Broken bones and fractures are serious. Bones typically break when enough force is applied, such as when you hit the dashboard of a vehicle during an accident. We also see people with broken bones after car wrecks, workplace accidents, serious falls, and physical assaults. Some fractures require surgery. During surgery, an orthopedic surgeon may use metal plates, pins, or rods to stabilize the bone and help it heal properly.
There are several types of fractures, some more serious than others. With a stable fracture, the broken ends of the bone remain in alignment. Transverse fractures produce horizontal fracture lines, while oblique fractures result in an angled pattern. Comminuted fractures and open compound fractures are more serious than the other types. When someone sustains a comminuted fracture, the bone shatters into several pieces. An open, compound fracture results in damage to the skin over the broken bone. In some cases, the bone pierces the skin, causing additional damage.
It may take several months for a fracture to heal. During this time, an injured person often cannot use the affected limb, making it very difficult to work, participate in his or her favorite activities, or perform simple daily activities we take for granted (which doctors often call the “activities of daily living”). In addition to the medical bills that mount up, you may need to pay for help with basic tasks such as washing clothes, preparing meals, or taking care of your home. When someone else’s negligence causes the injury, the law allows the injured person to receive compensation for the bills, the pain, and the changes to his or her life.