What Are Common Bone Fractures Caused by Car Accidents?
With over 200 bones in the human body, there is a good chance that you would suffer a broken bone or a fracture in the event of a car accident. Even though our bones and bodies are strong and can withstand a lot, the sheer violence of some car accidents can cause them to break or crack. Also, some bones are more susceptible to breaking than others in a crash, solely because of the defensive reaction the body performs at the moment of impact, such as using the legs or arms to brace itself.
Broken bones and fractures range from minor breaks to serious compound fractures, even when taking the correct safety precautions such as wearing your seat belt. In fact, one study has shown that an adult traveling in a car at 25 mph who weighs around 175 pounds, while also wearing a seat belt, will feel the equivalent of being hit by over 5500 pounds of bricks.
Bones Especially Subject to Trauma in a Car Accident
The bones that break more commonly than others in a car accident include the following:
- Clavicle. One of the most fragile bones in all the human body, the clavicle is the bone that runs along the top of the rib cage near the shoulders and is frequently broken in a car accident. The seat belt lays over the clavicle and locks at the moment of impact, at times breaking the bone.
- Back or neck. There are multiple bones in the back, neck, and spinal area of the human body, all of which could break in rear-end and head-on collisions. The most serious are when vertebrae break, causing paralysis and may at times be fatal.
- Pelvic bone. Pelvic bone fractures are common in car accidents but are even more frequent in motorcycle accidents. Still, pelvic bone breaks are serious and occur because of the legs often bracing the body at impact. Treatment usually requires bed rest, crutches, and physical therapy to fully heal.
- Cranium. Cranial fractures are serious and may result to damage to the brain. They can happen frequently in a car accident because the head could come into contact with the dashboard, steering wheel, or window. Many cranial fractures go undetected because there may be no visible signs of personal injury.
- Fibula. Broken legs are common in car accidents, particularly the fibula, which is the lower part of the leg. The femur is the upper part of the leg and can break as well. Although leg bones are very strong, they can break in a car crash because the force is strong enough to crush the bones, particularly if the leg straightens out before the collision.
- Sternum. The sternum, also known as the breastbone, is located in the center of the rib cage and helps protect the heart, lungs, and other important organs of the body. The sternum is a common bone that breaks because the seat belt rests over the sternum and will lock and retract as the body moves forward at impact.
- Facial bones. Facial bones are susceptible to fractures, as the face can likely come into contact with other parts of the car such as the dashboard or steering wheel. A broken nose, jaw, cheekbone, or orbital bone are all common in an accident.
What Types of Fractures Occur from Car Accidents?
A fractured bone is another way of saying that a bone is broken. However, fractures occur in variety of ways, and some are more common than others during a car accident:
- Avulsion. Avulsion fractures are very painful and are classified as a fracture than separates the bones from tendons and ligaments. They likely result in surgery to repair the separation.
- Comminuted. A bone is comminuted if it breaks into three or more separate pieces. This is a very serious fracture and will likely lead to the limb being amputated because the bone is damaged beyond repair.
- Buckle. Occurring mainly in small children, buckle fractures are when the bone bends or buckles instead of breaking. The treatment is generally immobilization with a splint of cast.
- Compound. A compound fracture occurs when the bone breaks and then pierces through the skin. Bacterial infections are frequent with compound fractures, and treatment for one is surgery within 24 hours and antibiotics.
- Oblique. These types of fractures occur when the bone gets pinched and then twisted during impact, causing a diagonal fracture. These are normal in car accidents and will require surgery to reset the bone as well as using screws or plates to keep the bone in place as it heals.
- Hairline. Hairline fractures are smaller breaks in the bone; injured victims may not be aware that they have a hairline fracture because they normally show as a bruise. Hairline fractures should be treated right away and must be treated by immobilizing the bone with a boot, splint, or cast.
- Stress. Stress fractures occur generally in young children whose bones are still forming, similar to a buckle fracture. The difference is that with a stress fracture, one side of the bone will bend while the other side will fracture.
- Transverse. A transverse fracture is a serious bone break that occurs when the bone breaks into two pieces, often in a right-angle position. Treatment generally requires surgery and immobilization.
The severity of a fracture varies on a few factors, such as the location and the wound type. Fractures located in smaller bones such as the finger or foot generally heal quicker than a fracture in the pelvis. A displaced fracture, in which the bone is no longer aligned with itself at the break, is harder to heal than a non-displaced fracture. The health and age of the victim are factors as well, as older people with a broken bone may take longer to heal than a younger and fit person.
Fractures need to be diagnosed fully by a physician, and treatment generally depends on the type of fracture. Some require surgery, whereas others do not; furthermore, some require a cast or a splint, while others do not.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Accident Victims Receive Justice
Getting injured in a car accident is common, especially injuries such as broken bones and fractures. If you have been injured in an accident because of another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to further compensation. Contact the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our skilled and experienced team will protect your rights and help you get the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.