Broken bones are one of the most commonly reported injuries after a California motor vehicle accident. Many accident victims make a full recovery from their broken bone injuries. However, others may suffer long-term complications from broken bones and require surgeries and years of physical therapy to manage their pain.
If you or a loved one has suffered a broken bone in a California car accident, you should speak with an experienced California personal injury attorney to learn about your legal options.
Common Broken Bone Injuries in Motor Vehicle Accident Claims
Though any part of the body may sustain an injury in a car crash, some areas are injured more frequently than others. Generally, the most common broken bone injuries occur in these regions:
- Arms, hands, and fingers
- Legs, feet, toes, and ankles
Even the forces involved in a seemingly minor collision may be enough to break a bone.
Signs of a Broken Bone
In the aftermath of an accident, victims may be unaware that they have suffered a broken bone. If an accident victim is experiencing any of the following symptoms, medical treatment should be sought:
- The area looks deformed, such as bent or twisted in a strange direction
- Inability to use the affected area
- Pain that increases with applied pressure or movement
Imaging techniques, such as x-rays, may be used to diagnose a suspected broken bone.
Types of Breaks and Fractures
There are several different types of bone breaks that may occur in a car accident.
First, it should be noted that the terms “fracture” and “break” may be used interchangeably. Medically, they mean the same thing.
The primary categories of fractures are:
- Open fracture: The bone breaks through the skin. There is a higher risk of infection with this type of break.
- Closed fracture: The broken bone does not penetrate the skin.
- Displaced fracture: The bone breaks into at least two pieces, which have become misaligned.
- Nondisplaced fracture: The bone is broken, but remains aligned properly.
There are also specific types of fractures that only affect children:
- Growth plate fractures may actually result in shorter bones as the child develops.
- Buckle fractures are caused by two bones being compressed into each other.
- Greenstick fractures occur when a bone bends but does not actually break.
Treatment for Fractures
Depending on the severity and location of the fracture, treatment options may include:
- Physical rehabilitation
- Administering pain medication
- Administering antibiotics (primarily to prevent infection in open fractures).
The expense of these treatment options may be thousands and thousands of dollars. However, accident victims may be able to seek compensation for these expenses by filing a personal injury claim.
An experienced California personal injury attorney is able to evaluate a claim and assess what types of compensation may be available.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Generally, there are two years from the date of an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. This deadline is called the statute of limitations.
If a claimant fails to file a lawsuit by this deadline, the claimant will likely be barred from recovering any damages from the at-fault party. The claimant will be responsible for all damages caused by the incident, including medical expenses.
Because the first step of a personal injury claim is usually to negotiate with the insurance company, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident. Obtaining medical records, bills, and other types of evidence may take several weeks or longer as well.
If a claimant prevails in a personal injury claim, the following types of damages may be available:
- Medical expenses, including the estimated cost of future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of employment benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Other types of damages may also be available, depending on the facts of the case. Your California car accident attorney will ensure that all routes of recovery are explored so that you receive the maximum amount of damages available under the law.
Call Kuvara Law Firm Today to Discuss Your Claim
At Kuvara Law Firm, our San Rafael, California personal injury attorneys are experienced in car accident claims, including those that involve broken bone injuries.