Often, serious physical injuries in auto accidents are orthopaedic in nature, meaning that they involve the bones, muscles, joints and ligaments associated with the skeletal system. Fractures of the legs, arms, hands, wrists, chest and face are common
resulting from a motor vehicle accident.
While some may be simple, fractures from auto accidents can also produce extreme and crippling injuries. A car accident typically involves forces that are many times greater than those in any other type of accident. Crushing injuries and multiple fractures requiring reconstructive surgery, metal hardware and months or years of therapy can be the result of a single car crash.
Common Fractures Experienced in Auto Accidents
Precisely what happens during a motor vehicle collision depends on many circumstances: the type of vehicle(s) involved, speed, weather, experience and age of drivers and passengers, road conditions, etc. Some examples of common impact scenarios leading to a
broken bone include:
- Facial fracture. A face hitting the side window or the steering column can produce multiple facial lacerations and painful fractures. A defective seat belt can result in the driver or the passenger not properly being stopped from colliding with the windshield.
- Broken collarbone. A side or front collision or incursion of the vehicle into the interior of another can result in these injuries.
- Broken hand or wrist. A hand or wrist can be torqued against the steering wheel or thrown up defensively to protect the driver from an exploding windshield.
- Spinal fracture. The force of any collision can break or crack a vertebra, resulting in paralysis.
- Broken rib. Contact with the steering wheel or side door can produce rib fractures.
- Broken leg. In a collision, the body can be thrown backward and forward into the dashboard steering column or against the door in a side-impact accident.
Just as there are many scenarios that can lead to a broken bone, there are many ways that a bone can break. A hairline fracture means that but there are tiny cracks in the bone, but that the bones have otherwise stayed intact. A compound fracture, also called an open fracture, is one in which the bone breaks through the skin. A closed fracture means that the bone has broken but did not pierce the skin.
Other types of fractures, though less well-known, include: an avulsion fracture involves a tendon attaching a muscle to a bone pulls a portion of the bone apart. A comminuted fracture essentially is a shattered bone, as the bone has broken into small pieces or fragments. A displaced fracture generally requires surgery to fix; the broken ends of the bones were completely separated during the break.
Broken bones from a car accident are painful, can lead to other complications as a result of the extreme force applied and often require surgical intervention and long periods of physical therapy and disability. Treatment and recovery can be expensive; an experienced
injury attorney can discuss your options against the driver-at-fault if you’ve been in a car accident.