctors can only set the bones into their correct position by operating. If doctors need to operate, they will often secure the bone with screws and plates after realigning the broken ends.
A compound fracture is a displaced fracture where a broken end of the bone moves so far that it pierces the skin. As a result, compound fractures involve both a broken bone and an open wound.
As it displaces, it can tear muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and nerves. Doctors often operate to set the bone and repair the torn soft tissue.
A comminuted fracture happens when the bone shatters into at least three pieces. In most situations, the doctor must rebuild the bone from the bone fragments. If any bone fragments get lost, a doctor can use a bone graft to substitute for the missing piece.
If the doctors cannot rebuild the bone, they may consider amputation.
An avulsion fracture happens when a piece of bone breaks away from the rest of the bone. The most common avulsion fracture happens when you strain a tendon or sprain a ligament attached to the bone. The stress on the tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of bone.
Doctors may operate to repair an avulsion fracture. But if the piece of bone remains non-displaced, doctors may just immobilize the fracture so it can heal.
Stress fractures begin as cracks in the bone. Repeated stress on the bone causes the cracks to propagate, leading to a partial or complete fracture of the bone. In many cases, rest and immobilization will allow the cracks to heal.
What Are the Symptoms of Broken Bones?
In many situations, you can see that a bone has broken. The bone may look misshapen or bent.
You may also experience symptoms such as:
Doctors can diagnose a broken bone with an X-ray image. Even a stress fracture will show up on an X-ray as one or more cracks in the bone.
What Complications Can Arise from Broken Bones?
Most broken bones heal without any complications. But occasionally complications can arise, including:
Infection can happen with compound fractures or fractures that result from a penetrating injury. Bacteria enter the wound and multiply. If doctors do not treat the infection, it can spread to the blood, causing sepsis. It can also enter the bone, causing osteomyelitis.
Bones form a blood clot over the fracture to aid in healing. Sometimes, pieces of the blood clot break off and enter the bloodstream.
If the clot reaches the lungs, it can cause a pulmonary embolism. Clots that reach the heart can cause a heart attack. When a clot reaches the brain, it can cause a stroke. All of these conditions can cause death.
A fracture near a joint can cause bony growths in and near the joint. This can lead to arthritis in the joint.
What Are the Risk Factors for Broken Bones?
Some accidents have a higher risk of broken bones, including:
The forces involved in car accidents can easily fracture bones. Your seatbelt can fracture your ribs. The airbag or steering wheel can fracture facial bones. You could fracture your ankle if the engine gets pushed into the firewall.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
As you hit the pavement, the force of the impact can also fracture bones.
What Compensation Can I Seek for Broken Bones?
When you break a bone due to someone else’s negligence, you can seek compensation for your injury. This compensation should take into account your medical expenses and lost income.
When you suffer a displaced fracture or comminuted fracture, your doctors might need to operate one or more times to set the bone. As a result, you might have massive medical bills.
Your broken bones might also prevent you from working. Most bones take six to eight weeks to heal. After that, you might require weeks or months of physical therapy. As a result, you might not be able to work your normal hours or earn your normal pay for several months.
You can also seek non-economic damages for the ways your broken bones diminished your quality of life. Evidence of pain, mental suffering, loss of activities, and inconvenience can help you prove your non-economic damages.
Contact a Miami Injury Lawyer for Help
To discuss the compensation you can seek for your broken bones, contact Shaked Law Firm for a free consultation. Our Miami personal injury lawyers are standing by to discuss your claim.