8,730. That’s the number of people who died in car accidents in the first three months of 2021. If this trend continues, close to 35,000 lives could be lost by the end of 2021. The numbers are staggering and the reality, a grim one. At Zirkin and Schmerling Law, our team of Maryland Broken Bone Injury Lawyers help you heal from the trauma of a car accident by getting you the compensation you justly deserve.
With over 200 bones in the human body, the chance of bone breakage in a car accident is extremely high. From head-on collisions to rear-end wrecks, side-impact collisions to single-car crashes, or even to pedestrian accidents, the types of car accidents typical on Maryland roads are as numerous and dangerous, especially to the bones in our bodies.
Let’s not let 2021 end as darkly as it began. Let’s take back post-accident life, one healed bone and personal injury case at a time. Read on to learn how.
Circumstances Leading to Broken Bones
Not all car crashes will lead to broken bones. It takes a specific set of circumstances to cause breakage and some of the many different types of bone fractures. Among these circumstances lie two constants: speed and force. Car collisions at high speeds often result in broken bones because the impact causes more damage to both the car and the body. Similarly, the strength of force behind a car crash is a contributing factor. If your compact car is hit by a semi-truck, the force is more severe, leading to more severe injuries, and the likelihood of suffering a broken bone.
Here are some common car-crash scenarios where speed and force are likely to cause broken bones:
- Car Ejection: People who are thrown from a vehicle, likely due to not wearing a seatbelt, will sustain serious breakage when their bodies hit the ground or other surrounding objects.
- Car Blows: People inside the vehicle when a high-speed crash occurs are at risk of hitting an object within the car itself. Serious blows to the body can occur from airbags, steering wheels, and dashboards, resulting in broken bones.
- Car Crushes: When a larger vehicle (both in size and weight) strikes a smaller vehicle, parts of the car are often crushed, leaving the occupants to suffer a similar fate: crushed bones.
- Car Rolls: When speed and force are both present, cars often roll, flipping many times on the road. The victims within the car are often thrust around the car’s interior, their bodies rolling in the same way the car does. This can lead to multiple broken bones and fractures.
All of these scenarios sound familiar because they are pervasive on the highways and interstates we drive daily. The ensuing injuries from such accidents are severe and often warrant expensive medical care.
Types of Broken Bones
From bones that break under the skin to bones that break through the skin, bones that break horizontally to bones that break diagonally, bones that shatter in multiple pieces to bones that break only partially, the ways in which a bone can break are many.
Similarly, the types of broken bones are equally as varied. Here is a list of the different kinds of broken bones that often result from a car accident:
- Arm and Wrist Fractures: People often brace themselves for impact using their arms and hands. In the event of a speedy and forceful car crash, the wrist often snaps back, leading to a fracture of the radius bone, and the arm bones often dislocate or fragment.
- Leg Fractures: When a car is crushed, it often results in the driver’s legs becoming trapped under the car debris. The tibia (or shinbone) is often the bone to break under such pressure, which can affect the nerves and surrounding blood vessels in the leg.
- Clavicle Fractures: Considered a delicate bone in the body, the clavicle (or collarbone) is particularly susceptible to breakage when a car accident victim lands hard on his or her shoulder.
- Hip and Pelvic Fractures: Ejection accidents, often with motorcyclists, are known to cause pelvic fractures because of the force at which the hip hits a hard surface. This is a complicated break because the pelvis rings can break in multiple places and the organs under the pelvic bone can become damaged from the break.
- Spinal Fractures: The bones of the spine are considered the most serious to break in a car accident because of the risk of paralysis. The 33 bones that make up the spine all protect the spinal cord. Should any one of those bones break in such a way that impacts the spinal cord, permanent paralysis is likely to follow.
- Broken Ribs: One of the most common types of bones to break in a car accident, ribs protect the lungs and other surrounding organs in the body. When a seatbelt, airbag, or steering wheel forcefully jams into the ribs, a break, particularly in the more flexible lower ribs, will occur. This can be life-threatening if the rib bone fragment pierces a vital organ or the aorta artery.
- Facile Fractures: Facial bones are extremely fragile, which means if a person’s face hits a steering wheel, dashboard, or window, the face is at a huge risk for severe damage. The cheekbones, nose, jaw, orbital socket, and even teeth will often break in a serious car accident.
Surviving a car accident is only one part of the post-accident equation. You must be proactive in receiving medical aid should you suspect a broken bone. Your life could depend on it.
Signs of Broken Bones
The moments after a car accident are chaotic and adrenaline-filled. You may not even realize you have a broken bone in the post-trauma haze of the scene. Here are some typical signs that you have a broken bone:
- acute pain in the bone area, particularly when touched or used
- the appearance of the area is contorted or abnormal-looking
- rapid swelling or bruising
- the area is difficult to move, often paired with numbness
Aside from the physical manifestations of a fracture, you may also experience side effects of shock, which often result from a particularly serious broken bone. These side effects include nausea, dizziness, vomiting, or chills.
Understanding the signs of a broken bone can help you get the medical treatment you need right at the moment when you need it the most.
Treatment of Broken Bones
Once you self-diagnose a broken bone, you should go to the nearest hospital to receive a professional examination. Doctors will take x-rays and other such scans to ascertain the severity of the broken bone and to determine the best treatment plan. Most plans usually involve 6-8 weeks of recovery.
Here are the different methods doctors use to re-set a broken bone:
- Splints: Minor fractures are treated with splints, which are often called half-casts because they offer about half the support of a cast. These are easier and more efficient to use in the recovery process.
- Casts: Some casts, like plaster or fiberglass, will make it so you cannot move the broken area at all, so bones have an opportunity to heal without the risk of added injury. Other casts will allow movement, albeit constrained; these are called functional casts. Which type of cast you receive depends on the type of break, how severe it is, and where it is located.
- Traction: When a bone needs to be realigned, doctors will use a method called traction to restabilize the bone, so it can heal properly. Using ropes, pulleys, or weights, doctors will gently and slowly pull the bone back into its appropriate position.
- Surgery: Some broken bones even require surgery. The first type of surgery is called internal fixation; this is when the surgeon will place screws or rods under the skin to affix bone fragments to their normal position. The other type of surgery is called external fixation; this is when a metal bar outside of the skin connects to metal pins inside the fracture so that the bones are held steadily in place during the healing process.
- Physical Therapy: Car crash victims with more severe broken bone injuries may need ongoing physical therapy after the bones are set and healed. This is to help the bone reestablish a normal range of movement, flexibility, and strength.
Once your bones have started the recovery process, you must also embark on another similar journey. This one is meant to recover the damages lost during your healing process, payment for your medical bills, and alleviate the emotional trauma of your car accident. It’s important to contact experienced personal injury lawyers to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Compensation for Broken Bones in Maryland
The expenses for post-accident care can add up and you should not be responsible for paying them. The person who caused your car crash is responsible to cover them. Here are the common types of expenses for which you can and should seek compensation:
- Future or ongoing medical treatment bills, including any nursing care, surgery, or medical device expenses
- Lost wages due to missing work or to being permanently unable to do your job
- The emotional distress and suffering the accident caused
At Zirkin & Schmerling, our personal injury attorneys understand the many different layers of compensation and seek to get our clients all of them. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, particularly one causing broken bones, do not hesitate to contact us today. Our free consultations will provide helpful legal advice on the best steps forward after one of your worst experiences. Let our law firm help you recover, in all facets of the word. We are just one phone call away.