Car accidents are often sudden, unexpected, and unavoidable for victims, and broken bones are among a long list of injuries that may occur. While broken arms and legs are the most common in car accidents, the impact of a collision can fracture bones anywhere in the body. These injuries can result in excruciating pain, and they can also prevent the victim from returning to work and participating in many other everyday activities. Because these injuries can be so impactful, car accident victims who have received broken bone injuries may be able to file a claim against the other driver.
The first step in the process is to prove that the other driver was acting negligently in the moments leading up to the crash. Instances of driver negligence may include:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to use turn signals or other signaling problems
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving under a restricted license
- Drowsy driving
- Driving with disqualifying medical conditions
- Driving without corrective lenses, if needed
Claiming negligence can be a challenge, as many factors are difficult to identify—and even more difficult to prove. However, with the assistance of an experienced attorney, you may be able to defend your case and receive compensation for medical expenses and more.
Types of Broken Bone Injuries
Breakages and fractures can happen anywhere in the body and may range in severity. It is important to see a medical professional as quickly as possible after receiving your injury to understand its scope and begin a recovery plan. Car crash victims may experience bone breakage in the following ways:
- Tibia or fibula: When the car is crushed or a passenger’s legs were placed above the seat, he or she may receive broken bone injuries to the legs.
- Arm: A crash victim’s arms are extremely vulnerable to breakage. From holding on to a piece of the car that is suddenly jolted to shielding the face or head from receiving the brunt of the impact, the arm is a victim’s most accessible tool for protecting at-risk vitals.
- Ribs: The airbag, seatbelt, or other foreign objects may impact the ribs in a crash.
- Wrist and ankle: Both areas are relatively weak when compared with other joints and are susceptible to injury.
- Head: Colliding with the windshield, window or other hard structures may damage the skull.
- Back: Without a seatbelt, occupants of a vehicle may be thrown every which way in a car crash, damaging the back, the neck, and other body parts in the process.
- Hip: Jolting and forced contortions due to crushed materials or high-force impacts may cause damage to the hip, pelvic girdle, or lower spine.
- Toes and fingers: Similar to the wrists and ankles, these weak areas are relatively easy to break in a vehicle collision.
What to Do Before Help Arrives
If you experience symptoms that may indicate a broken bone, it is important to call 9-1-1 right away—both for your own safety and for the integrity of your claim later. Receiving treatment quickly and following your treatment plan diligently shows that you are committed to healing as efficiently as possible.
As you wait for help to arrive following your accident, the best thing you can do is to move as little as possible when it is safe to do so. If excessive bleeding occurs, elevate the affected area to minimize blood flow. Take deep breaths and stay calm until help arrives.
Identifying Your Broken Bone Injury
If you are worried that you may have broken a bone but aren’t certain, here are a few symptoms to look for:
- Deformity of the affected area: If your leg is contorted, it is likely that your bone is broken.
- Hindered functionality of a limb: In some cases, a break may prevent you from fully using the affected area.
In addition to the symptoms above, patients with broken bones may also experience:
- Severe pain
- Bone protrusions from skin
- Numbness or tingling
- Swelling and bruising near the affected area
A doctor can help you pinpoint your injury and receive treatment. To formally diagnose your condition and identify the location and severity of your injury, a doctor will likely wish to take X-rays of the affected area. In other cases, your doctor may also recommend a CT scan or an MRI scan. It is important to follow the doctor’s recommendations and pursue a timely recovery for the sake of your health, as well as your claim.
Broken bones can alter your lifestyle and prevent you from doing everyday things such as working, driving, exercising and more. Victims of driver negligence are entitled to compensation for medical bills and other damages when negligence can be proven. To speak with a personal injury attorney, contact Wayne Wright LLP today.