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Broken Bones vs. Fractures: Everything You Need to Know About Bone Injuries

Nearly any kind of personal injury accident can lead to a broken bone. Many people underestimate the impact of a broken or fractured bone (essentially the same thing) on a person’s quality of life. Broken bones happen to thousands of people daily – about 7.6 million people break a bone yearly. 

If you’ve suffered a broken bone due to another’s negligence, the Jones Law Group is ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call (727) 571-1333  for a free consultation.

What is a Broken Bone?

People commonly use the term “broken bone” to describe a situation in which a bone has suffered damage or trauma to the extent that it can no longer maintain its typical structure and function. While this term is frequently used in everyday language, it’s essential to recognize that, from a medical perspective, the phrase “broken bone” is inaccurate. Doctors usually call this injury a “bone fracture.”

What is a Bone Fracture?

A bone fracture occurs when a bone sustains damage or experiences force to a degree that disrupts its structural integrity. This damage can result from various causes, including accidents, falls, impacts, and excessive stress placed on the bone. 

A bone fracture can range from a simple, clean break to a more complex injury involving multiple bone fragments. The severity and type of fracture often dictate the course of treatment and recovery.

Types of Fractures

Bone fractures come in various forms, each with unique characteristics and implications:

  • Simple (closed) fracture: In a simple or closed fracture, the bone breaks without open wounds or skin penetration. The fractured bone remains contained within the body, minimizing the risk of infection.
  • Compound (open) fracture: In contrast, a compound or open fracture involves the bone breaking through the skin, potentially exposing it to the external environment. This type of fracture carries a higher risk of infection due to the open wound.
  • Stress fracture: Stress fractures are hairline cracks in the bone, often caused by repetitive stress or overuse. They’re common among athletes and physically active individuals due to the repeated strain on particular bones.
  • Comminuted fracture: A comminuted fracture occurs when the bone shatters into multiple fragments. This makes treatment more intricate, as the bone pieces need to be carefully repositioned and stabilized.
  • Greenstick fracture: Greenstick fractures are typical in children, where the bone bends and partially cracks rather than breaking entirely. This occurs because a child’s bones are more pliable than those of adults.
  • Other types of fractures: Fractures can be further categorized based on their patterns, including transverse fractures (a horizontal break), oblique fractures (a slanting break), spiral fractures (a twisting break), and more.

Causes of Bone Injuries

Bone injuries can result from a variety of personal injury accidents, including:

  • Car crashes: High-impact collisions can subject occupants to significant forces, leading to bone fractures, particularly in areas like the limbs or ribs. More than 250,000 people suffered severe injuries in Florida car wrecks in 2022. It’s very likely tens of thousands of those injuries involved broken bones.
  • Falls: Falls from heights or slippery surfaces can result in fractures, often involving the wrists, hips, or spine, depending on the nature of the fall. About 20% of falls lead to a bone break.
  • Medical malpractice: In some cases, bone fractures can occur due to medical errors, such as improper surgical procedures or incorrect medical treatment.

Treatment Options for Bone Injuries

Immediate treatment for a broken bone involves immobilizing the injured area, elevation to reduce swelling, applying ice packs, and pain relief measures. Fast treatment is needed to help reduce the chances of complications. 

Depending on the nature of the fracture, immobilization may include casting (immobilizing the bone with a cast), splinting (stabilizing the bone with a splint), or surgery to realign and fixate the fractured bone fragments.

Physical therapy and exercises are also essential components of the recovery process. They help patients regain strength, flexibility, and mobility in the injured area. Adhering to the recommended rehabilitation plan is crucial for a successful recovery.

There’s a chance a bone injury could lead to various complications, such as non-union (when the bone fails to heal), malunion (improper healing resulting in misalignment), infections at the site of an open fracture, and chronic pain.

How to Prove Someone Caused Your Bone Injury

Proving that someone else is responsible for your bone injury is critical in seeking compensation for your losses. This process often involves gathering various types of evidence to establish the responsible party’s liability. Here’s a more detailed look at how to go about proving causation:

Medical Records

Medical records detail the extent and nature of your injury, the treatments you’ve received, and any diagnosis made by healthcare professionals. They serve as crucial documentation of the injury’s existence and severity.

Eyewitness Testimonies

Eyewitnesses who saw the incident that led to your bone injury can provide valuable testimonies. Their statements can corroborate your version of events and help establish the responsible party’s liability.

Expert Opinions

Depending on the complexity of your case, expert opinions may be necessary. For example, medical experts can testify about the cause and severity of your injury, especially if there is a dispute about how it occurred or its long-term effects. Accident reconstruction experts can also be employed in cases involving car accidents or other incidents to recreate the sequence of events.

Photographic and Video Evidence

If available, photographs or videos taken at the scene can provide visual evidence of the conditions that led to your bone injury. This type of evidence can be particularly compelling in demonstrating liability.

Recovering Compensation for Your Bone Injuries

After establishing liability, the next crucial step is to seek compensation for your losses due to your bone injury. This process typically involves working with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can provide guidance and support throughout the legal proceedings. 

The first step is to consult with an attorney who specializes in cases involving bone injuries. They’ll evaluate the merits of your case, explain your rights, and help you understand the potential compensation you may be entitled to.

Your attorney will also work with you to gather and organize the evidence to build a strong case. This includes all the documentation and testimony mentioned earlier.

Often, your lawyer will negotiate with the responsible party’s insurance company to settle. They’ll advocate to ensure you receive fair compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. About 95% of personal injury cases settle out of court.

If negotiations don’t lead to a satisfactory settlement, your attorney may recommend pursuing a lawsuit. In a court of law, your attorney will present your case, and a judge or jury will determine the outcome. 

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer ASAP to Learn More

A Jones Law Group lawyer will fight for your rights and ensure those responsible for your suffering pay the compensation you have coming. You can use our online form or call (727) 571-1333 for a free case review.

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio