What Do I Need To Know About My Bone Fracture Accident?
What's A Bone Fracture?
When you break a bone, doctors call it a bone fracture. The break changes the shape of the bone. A fracture can crack a bone or break it into two or more pieces. 1
Why Do Bones Break In An Auto Accident Or Slip And Fall?
Although bones are very strong, they can still break. Most often, bone breaks happen because the bone runs into a stronger force, like your body getting thrown forward in a car accident. 2 A bone can break when it gets crushed, like when a motorcycle falls on top if its rider after a crash. And a bone can break when it can't withstand the force it is subjected to, such as when you brace right before a crash.
What Are The Types Of Bone Fractures?
Fractures are usually categorized by their features, such as 3:
- Closed fractures: If the injury doesn't break open the skin, it's called a closed fracture.
- Open fractures: If the skin opens, it's called an open fracture or compound fracture.
- Complete fractures: The break goes completely through the bone, separating it in two.
- Displaced fractures: A gap forms where the bone breaks. Often, this injury requires surgery to fix.
- Partial fractures: The break doesn't go all the way through the bone.
- Stress fractures: The bone gets a crack in it, which is sometimes tough to find with imaging.
Extra Terms About Bone Fractures
A doctor may add extra terms to describe partial, complete, open and closed fractures, including 4:
- Avulsion: A tendon or ligament pulls part of the bone off. Ligaments connect bones to other bones, while tendons anchor muscles to bones.
- Comminuted: The bone shatters into several different pieces.
- Compression: The bone gets crushed or flattened.
- Greenstick: The bone bends but does not completely break. More common in the developing and flexible bones of kids and teenagers.
- Impacted: Bones get driven together.
- Oblique: The break goes diagonally across the bone.
- Segmental: One bone breaks in two places, causing a "floating" bone which is not attached to any other bone.
- Spiral: The fracture spirals around the bone.
- Transverse: The break goes in a straight line across the bone.
Broken Bones Can Predict Whether You'll Get Sepsis
Did you know that certain types of fractures can even be early predictors of whether you will develop sepsis?
Which Bones Can Break In Car Accidents Or Slip And Falls?
When it comes to broken bones from a vehicle accident, this can include multiple breaks of one bone, or more than one bone can break. Broken bones can require surgery to fix. Head to toe, here are some of the bones that commonly break in an auto accident, bicycle accident, motorcycle accident, tractor-trailer (big truck) accident, pedestrian accident, or slip and fall.
- Skull Fracture: This can occur if a person's head hits the windshield because they weren't wearing a seatbelt. The skull can also get fractured if a motorcyclist is thrown off their bike during a crash or when a pedestrian is catapulted into the air.
- Facial fracture: This can happen when the airbag deploys or if a seatbelt is not worn during an auto accident. One of the smallest bones of our body is the bone between the eye sockets is called the lacrimal bone. It is the most fragile bone on the face.
- Neck (cervical) fracture: In a car crash, the forceful and fast, back-and-forth movement of the neck, can pull the vertebrae apart. This can result in a cervical dislocation or a cervical fracture. A cervical fracture is an extremely serious injury-causing tremendous and immediate pain.
- Collarbone (clavicle) fracture: The clavicle is right below the skin. It is skinny and fragile, so it can easily break during a crash. When the clavicle bone breaks, it can impact your ability to move your arms.
- Wrist Fracture: Bracing for a crash can cause a wrist fracture. The wrist has a lot of very tiny bones which are vulnerable to breaking.
- Hand Fracture: Many hand fractures happen when someone starts to fall and instinctively puts one or more of their hands out to try and brace the fall. Fingers and palms on one or both hands can end up getting broken.
- Arm Fracture: Like wrist fractures, arm fractures can happen when a driver grips the steering wheel getting ready for the crash, or a passenger pushes on the dashboard.
- Back (thoracic and/or lumbar) fracture: Any of the bones in the back can break during an accident. Typical crashes that result in back fractures are rear-enders, head-on collisions, and roll-overs.
- Rib Fractures: We have 12 pairs of ribs, 24 ribs in total. In a car crash, ribs can break when the seatbelt activates or the airbag deploys.
- Hip Fracture: A hip fracture is always a very serious injury and most people cannot walk afterward. Slamming on your brakes right before a crash can cause a hip fracture.
- Pelvis Fracture: Pelvic fractures are not uncommon in motorcycle crashes when a rider's body is thrown off their bike.
- Thighbone Fracture (femur): Even though it's the strongest bone we have, it can still break in a high-speed crash.
- Kneecap Fracture: A broken kneecap can be caused by a direct blow to the front of the knee, like an auto accident or slip and fall.
- Lower Leg Fractures (tibia/fibula): The shinbone (tibia) is the bigger lower leg bone. The fibula is the narrower outside lower leg bone that ends at the ankle. The lower leg bones can break in a roll-over or if the engine compartment gets pushed into the area where the driver and front passenger sit.
- Ankle Fracture: Around 3 out of every 4 car crash ankle fractures occur in frontal car crashes.
- Heel (calcaneus) Fracture: The heel bone is so strong that it usually only breaks in an extremely high-impact crash. Surgery may be required to fuse the heel bone back together.
- Toe Fracture: There are 19 vulnerable bones in each foot. They can fracture in when slamming on the brakes, or when the engine compartment gets pushed into the seating area of a vehicle. Toe bones are slow to heal.
Which Complications Can Result From A Fracture?
Bone does not heal right
- When a broken bone does not heal right, this may cause a deformity.
- When a broken bone does not grow back together, it's called a nonunion.
- When a broken bone heals very slowly, this is called a delayed union.
- If a broken bone grows back in the wrong position, it's called a malunion.
- If a doctor has to go back in and try to fix the bone that healed wrong, this can cause even more problems like a scar where the doctor went back in.
Infection from broken skin
If the bone breaks the skin, bacteria may enter the wound, exposing you to infection. If you get an infection, it can be life-threatening and leave scars in the infected area.
Problems getting around after a fracture can bring on even more problems
- If you're unable to get around because of your broken bone, you could develop blood clots.
- If you're bed-ridden or wheelchair-bound due to a fracture, you could get pressure wounds (bed sores) which can get infected and become life-threatening.
- Decreased mobility can cause you to lose muscle mass, which could decrease your bone density.
- Decreased bone density makes any future accident more likely to result in a fractured bone.
Do I Need An Attorney For My Fracture Accident Case?
Talk to an attorney before you do anything besides: calling 911 and seek medical care. My name is Renée Yvonne Gardner, the attorney at Gardner Law. I speak Spanish - hablo español. I am a fracture accident attorney with personal injury and wrongful death accident experience.
If you suffered a broken bone in an accident, please contact me for a free consultation at (408) 214-5555 or fill out my contact form. If your loved one passed away, please call me about your wrongful death case.
None of the information on this website of Attorney Renée Yvonne Gardner is offered as medical advice.
If you have been injured in any type of accident, please seek immediate medical attention and follow the advice of your doctor.