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Fractures and Broken Bones After an Accident

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Fractures and Broken Bones After an Accident

August 13, 2014 by Parrish Law Firm, PLLC

Bone breaks to the spine, arms and legs that are frequently suffered by auto and motorcycle accident victims.

Where in the body can fractures occur?

Auto accident victims frequently suffer fractures to their spinal bones (vertebrae), arm and leg bones.

Information about back injuries, neck injuries and leg injuries.

Do auto accident victims suffer fractures?

Yes. According to the Mayo Clinic significant trauma, such as a car accident, is one of the most common causes of fractures or bone breaks.

What type of fractures can occur in the spine?

The spine is comprised of a column of bones. Each individual bone is called a vertebrae. Together, the vertebrae serve two purposes. First, they protect the spinal cord, which is the bundle of nerves that carries messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Second, the vertebrae give shape to a person’s neck (cervical spine), mid-back (thoracic spine), and lower back (lumbar spine).

There are five types of spinal fractures that auto accident victims should know about.

They are:

  • Compression fracture: The front (anterior) of a vertebra breaks and loses height, but the back (anterior) part of the vertebrae does not.
  • Axial burst fracture: The broken vertebrae loses height in the front and back.
  • Flexion/distraction (chance) fracture: The vertebrae are literally pulled apart (distraction), such as in a head-on car crash in which the upper body is thrown forward while the pelvis is stabilized by a lap seat belt.
  • Transverse process fracture: This type of fracture results from rotation or extreme sideways (lateral) bending.
  • Fracture-dislocation: This is an unstable personal injury involving bone and/or soft tissue in which one vertebra may move off of the adjacent vertebra, thereby creating a displacement.

What type of fractures can occur in the arms?

An arm fracture, or broken arm, involves the fracture of any of the three bones in a person’s arm: humerus (connects elbow to shoulder); radius (connects elbow to wrist above thumb); ulna (connects elbow to wrist above pinky finger), according to the Mayo Clinic. The arm fractures that car accident victims most commonly suffer include:

  • Open (compound) fracture: The broken bone pierces the skin.
  • Closed fracture: The skin is not pierced by the broken bone.
  • Displaced fracture: The bone fragments are not aligned at the site of the break or fracture.
  • Comminuted fracture: The bone breaks into several pieces.

What type of fractures can occur in the legs?

A leg fracture, or broken leg, involves the fracture of any of the three bones in a person’s leg: femur (thighbone); tibia (shinbone); fibula (runs parallel to the tibia), according to the Mayo Clinic. The leg most common leg fractures include:

  • Open (compound) fracture: The broken bone pierces the skin.
  • Closed fracture: The skin is not pierced by the broken bone.
  • Incomplete fracture: The bone cracked but did not completely break into two parts.
  • Complete fracture: The bone makes a clean break into two parts.
  • Displaced fracture: The bone fragments are not aligned at the site of the break or fracture.
  • Comminuted fracture: The bone breaks into several pieces.

How do doctors diagnose fractures?

The Mayo Clinic explains that X-rays allow doctors to determine the extent of a fracture, pinpoint its exact location, and determine the extent of injury to any adjacent joints. Occasionally, doctors may also recommend that an accident victim undergo a computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Is surgery ever a treatment option for a fracture (broken bone)?

Yes. Surgical treatment for spinal fractures may include:

  • Fusion – Fusing or joining two vertebrae to stop painful movement,
  • Vertebroplasty – Inject bone cement into compressed or fractured vertebrae,
  • Implant artificial discs between injured discs – Provides stability and eliminates pain.
  • For arm and leg fractures, surgery into the area of the broken bone may be necessary to implant fixation devices, such as wires, plates, nails or screws. This is to maintain proper alignment during healing.

The Parrish Law Firm Automobile Accident Personal Injury Lawyer works with Northern Virginia residents who have been injured because of another party’s negligence and are looking for fair compensation. Contact us today for a free case consultation or call us at 703-906-4229.

A representative of the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC researched and wrote this article with Mr. Parrish’s consent. If you have any questions regarding the legal implications of what you have just read, please send us your question by clicking here so we can have our attorney review it.

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