The medical term for a broken bone is a fracture. Approximately 6.3 million broken bone injuries are treated in the US every year and the average individual will suffer two fractures during a lifetime. The severity of a broken bone injury depends on the location and fracture type. The emergency room physician or your doctor will diagnose a fracture with a physical examination and through X-ray diagnostics. The aftermath of a broken bone injury resulting from a negligent act is often a very difficult time, it is important to know your legal rights to recover the compensation you deserve.
If you have suffered a broken bone injury as a result of a vehicle accident, auto/pedestrian accident, workplace accident or were the victim of a vicious assault, you need a legal advocate to help deal with law enforcement and insurance companies so you have time to focus on healing and moving forward with your life. Your fracture may entitle you to economic damages to cover expenses incurred from the accident and non-economic damages for the harmful effect your broken bone injury has caused including the disruption to your quality of life, for any amount of time.
There are several fracture categories and subcategories that help identify the severity of a broken bone. The force of the impact that caused the injury is an important variable; if the bone’s breaking point is only slightly exceeded it may result in a crack and maximum force at impact may cause the bone to shatter. The four main fracture categories are:
- Displaced Fracture – This category type refers to the alignment of the broken bone. A displaced fracture means the bone has snapped in two or more places and do not line up.
- Non-Displaced Fracture – Also referring to the alignment, a non-displaced fracture is a crack or break that maintains alignment.
- Closed Fracture – This type of fracture describes a break injury that does not puncture through the skin.
- Open Fracture – An open fracture breaks through the skin; many times the bone will recede back into the wound. Open fracture injuries pose a very serious risk of deep bone infection.
The more descriptive subcategory types are:
- Stress Fracture – Also known as a hairline fracture, this type of injury is a very fine fracture where the break does not go all the way through the bone.
- Buckle Fracture – Also called a torus fracture, a buckle fracture is defined by compression of one side of the bony cortex while the other side remains intact.
- Greenstick Fracture – A greenstick fracture is similar to a buckle fracture but both sides of the body cortex are compressed into each other.
- Stable Fracture – A stable fracture, also known as a non-displaced fracture, is a broken bone that is still aligned. This type of break usually has no complications and can easily be set back into place.
- Traverse Fracture – The description of a traverse fracture is when the break or fracture line runs perpendicular to the shaft of the bone.
- Oblique Fracture – A fracture occurring at an angle through the bone is known as an oblique fracture. This type of injury happens when a force impacts the bone at any angle besides a right angle.
- Compound Fracture – A compound fracture is a severe injury where the bone or bone fragments are exposed through an open wound in the skin.
- Comminuted Fracture – Comminuted fractures occur as a result of an extreme, high-impact force that causes the bone to break or splinter into two or more fragments.
Broken Bone Treatment and Recovery
The main rule for fracture treatment is to realign the broken bones and make sure they remain in position (called reduction) until they are fully healed. Once the bone is lined up and immobilized, the ends of the bone will begin ‘knitting’ itself back together forming new bone between the two separated pieces. Depending on the location, type of fracture and its severity, your doctor will determine the type of treatment necessary to make sure the fracture heals properly. There are a variety of treatment options for broken bones:
- Functional Brace or Cast – The functional brace or cast is an option that will allow limited movement and keep the fractured area stabilized.
- Cast Immobilization – The most common type of treatment for a fracture is a plaster or fiberglass cast to keep the fracture aligned while it heals.
- Traction – When bones cannot be easily aligned, traction uses a gentle pulling action to realign the fracture.
Recovery from a broken bone will take several weeks to several months to completely heal. Your pain will subside long before the fracture is fully healed, it is important to follow-through with your treatment plan until the new bone is solid enough for the stresses of everyday activities. After your cast is removed, you may be advised to limit activities to prevent a re-break in the same place. Loss of muscle strength is a common side effect caused by inactivity, developing a focused exercise routine will help to restore flexibility, muscle strength and joint movement.
Contact an Experienced Broken Bone Injury Attorney
When you are faced with a fracture injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is very important to take action and contact an experienced, qualified personal injury attorney to protect your best interests. We will prepare the necessary legal action to fight for the compensation you deserve, call Johnson Attorneys Group at 1-800-208-3538 for a free case evaluation. Learn more about clients we’ve helped by viewing our case results.