Fracture Injuries In Queens

Fracturing a bone is considered to be the same as breaking a bone. There are two distinct types of fractures that a person can experience:

  • Open fractures: These cause the skin to tear, allowing for the bone to stick through the surface of the skin.
  • Closed fractures: The bones break, but remain under the surface of the skin.

The force and severity of an accident determines the seriousness of a fracture injury. Fractures can result in costly medical and hospital bills and lost wages for construction workers or those injured in car accidents.

A fracture is one of the nine qualifying "serious injuries" under New York's No-Fault insurance law for motor vehicle accidents. For a more detailed discussion of New York’s No-Fault law, click the link to get my FREE book, "WARNING! THINGS THAT CAN DESTROY YOUR N.Y. CAR ACCIDENT CASE (And the Insurance Companies Already Know These Things)."

Common Types of Fractures

Starting at the head and moving down to the feet, following are some of the kinds of fractures that accident victims may suffer.

Skull Fractures

Skull fractures are caused by a blow to the head. They can occur in motorcycle accidents and bicycle accidents, especially if the rider is not wearing a proper helmet. Skull fractures can occur in contact sports or in trip and fall or slip and fall accidents, where the head slams into the ground. On a construction site a falling object can cause a fractured skull, as can a fall from a height. Skull fractures are especially dangerous because they can affect the brain and cause brain injury or traumatic brain injury. A serious brain injury accident may affect the accident victim’s ability to reason or think or function as a member of society.

Click the link to see a medical drawing prepared for my client who broke facial bones when he fell off of a ladder. Click the link to see a custom medical drawing of the surgical repair of his facial bone fractures – but you are warned that this drawing may be disturbing to look at, as this client’s face had to be peeled down to expose his facial bones for surgical repair.

Broken Necks

Another way of saying broken neck is “fractured cervical vertebrae.” In severe cases, neck fracture accident can lead to nerve damage or causing temporary or even permanent paralysis, leaving the accident victim as a paraplegic or quadriplegic. A fractured neck requires immediate emergency hospital care. Surgery may be necessary to stabilize the vertebrae and relieve the pressure on the nerves. Broken neck accident victims suffering paralysis may require expensive rehabilitation due to paraplegia or quadriplegia. Click here to read my blog about a man who was sunbathing in a lounge chair on the beach at Long Beach, Long Island when a policeman responding to a call ran over him with his SUV fracturing his neck and ribs.

Broken Shoulder Blade (Fractured Scapula)

Moving down the body from the neck, we reach the shoulder blade. The shoulder blade is thick and heavy and hard to break. To fracture a shoulder blade requires an accident with great force, such as a motorcycle accident. Symptoms of a scapula fracture injury include swelling to the upper back and shoulder region and pain. Parts of the shoulder blade that can be broken or damaged include the scapular body or neck, as well as the corcacoid, and acromion.

More common shoulder injuries are tears in the muscles and ligaments or rotator cuff, that all surround the shoulder, hold it in place, and allow it to function. In the event of a scapula fracture other bones are likely to be broken as well, including the ribs and collar bone.

Collar Bone Fractures

The human shoulder is compromised of the scapula (shoulder blade) and the clavicle (collar bone). The upper arm bone, called the humerus, is joined to the shoulder blade socket to allow upper arm movement.

The collar bone, also called the clavicle, joins the shoulder to the sternum (chest bone). A clavicle fracture is a common injury, typically resulting from a fall on the arm and shoulder.

Rib Fractures

Rib fractures are common in a car accident or truck accident. A broken rib injury can occur in a bus accident, when the accident victim’s body is bounced around the inside of the bus because there are no seatbelts.

Any high impact chest injury can cause a broken rib. Fractured ribs can be dangerous because when the rib bone is displaced by great force, it may puncture a lung or other organ, cause internal bleeding and other complications.

Arm * Wrist

The arm extends from the shoulder to the wrist and consists of both the forearm and the upper arm. The forearm contains two bones, the radius and the ulna, and connects the wrist to the elbow. Both bones are important for proper motion of the elbow and wrist joints, and are important attachments to the muscles of the upper arm and shoulder. The upper arm contains a single bone, the humerus, and connects the shoulder to the elbow.

An arm fracture is a fairly common type of fracture seen in both children and adults that are in accidents. A humerus fracture is an injury to the bone of the upper arm. The upper arm bone, the humerus, connects the shoulder to the elbow. This type of broken bone is usually caused by motor vehicle accident, or fall onto the outstretched arm and hand.

The most common causes of forearm fractures are falls onto hand, car accidents and, unfortunately, child abuse. Sports where the forearm fracture accident victim can be thrown down with force onto his or her forearm can also result in a broken bone, such as skating, bicycle riding, motocross and contact sports, such as martial arts (e.g., karate) and football.

