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NYC Personal Injury Lawyer » New York Personal Injury Resources » Types of Injuries » Broken Bones
Broken or fractured bones are common injuries resulting from trauma. Most bone fractures heal in about a month and might only require you to miss a few days of work or take light duty for a few weeks.
But some broken bones require extensive treatment, including surgery and physical therapy. Broken facial bones can leave you permanently disfigured. Some broken bones might even require amputation if a doctor cannot repair them.
Here is some information about broken bones and how you can seek compensation for their effects.
A force that overcomes the structural strength of a bone can fracture it.
The force could come in many forms, including:
An object could impact your body or vice versa. The force imparted by the impact can snap a bone. For example, your face could strike the side window during a car accident, fracturing your cheekbone.
A constant force can press on a bone. The bone may fracture as the force exceeds the strength of the bone. For example, your hand might get caught in a machine during a workplace accident. The force of the machine could fracture or crush the bones in your hand.
Stress fractures result from a force that would not break the bone if it was only applied once. But repeated exposures to the stress wear out the bone and cause it to fracture.
Stress fractures can happen in a workplace where you perform the same action for several hours every day.
Bone fractures can happen in almost any accident. Some accidents have an increased risk of fractures, including:
A collision can cause your body to impact the side door, side window, steering wheel, dashboard, or center console. As a result, you could fracture bones in your arms, shoulders, head, and legs. The violence with which your body bends and twists can fracture vertebrae in your neck and back.
Even your car’s safety equipment can fracture bones. An impact with your seat belt and airbag could save your life. But the impact could also fracture your ribs, sternum, collarbone, and facial bones. The violence with which your airbag inflates can fracture the hands or fingers that were gripping the steering wheel during the crash.
Falls constitute the most common reason for emergency room visits. Whether you slip and fall or fall from a height, the impact with the ground can fracture your knee, hip, back, shoulder, or skull. If you try to use your arms to break your fall, you could fracture your hands, wrists, arms, and elbows.
You could also fracture a bone if you hit something as you fall. For example, if you fall from a roof in a construction accident, you could fracture a bone as you hit the ladder or scaffold.
When a vehicle hits your unprotected body in a pedestrian accident or bicycle accident, it could fracture a bone. Even if you do not fracture a bone in the initial collision, the impact with the pavement could result in a fracture.
Motorcycle accidents can cause broken bones in at least three ways. You could break a bone when a car strikes your motorcycle. You could break a bone when you hit the pavement. You could also break a bone as your motorcycle weighing 400 to 900 pounds falls on you.
Bones can break in different ways. The way a bone breaks can affect the treatment of the injury and its prognosis.
Some types of fractures include:
In a stable fracture, the broken sections of bone align. As a result, doctors do not need to set the fracture. Instead, they simply immobilize the broken bone with a cast. These fractures usually heal in six to eight weeks.
In a compound fracture, one end of the broken bone moves out of place and pierces the skin. Aside from cleaning and treating the open wound, doctors also need to realign the broken ends of the bone so the bone can heal.
Treatment usually requires surgery to clean the wound and set the bone. Doctors may also install screws and plates to stabilize the bone after realigning the broken ends.
Compound fractures often take more time to heal than simple fractures because both the bone and the surrounding soft tissue must heal.
In a comminuted fracture, the bone shatters into at least three pieces. This type of fracture almost always requires surgery to reconstruct the bone. Doctors use plates and screws to reassemble the pieces. If some of the pieces become lost or have suffered too much damage, doctors might use a bone graft to fill in the missing pieces.
Comminuted fractures take several months to heal. During that time, doctors monitor the broken bones to make sure the screws and plates do not loosen. If the bones do not align due to loose screws or plates, you might suffer permanent disability when the bone fails to heal correctly.
Most broken bones heal without complications. But some broken bones can lead to complications, such as:
The ends of the broken bone might sever or pinch nerves. After the bone heals, you might still have pain, numbness, or weakness in the area connected to those nerves.
Compound fractures can develop an infection due to the open wound. An infection can cause deterioration or even tissue death near the wound.
Swollen tissue can cut off blood circulation. If the area near a fracture swells too much, doctors might need to relieve the pressure to prevent tissue death.
Compensation from broken bones resulting from someone else’s negligence could be substantial. Your damages include your medical bills and lost income. A severe fracture might require surgery, immobilization, and physical therapy. As a result, you might miss substantial time from work or even need to change jobs.
Under New York’s no-fault insurance laws, a fracture qualifies as a “serious injury.” Car accident victims who sustain a fracture can file a lawsuit to seek damages covering their medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
To discuss the compensation you might seek for your broken bone, contact the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. Our NYC personal injury lawyer will review your case and help you explore your options moving forward.
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