Broken Bone Injuries in Car Accidents
Broken bones are some of the most commonly sustained car accident-related injuries. Whether involved in a head-on collision, a rollover accident, or a side-impact crash, there is a good chance that one of the parties involved will suffer a broken bone. The treatment required for these types of injuries depends on the type and severity of the break, so some broken bones will require the use of a cast, while surgery may be necessary to repair more severe breaks. In either case, treatment can quickly become expensive, so if you suffered a broken bone in a car crash that was the result of someone else’s negligence, it is critical to contact an experienced car accident lawyer who can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses.
Types of Broken Bones
There are a variety of different types of broken bones that an injured party can suffer in a car crash, including:
- Stable fractures, in which the bone breaks cleanly;
- Oblique fractures, which occur at an angle;
- Open, or compound fractures, in which the bone pierces the skin after shattering;
- Traverse fractures, which occur when a bone breaks horizontally; and
- Comminuted fractures, in which the bone shatters into multiple pieces.
Of these types of breaks, stable fractures are usually the easiest to treat and the bone will often begin to knit back together in a few weeks. Compound and comminuted fractures, on the other hand, often require surgical intervention.
Treating Broken Bones
When determining whether a person has a broken bone and if so, what type, doctors will usually conduct a brief physical examination before using x-rays to assess the extent of the fracture. Once the exact nature of the break is discovered, the doctor will devise a plan to ensure that the bones are set back in place and immobilized, so that new bone can grow around the fracture. This often requires the use of a cast or brace, which can be made of plaster or fiberglass and completely prevents movement. However, if the skin around the bone is damaged, which often occurs with compound fractures in which the bone pierces the skin, the doctor may opt instead for an external fixator to set the bones back in place through the use of rods and pins. These types of breaks are common in those who were involved in rollover accidents or who were ejected from their vehicle during the crash. Finally, in some cases, doctors can place the bones back in place by surgically fusing the broken bone with metal pins, plates, and rods.
Once these steps are taken, the first stage of healing will likely begin, which occurs when soft cartilage forms around the fracture. Although too weak to allow movement or bear weight, the formation of a soft callus is a good indicator that the bone is healing properly. Eventually, after around six to 12 weeks, the soft callus will start to transform into woven bone, at which point the injured party may begin to put slight weight on the limb and perform certain exercises, which will encourage the growth of a hard callus over the fracture. Finally, the fully woven bone will be replaced by lamellar bone, which can actually be much stronger than the original unbroken bone.