Car crashes are one of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries and amputations, as well as brain injuries. Given the elevated risk of catastrophic injuries, many people feel relieved when the only injury they have after a car crash is a broken bone.
Fractures or broken bones are theoretically among the traumatic injuries that are easiest to heal. Doctors can easily perform imaging tests that pinpoint the location of the break and can then set the bone to allow for optimal healing. Most people be back to full functionality within three or four months following a broken bone.
However, sometimes broken bones lead to permanent, debilitating medical conditions. What are two examples of why a broken bone could be a very serious injury?
A simple fracture could lead to a debilitating condition
Most people will notice the pain and discomfort from the fractured bone decreasing as they heal. However, in a tiny minority of cases, those with broken bones will notice that their injuries seem to worsen as time passes.
Sometimes, physical trauma results in the body healing itself improperly. People can develop a painful condition known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). There are no known cures for this condition, and it may continue to get worse over time. Those who notice changes in the appearance of the affected body part or who report worsening pain as the healing process progresses may have a condition that will eventually prevent them from working at all.
The fracture itself could be severe
Many broken bones are simple. The bone only breaks in one place. Sometimes, the fracture is even stable, meaning that the bone remains appropriately aligned despite the break occurring.
Other times, the break is severe. Spiral fractures involve twisting pressure, which could break the bone into many irregular pieces. Comminuted fractures may result in bone pieces so small that doctors can’t set the bone without surgical intervention. Such fractures can have permanent consequences for someone’s quality of life and overall physical abilities.
Unfortunately, people often rush to conclusions when their only injury from a car crash is a broken bone. They may settle their insurance claim well before they understand the extent of their injury and the costs it will generate.
Understanding the possible consequences of a broken bone will make you a better advocate for yourself after a serious car crash.