Since 1978, the car accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers have represented thousands of clients who have suffered the full spectrum of collision injuries, including broken bones. Whether you fracture a leg, arm, hand, or foot, crack a collarbone or sternum, or shatter a pelvis or spine, car accident broken bones can significantly hinder your ability to support yourself and your loved ones and enjoy a full, productive life.
If you have broken bones because of the actions of a negligent driver, contact the car accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers today. You may call our office at (312) 999-9999 or click here to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation with a knowledgeable injury attorney.
How Do Car Accidents Cause Broken Bones?
Car accidents can be catastrophic to the human body. Even the strongest person is no match for the impact produced by thousands of pounds of metal colliding at high speed. Flesh may bruise, tissue may tear, and very often bones may break. In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of accidental injury in general and broken bones in particular in the United States.
There are a number of ways a car accident victim can sustain a broken bone or fracture, including:
- Vehicle Ejections – A driver or passenger who does not wear a seatbelt can be expelled from a car or truck during a vehicular rollover or collision. The impact can cause major physical harm, including broken bones, road rash, organ damage, paralysis, and even death.
- Motorcycle and Bicycle Accidents – Riders frequently fall off or get thrown from their bikes in traffic accidents, causing them to break or even shatter their bones when they land or strike an obstacle.
- Collisions Within Vehicles – Motorists who try to shield themselves during a collision risk breaking bones in their hands, wrists, and arms when they come into contact with the steering wheel, the airbag, the dashboard, the windows, or anything else inside the vehicle.
- Pedestrian Accidents – Without any protective shields to blunt the force of a colliding automobile, a pedestrian is far more likely to suffer punishing injuries in a car accident, including broken bones.
- Head-On Collisions – The compounded speed of the vehicles in a head-on collision is much greater than in other types of crashes, thereby increasing the likelihood of a broken bone or other forms of bodily trauma.
- T-Bone Crashes – A T-bone crash heightens the risk of direct contact with the motorist seated near the point of impact, making fractures more likely to occur.
- Truck and Semi-Trailer Accidents – Because large trucks and semi-trailers can be forty times heavier than the average vehicle on the road, they can inflict extreme injuries like broken bones even at low speeds.
When these types of collisions are the result of someone else’s negligence, a capable car accident attorney might be able to obtain financial compensation for an innocent victim who has suffered a broken bone. If this applies to you, consider seeking advice from an injury lawyer who has successfully represented plaintiffs for car accident broken bones.
What Are the Most Common Car Accident Fractures?
Broken bones come in many forms. Some fractures can be minor and heal in a short period of time, while other breaks may be so complex that the victim requires surgery that involves the implantation of metal hardware to fixate the bones. Common fractures associated with car accidents include:
- Open Fractures – The snapping of the bone pierces the skin.
- Closed Fractures – The broken bone does not penetrate the skin.
- Displaced Fractures – The force of the fracture shifts the pieces of bone out of alignment, requiring elaborate surgical repair.
- Non-Displaced Fractures – The fractured pieces remain aligned with the bone.
- Comminuted Fractures – The bone fragments into three or more pieces, a break that can be very difficult to repair even with surgery.
- Compound Fractures – The broken bone protrudes through the skin, an extreme injury that increases the risk of contracting a dangerous infection.
- Traverse Fractures – The bone snaps in two under direct pressure, a fracture that typically occurs in the ankle.
- Stress Fractures – One side of a bone bends while the other side breaks.
- Buckle Breaks – The bone strains, bends, or ruptures without breaking; also known as a torus or incomplete fracture, a buckle break is often found in very young car accident victims with partially formed bones.
- Oblique Fractures – This break on the long diagonal axis of an arm or leg occurs when one bone in the limb twists while the other one becomes “trapped.”
- Avulsion Fractures – Tendons, ligaments, or other kinds of soft tissue separate from the bone, an incredibly painful break that often requires surgical intervention to correct associated complications.
- Distraction/Flexion Fractures – The spinal vertebrae experience “distraction” or “flexion” when they are pulled apart, a type of broken bone that most frequently happens in head-on collisions in which the victim’s upper torso, neck, and head are thrown forward while the seatbelt holds the pelvis in place.
- Hairline Fractures – This fracture takes the form of a small crack or partial break, often occurring without the victim’s knowledge; consequently, he or she may not receive necessary medical treatment right away, which may cause the broken bones to degrade over time, resulting in weakened bone tissue.
Car accident victims should receive diagnostic imaging as soon as possible in order to detect and accurately identify any fractures or internal injuries. Some broken bones may only require casting or setting to restore proper alignment, but other fractures may demand immediate surgical intervention under general anesthesia.
Surgeons might have to implant metal rods, plates, pins, and screws to hold the broken bones in place as they heal, a costly, highly invasive procedure often referred to as an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) surgery. The bills associated with an ORIF surgery can be beyond the financial reach of many households. For this reason, victims may decide to hire car accident attorneys to pursue legal action against the at-fault parties.
What Complications Can Develop from Broken Bones?
Any delay in receiving appropriate medical treatment after a car accident can significantly worsen broken bones, which may result in prolonged, sometimes permanent physical disability or impairment. In some cases, a fracture can lead to potentially deadly complications, including:
- Infection – When a broken bone pierces the skin, a victim may develop an infection of the bone (osteomyelitis) or the bloodstream (sepsis). Bone infections may also occur as a side effect of surgical fixation.
