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What Should I Do if I Have a Broken Bone from a Car Accident?

March 19, 2021

broken bone

Two main causes of broken bones are slip and fall accidents and car accidents. Broken bones are significant injuries that can take a long time to heal. Sometimes, broken bones require one or more surgeries. Patients who suffer broken bones can also experience complications, like nerve damage, punctured organs, and infections.

Bone fractures and breaks are the same. A fracture can be defined as any break in the bone’s structure. In many cases, car accident victims do not even realize that they have fractures until they have imaging scans done. There are many different types of broken bones, ranging from mild hairline fractures up to serious compound fractures. If a person has a broken bone because of an accident, they should speak to a lawyer about their legal options.

What Causes Broken Bones During Car Accidents?

Bones can fracture when there is extensive force on them. Motor vehicle accidents cause a lot of fractures because human bodies absorb a lot of impact in collisions. Some ways that bones can break in accidents include:

  • The crushing force from colliding with another vehicle.
  • Slamming into the seat restraint.
  • Hitting hard objects, like the dashboard or the windshield, with a lot of force.
  • Not wearing a seat belt and getting ejected from the vehicle.
  • Bending or twisting one’s limbs in an abnormal way during the collision.
  • Getting struck by loose items in the vehicle or by the air bag.

What are the Worst Types of Broken Bones?

Some of the more common types of breaks affect arms, wrists, facial bones, the skull, lower legs, hips, and ribs. Head-on collisions and rear-end accidents often cause spine and neck fractures, and spinal vertebrae fractures of the neck or back are thought to be the most serious injuries. Skull fractures are also dangerous because there may be brain damage as well. Victims may not exhibit any symptoms after accidents but can later end up having strokes.

The clavicle is at the top of the rib cage and is known to be the most fragile bone in the body; this is why it often breaks in car crashes. The ribs and sternum also fracture frequently in accidents since they take up so much space in the midsection.

Pelvic bone fractures are more common in motorcycle accidents and can lead to long recovery times. Upper and lower broken legs can break when the impact crushes the vehicle into the person’s lower half. Facial bones get fractured from the impact of hitting the airbag, steering wheel, and dashboard. Common car accident injuries include broken orbital bones, jaws, cheekbones, and noses.

How is a Broken Bone Diagnosed?

To diagnose a broken bone, the first step is to perform a visual examination. A doctor will look for swelling, inflammation, bruising, a bone poking out through skin, and a deformed appearance. A patient may also have pain that worsens when they move a certain way or the inability to bear any weight on the affected area.

Care providers will also assess the patient’s pain level and send them for an X-ray. In some cases, CT scans will also be ordered when fractures do not show up on X-rays but are indicated by the symptoms.

What are the Different Categories of Broken Bones?

There are several different categories of broken bones:

  • Bowing: The bone is bent but does not break. This is more common in children.
  • Greenstick: Also common in children, a greenstick fracture is when the bone is cracked and bent on one side. The break is not completely through the bone.
  • Impacted: The bone is broken but not separated. As a result, the bone ends drive into one another.
  • Complete: The bone is broken all the way through, but its ends are still aligned.
  • Closed: The break is complete, but the affected bone is not piercing the skin.
  • Open: One or both ends of the broken bone has broken through the skin. These kinds of breaks have a higher risk of infection.
  • Stress: The bone has fractured from repeated overuse or pressure. This type of fracture builds up over time instead of being caused by a traumatic incident, like a car crash.
  • Complicated: This fracture involves accompanying injuries, like tendon or ligament damage, muscle strain, and nerve involvement.
  • Comminuted: When bones shatter or break in several places.

How Long Do Broken Bones Take to Heal?

A bone will heal, but it usually takes six to eight weeks. During this recovery time, the fractured bone has to remain stabilized and immobile in the correct position; otherwise, it may not heal properly. Patients have to limit movement of the area and can expect to have a loss of mobility. This could lead to missing time from work, being unable to drive, not being able to perform personal care, and needing someone to run errands and help around the house.

The recovering patient may need to take prescription medications and return to the doctor’s office for follow-up appointments. Physical therapy may also be needed to get the patient’s range of motion, endurance, and flexibility back to normal. Six to eight weeks can feel like a long time, but trying to rush progress can make matters worse. It is best to always follow the doctor’s recommendations and to rest as much as possible.

Can I Get Compensated for My Medical Expenses?

Serious bone fractures can be expensive. Aside from the initial consultation in the emergency room or with an orthopedic surgeon, there are many diagnostic and treatment procedures involved. The main goal is for the bone to be stabilized so it can heal correctly, and this is usually done with braces, casts, and splints. When the break is more severe, the provider may have implant rods, screws, pins, or plates.

Once the initial healing phase has passed, patients can find that they need physical therapy (PT), which could be as often as several times a week. Each visit has to be paid for, and if the office is far from the patient’s home, the costs for gas can also add up.

If another party is liable for the car accident victim’s fractured bone, an experienced car accident lawyer may be able to offer help. In some cases, victims are able to receive compensation for all of their past and future medical costs and lost wages, as well as additional damages for pain and suffering. For these reasons, a victim should see a physician as soon as possible after an accident. Going to the doctor shows a direct link from the accident to the injury. This can help in a future personal injury claim.

If a person waits too long to go the doctor, their insurance company will fight against covering past and future medical expenses. The victim will also have a difficult time pursuing the at-fault party for a personal injury claim. This can leave the victim with long-term injuries and medical bills. Therefore, seeing a doctor immediately after an accident is a way to protect oneself. Additionally, the victim should speak to a lawyer about their case, especially if they have a serious injury and need compensation.

Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Offer Legal Guidance to Car Accident Victims with Broken Bones

A car accident can be traumatic, and the situation can be even more challenging if a serious injury is involved, such as a broken bone. If you need help with compensation, a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer can speak to you about your case. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, our skilled legal team has helped numerous car accident victims, and we can help you with your case. Complete our online form or call us at 757-352-2237 for a free consultation. We have an office in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.

Areas We Serve

Our law firm proudly serves clients injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina on personal injury claims, including cases with traumatic brain injury, spinal and neck injury, wrongful death, and more serious injuries. As Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys with many years experience, our team of lawyers will be ready to fight for you. If you were injured on the job, our Virginia Beach Workers Compensation lawyers are ready to serve you.

Call 757-352-2237 or fill out the online contact form for a free consultation about your personal injury, workers compensation, or other attorney services. Our firm adopts a team approach to every case, so while one primary lawyer will be assigned to your case, you have the benefit of an experienced team of lawyers, all working on your side. We are located in Virginia Beach, VA, and serve clients who were injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina.


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Virginia Beach VA 23452
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