Fractures from car accidents can be mild injuries or extremely serious. But no matter the severity, broken bones have several things in common — they’re painful, and they can take a long time to heal. They also cost more to repair than many people expect.
If you sustained a fracture or other injuries in a car accident in Honolulu, compensation may be available to relieve the burden of medical expenses and other hardships that you have endured.
To learn more about your legal options, please call or contact us today.
For more than two decades, Recovery Law Center Hawaii personal injury lawyer Glenn Honda has helped injured people recover the money they deserve to get back on their feet again.
Most Commonly Broken Bones in Honolulu Car Accidents
Any of the 206 bones in the human body are vulnerable to break in a car crash. Most breaks occur due to the sheer force of the collision, knocking the body into other objects and causing bones to twist in abnormal ways.
While technically any bone could break in a car accident, the most common fractures include:
- Femur (thighbone)
- Vertebrae in the neck and spine
- Sternum (Breastbone)
Even seemingly minor fractures need prompt medical attention. A broken bone that is left untreated or improperly set could cause permanent damage to nerves and muscles and even impair growth in injured children.
Types of Fractures
Although bones are designed to be rigid yet flexible enough to withstand stress, the force from a car accident can easily cause them to crack or split.
Types of fractures include:
- Stable: The bone is slightly cracked and barely out of alignment.
- Open/compound: There is an open wound at the sight of the fracture, usually caused by violent trauma. Most often, the bone pierces through the skin. This is a very dangerous type of break because it exposes the site to bacteria that can cause infection.
- Transverse: The break occurs perpendicular to the long part of the bone. It can be the result of a direct blow. Repairing a transverse fracture likely requires surgery.
- Oblique: Trauma that hits the bone at an angle can cause an oblique fracture, resulting in a fracture that has a curved or angled pattern.
- Comminuted: A bone breaks into three or more pieces. The tremendous force of a high-impact car accident can cause bones to shatter bones this severely.
- Greenstick: Children are the most common victims of greenstick fractures in car accidents. This is when a bone bends and cracks, but does not come apart completely.
- Avulsion: A small piece of bone attached to a tendon or ligament gets torn away from the main bone. This is common in ankle, hip and elbow fractures.
Even minor fractures can be very painful and have lengthy recovery periods. Aside from being an inconvenience to daily life, broken bones often force victims to miss work and lose out on wages when they need the money most to pay for medical care.
Treatment for Car Accident Fractures
Some broken bones can heal on their own. Others may require a cast or functional brace to keep the bones in alignment while they grow back together.
The most severe fractures are often treated with surgery, where orthopedic surgeons insert rods, pins, screws and metal plates in the bones to facilitate healing. In some cases, surgery must be repeated to remove those metal pieces once the bones are fused together.
Complications from Broken Bones
Unfortunately, some people experience complications after a fracture, such as:
- Infection: An open fracture exposes the tissue and bone to bacteria that can cause infection.
- Malunion: The bone heals out of alignment.
- Nonunion: The broken bone fails to heal or only partially heals.
- Nerve and muscle damage: A high-impact fracture from a car accident could cause acute compartment syndrome, a condition in which too much pressure builds within the muscles, cutting off blood flow to the nerves and surrounding tissues.
- Fat embolism syndrome: After a bone breaks, fat from the bone marrow can leak into the bloodstream. For some, this results in fat embolism syndrome, a condition that can cause serious lung problems and seizures.
Any type of complication from a fracture could have major consequences. This may lead to the need for additional surgery, long-term pain, loss of function or even amputation of the affected limb.
Compensation for Auto Accident Fractures
Sometimes insurance companies try to minimize the effects of a fracture on your health and quality of life to avoid making a fair payout. At Recovery Law Center, we stand up for you so that you are fairly compensated for your losses after a car crash in Honolulu.
In Hawaii, you may be entitled to two main types of compensation if you are injured in a wreck. These include:
- Economic damages: Money awarded to recoup your financial losses. Examples include past, present and future medical bills, lost income, rehabilitation costs, prescription drug costs and other injury-related expenses.
- Noneconomic damages: Compensation for pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, mental distress, loss of consortium, disfigurement and loss of household services.
In some cases, injured people are also entitled to punitive damages meant to punish the at-fault party for their negligence. For example, some car accident victims may be awarded punitive damages if they were hit by a drunk driver.
Recovery Law Center: Compassionate Legal Services to Make You Whole Again
At Recovery Law Center, we know that physical healing is just one part of recuperating from a car accident. Our dedicated Honolulu injury lawyers at Recovery Law Center goal is to help you obtain maximum compensation for not only your financial hardships, but also to support you and your family’s emotional recovery and restore a sense of security again.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Fractures (Broken Bones).”