Broken bones and fractures are almost always the result of severe trauma suffered in a serious personal injury accident, though some fractures do also result from degenerative conditions such as osteoporosis or diseases such as cancer. Whether you are involved in a car accident, a motorcycle accident, a truck accident, a construction accident, a premises liability accident, or any other type of accident in which a broken bone results from serious physical trauma, our team of experienced Bronx personal injury lawyers can help you hold the responsible parties to account; and make sure that you receive proper medical care and just compensation for your injuries.
By their very nature, bones are built to be extremely sturdy and strong. Bones are designed to support the weight of the entire human body under all sorts of stressful and strenuous conditions (ranging from sitting comfortably in an armchair to skiing down a steep and bumpy mountain), and to provide the framework within which the organs, muscles and other tissues of the body reside. When bones do fracture, it is usually the result of severe trauma, as anything less than a serious impact will generally not cause bones to break.
Depending on the nature of a fracture suffered in an accident and its effects on other structures within the body, the required medical treatment, future effects on a person’s life, and pain and suffering can vary drastically. Hiring experienced Bronx personal injury attorneys possessing the proper depth of medical knowledge and understanding, together with proper the resources to ensure that the full panoply of physical effects of any broken bone or fracture is presented in a clear and concise manner, is absolutely critical to a successful personal injury case involving fractures and broken bones.
What are the Most Common Types of Fractures Caused by Serious Accidents?
When a bone is subjected to serious trauma, it can fracture in different ways depending upon various factors including the severity of the trauma, the nature of the particular bone that is injured, and the underlying health and medical profile of the person that is injured. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the most common types of fractures that result from trauma include: (i) Stable Fracture, (ii) Open/Compound Fracture, (iii) Transverse Fracture, (iv) Oblique Fracture and (v) Comminuted Fracture. When you hire a Bronx personal injury lawyer to represent you in a personal injury lawsuit involving a broken bone, you should make sure that he or she is extremely well versed in these various types of fractures so that your injury can be properly demonstrated in court. Depending upon the type of fracture, the fracture may be diagnosed by use of an X-Ray, an MRI or a C.T. Scan, in addition to clinical correlations with these test results.
A “Stable Fracture” refers to a fracture that is not “displaced” such that the bone on either side of the fracture has remained in near-proper anatomical alignment. “Displacement” refers to the amount of space created between either side of a fracture due to the trauma in question. Stable fractures can occur in the “diaphysis” of the bone (the area in the center of the bone, sometimes referred to as the “shaft” of the bone) or in the “epiphysis” of the bone (the ends of the bone, coated by cartilage and connecting to the joint on either side of the bone). Stable fractures can often be treated conservatively, especially if they occur in the diaphysis of the bone. However, when such a fracture occurs in the epiphysis of the bone (especially when they violate the articular surface of the bone or otherwise affect a joint), conservative management may be insufficient, and surgery – whether immediate surgery to permit the fracture to properly heal, or future surgery to correct damage done to the joint such as arthritis – may be appropriate.
An Open/Compound Fracture refers to a fracture that pierces the skin and tissue around the fracture site. The piercing of the skin can be caused by the sharp bone fragments of the fracture cutting through the skin, or by the blow/trauma itself. Open/Compound fractures are extremely serious, and almost always require some type of surgical intervention (whether irrigation and debridement surgery to clean and fight infection within the soft-tissue wound surrounding the fracture, Open Reduction/Internal Fixation surgery to reduce and stabilize the fracture itself, external fixation by placement of pins on the outside of the skin to secure the fracture fragments and permit healing, or even skin grafts to repair damage to the skin overlaying the broken bones). Open/Compound fractures usually result from extreme trauma such as serious high-speed car accidents, construction accidents involving falls from ladders or falls from scaffolds, or slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents involving an outstretched arm.
A Transverse Fracture refers to a fracture that forms a horizontal line through the broken bone. Depending on the location of the fracture and the degree of displacement, these fractures may be treated with casting/splinting, or with more aggressive treatments such as internal/external fixation surgery. The severity of a transverse fracture – as with every fracture – most often depends on where in the body (i.e., whether in a joint, or in the diaphysis/shaft of a bone away from a joint) the fracture is located.
