Millions of Americans are treated each year at hospitals for broken and fractured bones. Fractures and breaks are common injuries in accidents and can happen to anyone at any time. Recovering from a broken or fractured bone is a long process. It is common for victims of accidents that cause broken bones to suffer permanent pain, weakness, and decreased enjoyment of life.
The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky frequently help our clients with claims in which they suffered a broken bone in an accident. Our staff has decades of experience winning injury cases that involve broken bones. We know the laws of Pennsylvania and how to take advantage of them to make sure you or your injured family member does not have to spend a life of suffering for a not-at-fault accidental injury.
The Difference Between a Fracture and a Break
The terms fracture and break are often used interchangeably to refer to broken bones, and the terms mean the same thing. But, not all fractures are the same. This is important from a personal injury perspective because the nature and location of an injury can affect how our attorneys proceed with winning your case. While both a fracture and a break are incredibly painful, a broken bone can often be a significantly more severe injury that requires extensive medical help and physical therapy. Many fractures can be treated relatively easily and often have a statistically good rate of recovery.
A fracture is any time the continuity of a bone is compromised. This means that all breaks are fractures and all fractures are breaks. So, what’s the difference? A fracture typically refers to an injury in which a bone has been broken but has not deviated. This is common in falls, where a victim outstretches their arms and fractures bones in the wrist, arms, or shoulders. The term fracture will be used by your physician to describe your injury.
A doctor will not typically refer to a fractured bone as a “break”, except when simplifying an explanation. The term is used outside the medical profession to differentiate the significance of an injury. A compound fracture is what we typically think of when talking about broken bones. A compound fracture is when a broken bone deviates and punctures through the skin or surrounding tissue. This injury is also referred to as an open fracture. A closed fracture also involves the deviation of a broken bone, but does not damage tissue around the bone.
Types of Fractures and Descriptions
- Avulsion fracture – a muscle or ligament pulls on the bone, fracturing it.
- Comminuted fracture – the bone is shattered into many pieces.
- Compression (crush) fracture – generally occurs in the spongy bone in the spine. For example, the front portion of a vertebra in the spine may collapse due to osteoporosis.
- Fracture dislocation – a joint becomes dislocated, and one of the bones of the joint has a fracture.
- Greenstick fracture – the bone partly fractures on one side, but does not break completely because the rest of the bone can bend. This is more common among children, whose bones are softer and more elastic.
- Hairline fracture – a partial fracture of the bone. Sometimes this type of fracture is harder to detect with routine x-rays.
- Impacted fracture – when the bone is fractured, one fragment of bone goes into another.
- Intraarticular fracture – where the break extends into the surface of a joint
- Longitudinal fracture – the break is along the length of the bone.
- Oblique fracture – a fracture that is diagonal to a bone’s long axis.
- Pathological fracture – when an underlying disease or condition has already weakened the bone, resulting in a fracture (bone fracture caused by an underlying disease/condition that weakened the bone).
- Spiral fracture – a fracture where at least one part of the bone has been twisted.
- Stress fracture – more common among athletes. A bone breaks because of repeated stresses and strains.
- Torus (buckle) fracture – bone deforms but does not crack. More common in children. It is painful but stable.
- Transverse fracture – a straight break right across a bone
Common Causes of Fractures
The injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky see the majority of fractured bone claims when handling car accident claims. Among all types of accidental injuries, car accidents account for the highest number of fractured bones in otherwise healthy victims. We see a significant number of fractured bone claims from slip, trip, and fall accidents and work-related injuries, too. Broken bones are also quite common in claims of defective equipment.
Car accidents are particularly likely to cause broken bones. The bones of the human body are incredibly strong and durable under normal conditions, but the sheer force of impact involved in many car accidents vastly exceeds the force our bones can take. Most common, we see fractured bones in the wrists, arms, and legs.
Broken bones in the hands, arms, and wrists commonly happen when a driver hits another car or a fixed object, causing their body to be thrown unmercifully forward. Modern cars are much better at protecting us from these forces, but no safety equipment can 100% prevent injury.
Hands and fingers tend to get caught in the spokes of the steering wheel or impact the dash, causing fractures. Side-impact collisions stand a good risk of causing fractures to the upper arms, shoulders and ribs. Even a properly-worn seat belt can break bones in a bad wreck.
Fractures to bones in the legs and feet are also common in car accidents. Side-impact, head-on, and rear-end collisions can all cause occupants of a vehicle to be thrown about violently, causing fractures to extremities. Occupants of vehicles that refuse to wear their seat belt are at a much higher risk of suffering a fracture.
Motorcyclists and pedestrians are particularly at risk when involved in collisions. Fractures to arms and legs are common when motorcyclists crash, even when wearing safety equipment. Pedestrians frequently suffer lower leg fractures due to impacts with car bumpers. It is also common for both pedestrians and motorcyclists to suffer fractures when impacting secondary objects, like curbs, railings, other cars, and the road.
Our lawyers argue many car crash cases that involve fractures to the collarbone, often along with other fractures. Collarbone fractures can be devastatingly painful and can leave an injured person deformed if not set correctly.
A large number of lumbar and cervical spine fractures also happen in car accidents, particularly rollover crashes. Victims are at a high risk for spinal cord damage and injury to the soft tissues that separate the vertebrae. In almost all of these injuries, long-term pain and suffering happen.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
It is an automatic reaction to brace yourself when you slip, trip, and fall. Unfortunately, fractures to the arms, hands, or wrists are common. One of the most dangerous of all fractures, a fractured pelvis, is also unfortunately common, particularly within the elderly population.
The human pelvis is among the most substantial of all bones in our body. Several major nerve bundles and blood vessels are within the pelvis. Injuries that cause the pelvis to break frequently damage the blood and nerve tissue. These injuries can be fatal, and are the leading cause of accidental death in Americans over the age of 65. Pelvic fractures can lead to a lifetime of pain, inability to walk, run or jump, and have been associated with an increased risk of some diseases such as osteoporosis and cancer.
The majority of slip, trip, and fall cases in Pennsylvania happen at home. It is a sad fact, though, that too many slip, trip, and fall accidents that result in broken bones happen in parking lots, stores, businesses, and on state or local government property. When a slip, trip, and fall accidents happen in these types of places, there is a likelihood that the owner might be responsible for causing the situation.
How Our Lawyers Can Help
The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky are commited to ensuring that you or you family member not have to live a life of pain and suffering because of an accident that was not your fault. In a perfect world, insurance companies would make sure you were taken care of after an accident, but that is rarely the case. Our lawyers fight on your behalf to hold responsible parties accountable and make sure that the insurance companies don’t use the law against you to reduce their liability. Our risk-free consultation is designed to give you an idea of what we can do to make your not-at-fault accident right. We want to see you and your family get the medical care, financial compensation, and long-term protections you will need after suffering an accident that resulted in a fracture.