Broken Bones and Fractures
Broken bones and fractures can be incredibly painful and often impair your ability to work and independently carry out basic life functions for an extended time. Depending on the location and severity of the break, you may never return to full function. Auto accidents are among the leading causes of broken bones.
Atlanta car accident lawyer Stephen M. Ozcomert knows that recovering damages for broken bones is not always a simple task. While auto insurance companies will try to talk you into a quick settlement, it’s important to agree to nothing until you consult with an experienced injury attorney.
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reports there are between 115,000 and 135,000 serious injuries stemming from motor vehicle accidents in this state annually. Broken bones account for a substantial number of those.
Some of the various types of broken bones that occur in a crash include:
- Skull fractures (especially common with head injuries and traumatic brain injuries);
- Broken arm, wrist or hand;
- Broken leg, ankle or foot;
- Broken back (fractured vertebrae);
- Pelvis fractures;
- Broken facial bones;
- Broken sternum;
- Broken ribs.
It’s not uncommon for crashes to result in multiple broken bones, which can further complicate recovery and lengthen downtime. An attorney with proof of prior success in these claims is important.What is a Fracture?
As noted by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a fracture is a broken bone. These may be totally or partially fractured in any number of ways. Although bones are rigid, they will bend to some degree when outside force is applied. But when the force is too great (such as the force of impact that occurs in a motor vehicle accident) the bone will break.
The seriousness of the broken bone is typically dependent on the amount of force that caused it. So while a minor fender-bender may result in crack rather than a full break, a violent collision is likely to result in the bone shattering. These injuries are much more difficult to overcome, and may necessitate much higher damages.
The basic kinds of fractures are:
- Stable fracture. This is one wherein the broken ends of the bone line up and are hardly out-of-place.
- Open, compound fracture. This occurs when the skin is pierced by the bone or the impact broken the skin at the time of the break. The bone might or might not be visible in the wound.
- Transverse fracture. This occurs when the fracture occurs horizontally.
- Oblique fracture. This occurs when the fracture occurs at an angle.
- Comminuted fracture. In this situation, the bone has shattered in three or more pieces.
Trauma is the most common cause of broken bones, and motor vehicle accidents are a major catalyst.
Some indications that you may have suffered a broken bone include:
- Swelling and tenderness around the injury.
While it may seem like common sense to seek medical treatment after suffering a broken bone in a car accident, unfortunately, you may not realize it has occurred. Especially if you were involved in a low-impact collision, the existence of a fracture might not be obvious. That’s why we always recommend obtaining prompt medical treatment after an Atlanta auto accident, even if you don’t think you’ve been seriously hurt.
Broken bones need to be put back into place and immobilized long enough for them to heal.Liability for Broken Bones in Georgia Car Accidents
Georgia is a fault state when it comes to auto accidents. That means it is the responsibility of the driver who was at-fault to cover damages if you are injured.
However, state statute requires only that drivers be insured for $25,000 per person for bodily injury liability and $50,000 per accident. If you have suffered multiple broken bones or broken bones and other injuries, there is a good chance this amount will not fully cover your damages. In those instances, you may have several options, depending on the circumstances. You could:
- File a claim for uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage, which is coverage you pay for that offers additional protection when the other driver is not insured, unidentified or lacks adequate coverage;
- File a third-party liability claim for dram shop liability (possibly if the at-fault driver was drunk) against a bar or other establishment, seek redress from the owner of the vehicle (if different from driver) or file a claim against the vehicle manufacturer (if a vehicle defect was partially or wholly to blame).
- File a claim for workers’ compensation (if you were on-the-job at the time of the crash).
- File a claim for punitive damages (per O.C.G.A. 51-12-5.1) if there were aggravating circumstances (i.e., driver was drunk, extremely reckless, etc.).
You may have additional legal options. It’s important if you have suffered broken bones in an Atlanta auto accident that you contact an experienced and dedicated attorney.
If you have been injured in a Georgia car accident, contact Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Stephen M. Ozcomert at (404) 370-1000.