If you suffered a broken bone in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, you can file a claim for compensation. Although compensation will not heal a broken arm or leg, it can help pay for the treatment you need that can help you heal.
Let our South Bend-area auto collision lawyers help you file a claim. Our experienced attorneys are prepared to negotiate with the insurance company to recover a favorable settlement. If the insurance company does not cooperate, our attorneys are also prepared to take legal action on your behalf.
Below, we discuss some of the most common types of bone fractures that occur in car crashes, who may be liable and what your legal options may be after a crash.
What Are the Common Types of Bone Fractures After a Crash?
The collision of two or more vehicles at any speed can cause physical trauma, no matter how minor. In some accidents, the force of impact may result in broken bones. Some common types of fracture injuries caused by a crash include the following:
- Arm fractures – These fractures may occur if a vehicle occupant uses his or her arms to brace for impact. For example, when a driver braces his or her arms on the steering wheel while anticipating a frontal collision.
- Leg fractures – If the front of a vehicle is crushed by the impact of a collision, as the space between a person’s seat and the dashboard is constricted, occupants can suffer fractures to their lower or upper legs.
- Collarbone fractures – These are some of the most common fractures in many types of auto accidents, as the seatbelt goes right over this area of the body. The combination of the tightening of a seatbelt with the force of impact could result in significant pressure on the collarbone and cause a fracture.
- Rib fractures – As with collarbones, the seatbelt goes right over parts of a person’s ribs, so a fracture can easily occur in an accident. These fractures can also happen in T-bone collisions when the sides of a vehicle are impacted, and the person’s ribs are vulnerable to the impact.
- Skull fractures – Fractures to the face or head are also common due to airbags or the way a vehicle is impacted, as a person’s head or face could hit a window, steering wheel or even the dashboard of the vehicle.
If a person gets ejected from a vehicle or hits the pavement due to being ejected from a motorcycle, he or she may break multiple bones.
There are also different levels of severity when someone suffers a broken bone. For example, someone may suffer a clean break, which is when the fracture did not result in any misalignment of the fragmented pieces of bone.
There are more severe types of fractures, such as the following:
- Open fracture – when the broken bone penetrates the outer layer of skin
- Complete fracture – when the broken bones separate into two or more pieces
- Displaced fracture – when there is a gap between the two broken ends of a bone
Even a partial fracture is possible. This includes hairline and stress fractures. These injuries may require less treatment and more rest to heal.
How Do Broken Bones Impact the Value of an Accident Claim?
The more damages you suffer because of your bone fractures, the more your claim is worth.
Some of the damages you may experience after a crash resulting in a broken bone include medical bills and lost time at work.
You may also experience physical pain from the injury and emotional suffering if it keeps you from partaking in activities you enjoy. Compensation for pain and suffering should also be included in your claim against the liable party.
What Medical Expenses Can Be Compensated for Broken Bones?
Depending on the severity of your fracture, you may need extensive medical treatment. Some of the following expenses may be required if you suffered a broken bone in a car accident:
- Diagnostic tests like X-rays to determine the extent of a fracture
- Casts, arm splints or braces to stabilize a broken bone
- Crutches, scooters or wheelchairs to help with mobility after a broken leg or legs
Displaced fractures often require surgery, which could result in additional medical bills, including the following:
- Hospital stay
- Facility fees
- Surgeon’s fees
- Pre-surgery consultations
- Post-surgery visits with surgeon
Then there are the costs associated with continuing treatment like physical therapy that may be necessary with or without surgery.
What Lost Wages Can I Recover After a Broken Bone Injury?
If you are unable to work for an extended period after suffering a broken bone, you should also be able to recover the income you lost during that time.
In some cases, accident victims with a broken bone may be able to use their paid leave to take the time needed to get better. However, you may also be able to recover compensation for the value of those Paid Time Off (PTO) hours.
Although your employer cannot be forced to reinstate your PTO, the liable party could be forced to pay for the value of those PTO hours.
Who May Be Liable for My Broken Bones After a Crash?
Indiana is an at-fault state. This means accident victims can file a claim with the liability insurance of the driver who caused the collision.
If more than one party is responsible for the crash, then the person who suffered the injury may be able to file a claim with each at-fault party when compensation from the majority liable party is not enough.
For example, if two drivers simultaneously ran a red light and crashed into a vehicle in the intersection, the driver of said vehicle may have a case against both other drivers. However, whichever vehicle hit him or her and caused the broken bone would be more liable. If that driver does not have enough insurance to cover the costs of damages suffered, then the victim may be able to file a claim against the second driver.
How Can I Prove a Broken Bone is the Result of a Crash?
It is generally easier to directly connect a broken bone to an accident than a back or neck injury. This is mostly because it is easier to prove a bone was not broken before an accident.
So long as you seek immediate medical treatment, your medical records should be sufficient evidence to prove your broken bone is a result of the collision.
If you wait too long after the crash to get medical attention, the insurance company may try to say a fracture was caused by something else.
Can I File a Lawsuit After Suffering a Broken Bone in a Crash?
Yes, you can file a lawsuit if you suffered a broken bone in a crash caused by someone else.
The first legal step after a crash is to file a claim with the insurance company. If your attorney can negotiate a settlement that covers all your damages, this may be the end of the case.
However, the insurance company is not likely to make a reasonable settlement offer right away. They may not even be willing to negotiate. This is when filing a lawsuit may be necessary.
Call Us Today if You Were in a Vehicle Crash
If you need help filing a claim for a broken bone after a crash, call us today. The experienced attorneys at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak are prepared to negotiate with the insurance company or file a lawsuit to recover the compensation you need.
We work on a contingency basis, which means we do not get paid unless you do. Therefore, it is in our best interest to fight for maximum compensation for you.
Call (844) 678-1800 to schedule a free consultation.