- Nonunion Recovery – This complication occurs when a bone fails to heal within the first six months of a break, leaving the pieces separated. There are two types of nonunion recovery complications:
- Hypertrophic Nonunion Recovery – Excessive callus formation causes a sclerotic condition on the ends of a broken bone that can appear as an “Elephant’s Foot” in diagnostic imaging.
- Atrophic Nonunion Recovery – This condition is caused by reabsorption, a process in which the ends of the broken bone become round because of increased mobility or an inadequate flow of blood at the affected location.
- Mal-Union Recovery – This is an angular deformity or problem with the rotational alignment that usually occurs in long bones like the femur and must be surgically repaired.
- Delayed Union Recovery – When the body does not have enough calcium formation to complete the healing process, the recovery time is delayed. This complication typically slows the rate at which broken bones heal but does not stop the process entirely.
Given the financial burden associated with long-term complications from car accident broken bones, it can be difficult for a patient to make ends meet without outside financial help. If the driver or party responsible for the accident is insured, a proficient injury attorney may help a victim obtain the compensation necessary to alleviate his or her economic distress.
How Much Is a Car Accident Involving Broken Bones Worth?
If an injured person does choose to retain a lawyer to pursue damages, how much money could the attorney obtain? While it is impossible to know in advance exactly what a car accident injury case might be worth, there are certain elements that lawyers typically consider when estimating the value of a claim, including:
- Legal Liability – The facts of the case must show that the defendant is responsible for the incident causing broken bones or other injuries.
- Insurance – How much coverage the defendant has available in his or her insurance policy will limit the amount of compensation that a victim could recover in most circumstances.
- Costs – Injuries that result in higher medical bills and expenses, such as complex fractures or displaced broken bones, might be worth more, provided that the treatment is found to be reasonable and necessary.
- Wage Loss – If a plaintiff is unable to work because of his or her injuries, that wage loss could be reflected in the final settlement or verdict if a physician ordered the plaintiff off work.
- Injury Permanency – Injuries that will continue to hinder the victim’s quality of life on a permanent basis, such as fractures with non-union complications, might merit greater compensation than broken bones or other injuries that fully heal.
Only when all of these factors are considered can an attorney, insurance company, judge, or jury calculate the total value of a car accident case. Therefore, any plaintiff seeking compensation would need to complete treatment or reach maximum medical improvement before the worth of a claim can be properly assessed. This applies to cases involving car accident broken bones as well.
The victim’s lawyer would need to establish the defendant driver’s liability, and the final amount of financial recovery would typically be limited by the available insurance coverage. Assuming that attorneys prove liability and the insurance policy limits are adequate, car accident cases with fractures could have a higher value than other types of claims depending upon the nature and extent of the broken bones.
Complex breaks that necessitate extensive surgical intervention, such as displaced, comminuted fractures, would generate significantly higher medical bills than broken bones that can be repaired without surgery. Even with surgery, fracture patients typically require physical therapy and the use of assistive devices before they reach maximum medical improvement, all of which could significantly add to the expenses associated with car accident broken bones.
Additionally, patients recovering from fractures may also find themselves unable to work while their bones heal, which could further increase their economic losses. Even with a full course of treatment, some victims may never fully recover from their broken bones, leading to a permanent reduction in their quality of life.
Can a Car Accident Fracture Victim Be Compensated for Pain and Suffering?
An effective car accident injury attorney must work to ensure that any verdict or settlement for a victim with broken bones reflects the full totality of his or her damages – both economic and non-economic. A leading form of non-economic damages for which a plaintiff’s lawyer could obtain compensation is pain and suffering.
Under Illinois law, there are no limits on how much an injury victim may receive for pain and suffering. While other states sometimes curb this type of compensation, the Illinois Supreme Court has found such caps to be unconstitutional – with certain exceptions.
In cases involving claims against the state, injured parties and their lawyers may not seek damages greater than $2 million. The “modified comparative negligence” rule in Illinois also bars any recovery if a plaintiff is more than 50 percent responsible for the injury. When recovery is not prohibited outright, the damages may be diminished in proportion to the amount of fault that may be attributed to the plaintiff.
In all other cases, a jury, insurance adjuster, or attorney may consider multiple relevant factors when evaluating non-economic damages in a car accident, including pain and suffering caused by broken bones.
How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you sustain broken bones in a car accident and you want to hire an attorney to help you obtain compensation, there will be no cost to you up front to do so. At GWC Injury Lawyers, our car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. That means we will only receive payment when we obtain a positive outcome on your behalf.
This payment typically comes in the form of a percentage of your verdict or settlement, along with reimbursement for our expenses, which incentivizes GWC’s car accident attorneys to get you the most money possible for losses such as broken bones because the more you get paid, the more we get paid. This mutually beneficial arrangement also spares you any additional worries or expenses at a time when you may least be able to afford them so that you can focus on what is most important – recovering from your injuries.
Contact Our Skilled Car Accident Attorneys Today
You will need to build the strongest case possible when you suffer broken bones in a car accident if you want to receive full compensation for your injuries. To help build that case, reach out to the skilled car accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers.
With more than $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the leading Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. Our tenacious attorneys will not give up until we get you and your family the justice you deserve for injuries like broken bones.
For a free consultation with a dedicated car accident lawyer, please call our office at (312) 999-9999 or fill out our contact form.