"Should I have an Indiana attorney handle my broken bone claim?" No matter the type of accident, if your injuries include one or more broken bones, you should consult with an attorney before talking to or settling with the insurance company. The reason is simple: these types of cases can be valuable, and the insurance company's goal will be to settle your claim for less than what it's worth. You deserve to have your injury taken care of, and unfortunately, broken bones are painful and expensive to heal properly. Our personal injury attorneys can help you get the treatment and compensation to which you're entitled.
If you choose not to have an attorney represent you for your claim, it's likely you will experience one or more of the following:
- The insurance company will partially or fully deny your claim.
- The adjuster will ignore your calls, hoping you tire and go away.
- You receive an offer from the insurance company that is insulting or suspicious.
- You are told that your broken bone isn't a result of the accident or is the result of a pre-existing condition.
Our law firm has handled thousands of injury claims for clients that have sustained every type of broken bone imaginable. We know what you'll be up against if you try to handle the claim on your own. Even if you decide not to hire us, you should at least give us a call so that we can offer you free advice on how to best proceed.
Is There a Difference Between a Broken Bone and a Fracture?
Some people assume that a fracture is worse than a break, or that depending on which type of injury you've suffered, there might be different types of treatment. The truth is that "fracture" and "break" are used interchangeably and mean the same thing.
While there is no difference between a fracture and a break, there are many different types of fractures/breaks, each differing in severity and treatment options. Our office handles the following types of broken bone cases that are a result of a car accident, falls, or workplace accident:
Compound Bone Fractures
Many people have heard the term "compound fracture." An accident client that has suffered a compound break will sustain an injury that causes the bone to break through the skin, leaving it visible to the naked eye. In addition to the immediate damage to the skin and bone another concern with this type of break is the high risk of infection.
Compound fractures are usually caused by significant accidents like car accidents, falls, and sports injuries. Their severity is measured using the Gustilo Classification System. The Gustilo System places open fractures into one of three categories:
- Grade 1: This type of compound fracture occurs when the skin wound measures less than one centimeter. Because this is the smallest of the compound fracture types, it can sometimes be difficult to even determine if the skin is broken. If there is doubt, the doctor may inject fluid into the site of the break and watch to see if the fluid exits the wound area.
- Grade 2: If the break in the skin measures more than one centimeter, you have suffered a Grade 2 compound fracture. In almost every instance, this wound will be visible to the naked eye.
- Grade 3: This type of compound fracture has three specific sub-types and is designated for the most serious of compound breaks, which likely include severe damage to the bone and surrounding skin area.
Opposite of a compound fracture, if the bone does not penetrate the skin, yet x-rays or examination reveal a break, then you have suffered a closed fracture. Car accidents, falls, and sports injuries account for the highest percentage of closed break injuries.
Complete Bone Fractures
When the break spans the entire width of the bone, then you have sustained a complete bone fracture.
Also known as a "fissure fracture," this break is the least severe of the broken bone types. Hairlines fractures cause minimal damage to the bone and surrounding tissue. The crack will only cause damage to the outer layer and not completely through it.
Also known as an "impact fracture," this type of break usually occurs in a person's back. In an auto accident, or a fall, the vertebral column can be compressed until the pressure results in a break.
A spiral fracture results from a type of twisting motion that leaves the bone with a corkscrew-type break in appearance and runs parallel with the axis of the bone. This type of break is highly unstable and needs immediate medical attention. Without proper x-rays, a spiral fracture may be diagnosed improperly as an oblique fracture.
This type of fracture is severe yet not as common as other types of breaks. This type of fracture occurs when the break is an angle across the bone. The cause is usually a trauma that involves a sharp angled blow to the bone. These types of breaks are unstable and require immediate medical attention. They can also be easily misdiagnosed as spiral fractures.
Also known as a "segmental fracture," this type of break occurs when multiple fractures exist on the same bone, or when two bones are fractured at the same time (i.e., tibia and fibula). This type of break is often severe and will require surgical intervention.
A fracture that occurs in the proximity of a joint, and also results in displacement/dislocation of that joint.
