Broken bones are among the most common injuries suffered in a car accident. If you’re hit by another vehicle, especially at a high speed, bones in your head, face, hands, arms, or legs could be fractured by the impact of striking the dashboard, steering wheel, or another hard surface inside the car. A driver or passenger not wearing a seatbelt could be thrown from the car and break bones by hitting the hard surface of the road. If you are wearing a seatbelt, it could possibly fracture your pelvis, hip, ribs, or collar bone in a high-impact wreck.
A head-on collision could break your legs, or if you grip the steering wheel tightly to brace for impact, you could break bones in your hands, wrists, fingers, or arms. A smaller car struck by a much larger vehicle could be completely or partially crushed with occupants inside sustaining multiple broken bones. Head-on or rear-end wrecks can result in severe whiplash, which may crack vertebrae and put you at risk of a spinal cord injury or paralysis.
Types of Bone Fractures
Common car accident bone fractures are categorized according to their severity and specific characteristics:
- Compound or open. The broken bone pierces the skin and is externally visible.
- Closed. The broken bone does not pierce the skin.
- Displaced. The pieces of the broken bone are no longer aligned.
- Stable. This is a minor break that’s comparatively easy to repair.
- Avulsion. Part of a bone connected to a tendon or ligament tears away from the rest of the bone.
- Linear. The break is parallel to the length of the bone or “vertical.”
- Transverse. The bone is broken “horizontally” or perpendicular to the length of the bone.
- Comminuted. The bone is crushed into multiple pieces.
- Greenstick. One side of the bone is broken while the other is not.
- Impacted. The ends of the broken pieces of bone are pushed together in the wreck.
- Oblique. The pattern of the break is angular.
- Fissure. The bone is cracked but not broken into two pieces.
- Stress. There are small cracks in the bone due to repeated motion or pressure.
- Buckle. This is a bending rather than a break of the bone, which is common in children because their bones are flexible.
- Hairline. This is a very small crack that might be revealed only by an X-ray.
If you’ve suffered a broken bone injury in a car accident caused by someone else, you’re entitled to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer for damages such as medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering. The defendant’s insurance company might contact you shortly after the accident to offer a quick, low settlement that won’t even cover your medical bills. You should not accept any settlement before consulting a lawyer to find out what your claim is worth. In fact, it’s best for you to communicate as little as possible with the insurance company. Simply refer their calls and messages to your lawyer, who will know how to counter their tactics to deny or devalue your claim.
Protecting Your Claim
If you’re physically able to do so after your wreck, you should take the following steps to protect your insurance claim and help get fair compensation for your damages:
- Move to a safe area, and call 911 to report your accident.
- Take photos of the accident scene and all vehicles involved, focusing on license plate numbers and visible damage.
- Take pictures of your own physical injuries, or ask someone nearby to take them for you.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s), but don’t discuss the accident or argue.
- Ask witnesses for their contact info, and pass it on to your lawyer.
When police arrive, answer their questions with basic information. Do not admit any fault to anybody. If you’re not transported to a hospital, seek medical attention as soon as possible even if you don’t feel you’re seriously injured. Inform your insurer of the accident, but do not communicate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Instead, contact a car accident attorney, and let your lawyer do the talking for you.
After an accident that caused your broken bones, consulting an experienced car accident attorney is your first step toward justice. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call us at 301-790-3600 to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.