A type of broken forearm that happens near the elbow is known as a radial head, or olecranon, fracture. A radius fracture near the hand is now as a Colles fracture, after the doctor that first diagnosed it. Wrist fractures can be of just the radius bone and known as a radius fracture.

Breaking both the radius and ulna of the forearm will usually require surgery to repair, with metal plates and screws used to stabilize the broken bones. Click the link to see an x-ray of a client of mine who fractured both wrist bones in a motorcycle accident. Click the link to see a post-surgical x-ray of that same client’s wrist, showing metal plates and screws fixing both fractured wrist bones – and, if you look carefully, you can also see the staples closing the surgical incision.

Hand Fracture * Finger Fracture

Life without two goods hands is hard to imagine. Hands are a miracle of anatomy. Bones, nerves, tendons, and muscle create a movable, nimble, strong yet responsive package that enables us to interact with the world. With our hands we can work a computer keyboard, brush our teeth, or hold a loved one’s hand. The hand is composed of 27 bones, including those in the wrist. Hand fractures are usually as a result of a direct impact accident to the hand or a fall. A broken or fractured hand injury can have a terrible financial cost; a hand fracture accident victim can suffer not just pain and suffering, but economic loss from a hand fracture’s impact on his or her ability to earn a living.

Broken hand bones are sometimes known as metacarpal fractures. Finger bones are relatively fragile, and sudden and violent force can cause them to shatter, dislocate, or even separate from the body. A broken finger or fingers may seem like a minor injury, but without appropriate treatment it can cause major problems. The bones in a normal hand line up precisely, letting you perform precision functions like holding a pen or manipulating small objects in your palm. When you fracture a finger bone, it can put your whole hand out of alignment.

Broken finger bones are usually the result of direct stress to the finger or thumb, or, an injury to the hand. Common causes of thumb and finger fractures include: construction work injuries, such as from a power tool; Slamming a finger digit in a car door; falling onto your hand; jamming a finger or thumb; and, injury from sports.

Pelvis * Hip

The right and left hip bones form part of the pelvis. Hip fractures accidents are common among senior citizens who may be wobbly on their feet and have more brittle bones so they are more susceptible to a broken hip or broken pelvis injury. They can also occur in a high impact car accident, truck accident or bus accident. In the United States, broken hips are the most common fractures that require hospitalization; about 300,000 Americans are hospitalized for a hip fracture injury every year.

Hip fractures are generally separated into two types: intertrochauteric hip fractures and femoral neck fractures. Rarer are fractures to the actual hip bone itself. Intertrochauteric hip fractures happen lower on the femur bone than femoral neck fractures.

Intertrochanteric Hip Fracture

An intertrochanteric hip fracture occurs just below the neck of the femur. These fractures are usually repaired through surgery. The usual surgical treatment involves using a metal plate and screws to stabilize the broken area; this is also known as internal fixation.

A femoral neck fracture occurs when the ball of the ball-and-socket hip joint is fractured off the femur, or thigh bone. The femoral neck is located in the upper portion of your femur, just below its head, which is the ball part of the ball-and-socket joint. When a femoral neck fracture occurs, the ball is disconnected from the rest of the femur. Femoral neck breaks can be dangerous because they may threaten the blood flow to the affected area. A poor blood flow means that the fracture may not heal properly.

Click the link to see a medical drawing of a client of mine who had a pelvic fracture of a different type from the two I just mentioned. An X-ray will confirm if you have a hip or pelvis fracture and show where the fracture has occurred. Severe hip fractures may require total hip replacement.

Femur Fracture (upper leg fracture)

The femur is one of the largest, and strongest bones in the body. To break the thighbone takes a great deal of force, as might occur in a motor vehicle accident or a fall from a high place, such as a construction accident. Because of this, a broken thighbone is often associated with potentially life-threatening injuries to other body systems. If the fracture resulted from a serious trauma, such as a car, motorcycle, bus or truck accident, the accident victim might be unconscious and may have other injuries.

Fractured Kneecap or Patella (Patellar Fracture)

A knee fracture can be a break of any of the bones around the knee – femur (thigh bone), patella (kneecap), or tibia (shin bone).
A broken patella is an injury to the kneecap. The patella is lined with cartilage on its undersurface, and is important in providing strength of movement to the knee joint. A patella fracture most often occurs from a fall onto the kneecap, but can also occur in a car accident.

Tibia/Fibula Fracture (lower leg fracture)

Lower leg fractures include fractures of the tibia and fibula. The tibia (shinbone) is the larger of the two bones of the lower leg. Of these two bones, the tibia is the only weightbearing bone. Fractures of the tibia generally are associated with fibula fracture, because the force is transmitted to the fibula. In 75% to 85% of patients with tibia fractures, the fibula (the thin bone at the outer side of the lower leg) is fractured as well.

Of all the body's long bones, the tibia is the most likely to be broken and the most likely to pierce the skin when it fractures. This greatly increases the risk of bacterial contamination and infection at the fracture site, and may slow healing. Click the link to see an x-ray of my 71 year-old male client who fractured his left tibia, near the knee, and showing the bone repaired by surgery with metal plates and screws.

