Perhaps you are one of the lucky persons who has escaped being in a motor vehicle crash. Not many do—the typical driver experiences three or four crashes over a lifetime. While relatively few crashes are deadly, your chances for serious personal harm are not as rare. Did you know that more than 2 million people are injured in crashes each year?
Which Injuries Happen Most Often?
Car and truck crash injuries can produce many results, from cuts and bruises to extreme trauma. A person is likelier to experience injury than death these days, due to improvements in vehicular safety; severe but nonfatal injuries happen more often now because more people survive catastrophic crashes. Some of the serious injuries that can occur in high-speed but survivable crashes are:
Fractures in some cases have grown worse, not because the occurrence rate of the fractures has grown, but because the crash survival rate has increased.
Types of Fractures
Many terms can be used by medical professionals to describe bone trauma. When a bone is injured, one or more of the following terms can be employed to fully describe the fracture:
- Closed fracture: the bone does not break the skin.
- Open (compound) fracture: the bone has broken the skin. Such an injury has a high risk of infection.
- Displaced fracture: the bone is broken so that it does not line up at the break site, but it has not pierced the skin.
- Comminuted fracture: the bone breaks in more than two pieces. Repairing such a fracture is problematic and often requires surgery.
- Transverse fracture: the bone breaks in two at a right angle, often because of a direct hit.
- Oblique fracture: the bone breaks along the length, not the width. This type of fracture is relatively rare.
- Avulsion fracture: the bone and the ligaments and/or tendons attached to it separate. This type of injury is extremely painful and generally requires surgical repair.
- Buckle fracture (torus): the bone may bend but not actually break. It usually occurs in children, whose bones have not yet fully formed.
- Stress fracture: one side of the bone bends while the other actually breaks. It usually occurs in children, whose bones are not completely formed.
- Hairline fracture: the bone has a partial break or crack. Hairline fractures, if not treated, can worsen.
Common Bone Breaks in Motor Vehicle Crashes
Our bodies have 206 bones that reach their maximum density by age 30, and all of them are vulnerable in the event of a crash. The following injuries are among the most common:
- Spinal Fractures. In a crash, spinal vertebrae can be cracked or broken in numerous ways because there can be 360 degrees of force pulling apart and twisting the bones. In some cases, spinal fractures can completely sever the spinal cord, leading to paraplegia or quadriplegia. Such damage often requires a lifetime of assistance for help with necessary tasks such as eating and bathing, breathing support, and bathroom functions.
- Skull and Facial Fractures. The head contains 14 facial bones and 8 cranial (skull) bones. Skull fractures are more likely to occur when a vehicle flips or is otherwise crushed from the top or if the injured person is thrown from the vehicle. Any time a skull fracture occurs, the possibility of serious brain trauma is real.
Facial fractures are more common. Around 11 percent of those with trauma from a vehicular crash have at least one bone in their face broken. Crashes can fracture the nose, midface, eye socket (eye orbit), or jaw (mandible.) Surgery to repair the damage can be needed, along with a long recovery period. In some cases, plastic surgery is required to correct facial deformities. Not all such injuries can be corrected.
- Upper Extremity Fractures. These types of fractures usually involve a shoulder joint fracture or a break in the humerus (upper arm) or wrist bones. The humerus connects your elbow to your shoulder joint. Depending on the location of the break, surgery can be required to hold the broken bones in place. Humerus breaks are especially prone to complications in seniors and in persons with bone diseases.
Wrist fractures can happen when someone tries to brace themselves for a crash by using their hands. A closed fracture, meaning the skin is not broken, can sometimes be treated with only a cast. However, with an open fracture, surgery and antibiotics can be required because of the break in the skin.
- Rib Fractures. Rib fractures are fairly common in a serious crash. The biggest danger from a broken rib is a punctured lung, leading to a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) that can make breathing difficult. Rib fractures are quite painful.
- Pelvic Fractures. If you are thrown from your vehicle, a broken pelvis is a real possibility. When the pelvis is fractured all the way through, surgery is usually required to stabilize the bones. Complete healing means months of rest and rehabilitation.
- Femur Fractures. Severe-impact crashes can translate into forces that are intense enough to break the strongest bone in your body–the thighbone, or femur. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has reported that the biggest cause of broken femurs is vehicular crashes. Significant tissue and blood vessel damage are not uncommon because of the extreme force needed to break a femur.
Femur fractures are especially likely to occur when a pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist is struck by a vehicle. The angle and height of the impact are part of what increases the odds of a thighbone break.
- Lower Extremity Fractures. Fractures of the foot, ankle, and lower leg are common in a crash, especially if the person has braced themselves for the impact with their feet and legs. In a high-speed crash, a not-infrequent injury is a pilon fracture; the shinbone (tibia) fractures near the ankle joint because of forces driving the foot upward. Pilon fractures can mean surgery and rehabilitation, and complications include the possibilities of an infection and lifelong arthritis.
Fractures of all kinds arising from motor vehicle crashes can mean pain, suffering, a long convalescence, and expensive rehabilitation and special surgeries. If you or a loved one has suffered from broken bones in a crash due to someone else’s negligence, we at McNeely Stephenson are here to help you.
Serving Accident Victims in Indiana Since 1982.
When you are considering hiring a car accident lawyer, you should look for an attorney who will give you competent and compassionate representation with a “client first” approach. That’s exactly what you’ll get with proven advocate attorney Mike Stephenson. His entire legal team is committed to doing whatever is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
If you think you might have a case, keep in mind that in Indiana there is a statute of limitations – or a deadline – for filing personal injury claims, so it is unwise to delay. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure. Call Mike Stephenson at 1-317-825-5200 or contact us online for immediate help.