A car accident may be a minor fender bender in which no one is injured and both cars are driven away from the scene, or a catastrophic crash in which a driver or passenger is killed. Of course, most car accidents fall into the wide range between those two extremes. Sometimes, an accident that is considered less serious—one that doesn’t result in any fatalities, traumatic brain injuries, serious spinal injuries, or other life-altering damage—can still have a significant impact on the injured person’s life.
One example of this type of mid-range accident that is nonetheless serious for the victim is a crash that results in broken bones.
California Car Accident Fractures
Which Type of Fracture is Most Likely to Occur in a Car Accident?
Bones can be broken in many different ways in a car accident, but some of the most commonly broken bones tend to occur in certain ways. For example, skull fractures may occur in a car accident when the injured party is not restrained by a seat belt and his or her head is slammed into the windshield or the roof of the vehicle. Spinal fractures often occur in higher-speed rear-end collisions which jolt the victim in a manner that can snap the spine. Broken arms and wrists frequently occur when a driver or passenger instinctively thrusts an arm outward to brace himself or herself during a car crash.
Most Commonly Broken Bones in Los Angeles Car Accidents
Of course, the bones most likely to be fractured in a car accident depend on a variety of factors, including the angle from which the vehicle is hit, whether or not the injured party was wearing a seatbelt, where in the car he or she was seated, and the speed at which the vehicles were traveling.
However, some of the most common car-accident-related fractures include:
• Broken legs
• Broken arms
• Broken wrists
• Skull fractures
• Spinal fractures
• Broken clavicles
Types of Fractures in California Car Accidents
The seriousness of a broken bone varies. In part, the seriousness of a fracture injury depends on the bone that is broken. However, there are different types of fractures, and some are more severe than others. For example, a stable fracture involves a break with little or no shifting of the bone. The bone lines up precisely, or very nearly precisely, as it should, with just a tiny separation. This type of fracture generally won’t require extensive treatment, and will often heal fairly quickly and without lasting impact.
On the other hand, more serious breaks may require re-setting the placement of the bone, or even surgical intervention to installs screws or plates. This type of injury will generally be more painful, take longer to heal, and be more likely to leave the accident victim with lasting limitations or lingering pain. In particularly serious cases, the bone may actually protrude through the skin. This is known as a compound fracture, and is generally considered the most serious and dangerous of broken bones. In addition to the break itself involving serious displacement, the breaking of the skin leaves the accident victim susceptible to infection.
Seeking for Car Accident Fractures in Los Angeles County
After a car accident, shock can mask pain that would otherwise serve as a warning signal. In addition, most people reasonably consider it normal to feel some aches, pain, and stiffness shortly after a car accident. Thus, minor breaks may not be identified promptly. If you have any doubt about an injury after a car accident, it is best to seek medical evaluation as soon as possible. An examination or simple x-ray may reveal a fracture that might otherwise have gone unnoticed until the problem was seriously aggravated.
Some signals that you may have broken a bone in a car accident include:
• Bruising and swelling
• Difficulty in moving a limb or extremity
• Unusual bending or placement
• Inability to put weight on the affected body part
When you are aware that you have fractured a bone in an automobile accident or are diagnosed with a fracture, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and complete all recommended care and physical therapy. Cutting corners may transform a treatable injury into one that causes long-term problems, such as:
• Bone deformity
• Chronic pain
• Nerve damage
• Damage to muscles and ligaments
In addition to aggravating the injury and perhaps creating chronic problems with the affected area, failure to pursue medical care or follow your doctor’s instructions can interfere with your right to recover damages for your injuries.
Car Accident Settlements for Broken Bones
When you are injured in a car accident and pursue damages, you must establish that a third party was responsible for your injuries. Most commonly, the third party will be the driver who hit you or otherwise triggered the accident, and liability will be established by proving that the driver was negligent. In other cases, the standard may differ. For example, if the car accident was caused by a defective vehicle, your cause of action will be a product liability claim, and it will not be necessary to establish negligence.
Once you have established that someone else was legally responsible for your accident, you must also prove the nature and extent of your damages, and that the other party caused those damages. While it may seem straightforward to establish that a negligent driver who hit your car and broke your leg is responsible for damages associated with that break, failure to pursue appropriate care can break that chain of causation. The defendant may argue that your injury would have been less severe—perhaps would have healed in a few weeks or months rather than becoming permanent—if only you had followed your doctor’s orders.
To protect both your physical health and your legal rights, it is important that you take fracture injuries seriously and get the medical care you need.
Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney for Broken Bones
While seeking medical assistance should be first and foremost after an injury, securing the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney also plays an important role in your recovery. The sooner you put your car accident claim in the hands of a trusted advocate, the sooner you can shift your focus to your recovery and move forward with your life.