Ankle Fractures

The ankle joint is composed of three bones:

  • The Tibia
  • The Fibula
  • The Talus

The tibia and fibula run from the knee joint down to the ankle joint. The parts of the tibia and fibula that compose the ankle joint are:

  • The Medial Malleolus;
  • The Posterior Malleolus;
  • The Lateral Malleolus.

The most common types of ankle fractures are:

  1. Single bone fractures: lateral malleolus fracture, medial malleolus fracture or posterior malleolus fracture.
  2. Bimalleolar fractures: When two of the three parts or “malleoli” which make up the ankle are broken, the injury is referred to as a “bimalleolar” fracture. The most common Bimalleolar fracture involves the lateral malleolus and the medial malleolus and often results in an unstable ankle joint, where the ligaments on the inside (medial side) of the ankle have been damaged and this ligamentous injury occurs together with a fracture of one of the malleoli.
  3. Trimalleolar fractures: When all three of the malleoli of the ankle are broken, the injury is referred to as a Trimalleolar fracture. Trimalleolar fractures are unstable and are often accompanied by a dislocation. A trimalleolar fracture involves three bone surfaces: lateral malleolus (end of the fibula), medial malleolus (end of medial tibia), and posterior malleolus (distal tibia). Trimalleolar fractures frequently happen in a motor vehicle accident when the driver or passenger braces for impact. Treatment for this type of broken ankle may include surgery. Frequently screws and pins will have to be used to align and stabilize the ankle. The process of recovery can be long and difficult, leaving the ankle vulnerable to pain, stiffness, and arthritis.

Any of the above fractures can be “comminuted.” A comminuted fracture is one where the bone has been broken into more than two separate pieces or fragments. This type of fracture may require surgery to stabilize the broken bone(s).

Ankle fusion surgery may be necessary for accident victims who during their healing process encounter complications such as arthritis or severe ankle misalignment, also called “mal-union.” In this procedure, the ankle bones are fused using internal or external fixation to compress the bones so that the bones grow together or fuse. This usually helps to alleviate pain but also usually results in a decreased range of motion of the ankle joint(s).

Ankle Fracture

Calcaneal Fractures

The calcaneus is by the bottom and heel of the foot. It takes a great amount of force to fracture the calcaneus, such as a fall from a height where the person lands flatfooted on hard ground. Due to the amount of force, the damage from a broken calcaneus can be extensive, requiring surgery to go in and repair the calcaneus fracture injury.

Metatarsal Fracture (Broken Foot or Broken Toe Fracture)

Every day we place incredible demands on our feet to support our body and carry our weight while we go about our lives. Foot anatomy is very complicated; the foot is made up of more than twenty eight bones and twenty muscles. Damage to any number of these complicated support systems causes excruciating pain and inconvenience. A broken foot is not the most dramatic consequence of a vehicle accident, but a serious one nonetheless.

Fortunately, there are many attorneys experienced in broken foot accident and injury cases. Whether your accident was in Bronx or Queens, or from a car accident, motorcycle accident, bicycle accident, bus accident, truck accident or taxi cab accident, you need an experienced accident lawyer to help present the medical aspects of your case to the adverse insurance company or insurance carrier in the best way possible.

How Do Fracture Injuries Heal?

The time a fracture injury takes to heal depends on the severity of the fracture. Throughout the stages of fracture healing, the bones must be held firmly in the correct position. Most simple upper body fracture injuries heal in two to three weeks; lower body fractures tend to take more time, four weeks or longer.

Surgery is usually necessary for complex fractures that can’t be lined up correctly (“reduced”) by just casting or other non-surgical methods. This is especially true of fractures that involve joints. And badly aligned joint surfaces are to be avoided because of the danger of arthritis developing in the joint in the future.

Bone fracture repair is surgery to rejoin and realign the ends of a broken bone using plates, nails, screws, and/or pins. The bone fragments are aligned as closely as possible to their normal position without injuring the skin. Bone may be grafted to the fracture area to aid healing. In some cases, blood vessels and nerves are repaired with microsurgery.

Once the broken ends of the bone are set, the affected area is immobilized for several weeks and kept rigid with a sling, plaster cast, brace, or splint. With the use of traction, muscles pulling on the fracture site are neutralized by weights attached to a series of ropes running over pulleys. Strategically implanted electrical stimulation devices have proven beneficial in healing a fracture site, especially when the fracture is healing poorly and repair by other means is difficult.

Surgery often allows accident victims to regain movement and heal faster than non-surgical treatment. Your long-term prognosis or outlook depends on the severity of the fracture. Your time to recover damages may expire soon, so hire a lawyer in your area today.

For your serious personal injury, you need legal representation from a qualified Queens County personal injury attorney.

Contact us for your free consultation.

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