The trauma that causes a fragmented fracture will often leave the bone somewhat shattered, breaking the bone into several pieces.
This is an incomplete fracture that leaves one side of a bone broken. The bone is "bent" and only shows a fracture on the outside of the bend. This is commonly seen in children and is considered a stable fracture, as the whole bone is not broken. Recovery time for this type of break is usually rapid if the bone is kept stabilized.
Transverse Bone Fractures
In this type of fracture the bone has been broken giving rise to a transverse break or fissure within the bone at a right angle to the long portion of the bone. It is most often caused by direct traumatic injuries.
How Does a Doctor Detect a Broken Bone Injury?
If the break is not visible to the eye, the x-ray is the most common way to determine if a person has suffered a broken bone. However, we have had several clients who suffered breaks that were not initially detected by an x-ray, and sometimes the results were somewhat questionable. This can be due to swelling in the surrounding area or misdiagnosis by the doctor.
Certain bones, like the ribs, may be especially difficult to examine for breaks with only one x-ray. If the scan isn't definitive, the doctor may order a series of x-rays from different angles to properly diagnose a fractured rib.
Another fracture type that can be difficult for a doctor to detect by x-ray is the stress fracture. A stress fracture is a very small break in a bone that may not be visible on an x-ray. Strangely enough, a stress fracture can possibly be detected with the aid of a tuning fork. (A tuning fork is a metal instrument used to tune musical instruments.) The tuning fork is placed on the skin over the bone in which a stress fracture is suspected, and if the patient experiences increased pain, a stress fracture may be present.
What Treatment Is Available for Broken Bones?
Before the doctor decides on a course of treatment for the break, there will be several factors that are taken into consideration, including:
- The severity of the injury
- How the injury occurred
- The location of the injury
- The age of the injured person
- The health history of the person
If the fracture is determined to be serious, several treatment types will likely be necessary. For example, anyone with a compound fracture will need to be treated for blood loss, as well as prescribed the appropriate antibiotics to defend against infections. There also may be several surgeries that are required to treat a compound fracture.
The primary goal in treating any fracture is to return the bone to its original position, if needed, and then stabilize the area. Bones begin to grow back soon after they are broken, so it is imperative that a medical professional examine and treat the trauma as quickly as possible.
In most instances, our clients only require a cast or splint to treat their broken bone. However, because some breaks are more severe than others, there is the likelihood that a bone will need to be "set," or placed back in its original position before being placed in a cast or splint. Once the bone is set and stabilized, it will begin to return to its former shape.
"Fracture reduction" is a procedure performed to re-position a bone back to its original location. If the reduction does not require the doctor to break the skin, then the procedure is known as closed reduction. If the break is severe, surgical intervention may be required. In this instance, the doctor will perform an open reduction.
Open reductions are commonly referred to as O.R.I.F. (open reduction internal fixation). This allows the doctor to surgically manipulate the bone until it is in proper alignment. Often, a patient will require screws, plates, rods or nails to hold the bone alignment in place while healing occurs. Depending on a doctor's recommendation, it may be possible that this hardware will remain in place permanently, even after the healing has completed.
Another form of treatment is known as "traction." Often times, movies will depict a person in traction as they lie in their hospital bed, connected to a series of pulleys and weights, their arms and legs held in mid-air. Traction makes use of the weights to provide a constant pull on a damaged bone. This constant pull encourages the bone to line up correctly and return to proper alignment. The time a person must spend in traction will depend on how long it takes the bone to grow back into its original position.
How Can Keller & Keller Help with My Broken Bone Injury Claim?
Our law firm has handled thousands of injury claims for clients who sustained broken bones. We're educated on the treatment paths prescribed by most doctors and our main goal is to help you recover the maximum amount of money from the insurance company to make sure you are compensated for your medical bills, ongoing treatment, pain and suffering, as well as any lost wages.
There is never a fee to speak to us and we work on a contingent fee retainer agreement. This means that we'll advance all costs associated with investigating and working your case, and we don't receive payment until we make a recovery for you.