A fracture is a break in a bone or cartilage. Broken bones may be caused by trauma (as in vehicle accidents) and may also be caused by bone diseases such as cancer and osteoporosis.
Broken bones are serious injuries, especially if multiple fractures are involved. A fracture is considered a medical emergency that calls for immediate medical attention.
Broken bones are also quite common; the average person has two in a lifetime.
Some breaks heal cleanly and completely, leaving the injured person “as good as new.” (However, there is no evidence to support the belief that a bone that breaks will be even stronger than before after it heals.)
Types of Broken Bones
Broken bones come in several varieties:
- A “greenstick” fracture is an incomplete fracture in which the bone is bent. This is most common in children.
- With a “non-displaced” fracture, the bone cracks either part way through or all the way through but is still in its proper alignment.
- With a “displaced” fracture, the bone breaks into two or more pieces and the pieces are not lined up (i.e., they’re displaced from each other).
- With a “comminuted” fracture, the bone is broken into many pieces.
- With a “closed” fracture, the bone does not break through the skin.
- With an “open” fracture (also called a “compound” fracture), the bone does break through the skin, although it may then recede inside the wound and not be visible through the skin.
- A “complete fracture” happens when the bone breaks all the way through, becoming two separate pieces.
- An “incomplete fracture” means that the bone is not broken all the way through.
If you’ve been in an accident, you may have broken bones and not even know it.
Some symptoms of broken bones include:
- Swelling or bruising over a bone
- Pain in the injured area that becomes worse when the area is moved or touched
- Deformity of an arm, leg, wrist, or ankle (it looks “out of alignment”)
- Loss of ability to use the limb
If you think you might have a broken bone, it’s highly advisable to have an x-ray to find out for sure. If left untreated, a broken bone injury can become much more serious.
Healing Broken Bone Injury
How long it takes broken bones to heal varies from person to person and depends on the severity of the injury.
Younger people often heal faster than older people, and a minor fracture in a child may heal in a few weeks.
A serious fracture suffered by an older person may take months to heal and may even be life threatening. Patients over age 50 have an increased risk of mortality following hip fractures, in particular, and this persists for years.
In women, the risk of death increases five times during the three months following a hip fracture. For men, the increase is eight fold. The risk stays at least twice as high as normal for 10 years following the injury.
Compensation for Broken Bones
Compensation for fractures depends on a number of considerations.
Unlike with soft tissue injuries, there can be no question about whether a fracture exists: it’s apparent from the x-rays. This type of evidence makes it easier to negotiate a settlement when liability for an accident is clear.
Damages for subjective injuries like pain and suffering may vary based on how much the fracture impedes a person’s usual lifestyle. An active weekend athlete who enjoyed biking, hiking, and skiing before an accident may be considered to “suffer” more from temporary immobility than a couch potato would.
If you’ve suffered a broken bone injury due to someone else’s negligence, the Thompson Law Firm can help you seek compensation.
We work on a contingency basis; we don’t get paid unless you get paid.
We invite you to read our success stories.
When you’re ready to move forward with your claim, please contact our office.