An Oblique Fracture describes a bone break that is angled, rather than horizontal as with a transverse fracture. Among the factors for determining the severity of an oblique fracture is the degree to which it is displaced, whether the bones have violated the skin or surrounding tissues so as to create an open/compound fracture, and whether the fracture involves the articular surface of the bone and the corresponding joint space. Treatment for these types of fractures varies depending on these very factors, and can range from conservative management, such as casting or splinting, to open reduction/internal fixation surgery or traction (a process by which the bones are re-aligned by pulling on the skin or directly on the bones to move them back into proper anatomical alignment after a serious injury) in the case of very severe oblique fractures.
A Comminuted Fracture is an extremely serious injury and refers to a fracture that causes the bone to break into three or more pieces. The “shattering” of the bone that is caused in comminuted fractures generally requires aggressive surgical management (such as by external fixation, open reduction/internal fixation surgery, or a long period of traction in extremely serious cases) because, often, comminuted fractures involve the bones being knocked completely out of place such that conservative management will cause the bones to heal out of alignment, which can cause serious future problems to the skeletal system. Comminuted fractures can occur in injuries that involve twisting/torsion to the bone, or “crush” injuries involving extreme force/weight being applied to a bone causing it to shatter.
What are Some of the Most Serious Effects of Fractures on the Human Body?
The severity of a fracture is generally determined by the type of fracture, its location within the skeletal system, and the damage that the fracture may cause to the surrounding structures and tissues. The way in which the bone itself actually breaks is also important to determining how severe a fracture injury will be. While there are other factors – such as an individual patient’s medical history – that can influence the overall severity of a fracture injury, these factors are most often the keys to determining how a fracture will impact the life of a victim of a serious accident.
One of the most serious and common consequences of a fracture is called “osteoarthritis”. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition involving the wearing down of the articular cartilage on the end of a bone (the soft tissue that coats the ends of bones within joints and allows joints to move) and can cause extreme pain and immobility due to deterioration and malfunction of the joint. Osteoarthritis results when a fracture is “intra-articular”, meaning that it has violated a joint or otherwise disturbed the articular surface of the epiphysis of a bone. Osteoarthritis causes severe pain and the need for long-term medical care and treatment, which may include physical or occupational therapy, injection therapy (Orthovisc/Synvisc injections to simulate cartilage), and surgery (such as an Arthroplasty, the medical term for a joint replacement surgery).
What Medical Treatment is Needed to Treat Fractures Suffered in Serious Accidents?
The type of doctor that specializes in treating fractures and broken bones, as well as the secondary effects of these serious injuries, is called an “Orthopedist”. The course of treatment – whether conservative management such as casting/splinting and physical therapy, or aggressive treatment such as through surgery or traction – will be determined by the Orthopedist depending upon the type of fracture, its location within the skeletal system, and its effects on the surrounding structures within the body of a Bronx personal injury accident victim under his or her care.
If you are injured in a serious accident and suffer a fracture, your accident lawyer can assist you in finding the best physicians to treat your injuries so that you have the best chance of a full recovery. You should make sure to consult an orthopedic specialist if you suffer a fracture, because these are the types of doctors with the most experience and medical knowledge regarding the treatment of broken bones.
How are Fractures Proven in Bronx and New York City Personal Injury Lawsuits?
In any Bronx personal injury accident lawsuit involving a fracture, establishing causation (i.e., that the fracture was caused by the accident) and damages (e.g., pain and suffering, medical costs) are the keys to obtaining fair compensation. Perhaps the most important element in proving these elements of any accident case is ensuring that an Orthopedic Surgeon is retained as an expert witness to testify on these issues. It is also very important that all radiological films (X-Rays, MRIs, and C.T. Scans) be presented clearly to the jury so that they can understand the cause of the injury, the severity of the injury and its effects on the body.
The expert Orthopedic Surgeon will read the radiological films to the jury, and use them to explain why a particular course of treatment was required to allow the plaintiff to heal properly. The expert should also have experience performing any of the particular surgeries/procedures that the plaintiff had to undergo as a result of their injuries so as to ensure that the expert’s testimony is credible to the jury. The expert will also explain how, given the nature of the plaintiff’s particular fractures and other injuries, conditions such as osteoarthritis caused by the fractures may result, necessitating further surgery and therapy as time goes on. Our team of expert Bronx personal injury lawyers will provide you with access to our network of expert medical witnesses who will testify on your behalf if you are injured so as to ensure that you have the best possible chance of a recovery in your personal injury case.