Your bones provide structure to your body. When you break a bone, your body becomes unstable.
You will probably experience deep pain when you stress the broken bone. Even after it heals, you might still ache at or near the site of the fracture.
Read on for an overview of broken bones and the compensation you can seek for them.
Your musculoskeletal system includes bones and soft tissue. Bones have ossified tissue. Ossification occurs when your cells use minerals like calcium and phosphorus to build a lattice structure. This mineral lattice makes your bones rigid.
The soft tissue includes all the non-ossified tissue in your musculoskeletal system. Soft tissue includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage.
Your skeleton and soft tissues cooperate in providing structure, strength, and movement to your body. Your skeleton is the scaffolding that gives your body its shape. It also protects the body’s organs in your head and chest.
The soft tissue anchors to the skeleton. Ligaments hold bones together at the joints. Ligaments use their strong and elastic nature to guide your joints and provide the flexibility that allows them to move.
The skeleton provides leverage for your muscles to move your body. Muscles anchor to bones using tendons.
Cartilage lines your joints. The cartilage cushions your joints and allows them to move smoothly. When the cartilage wears out, the bones can grind against each other, causing arthritis.
Your bones also play a role in your circulatory system. Your bones have pores throughout for blood vessels. These blood vessels deliver oxygen to your bone cells. They also pick up new blood cells made in the bone marrow. These new red cells, white cells, and platelets replace the old blood cells filtered by the spleen.
Broken bones happen when a force on the bones exceeds the strength of the mineral lattice. This can happen in a few ways, including:
When something hits your body, it can strike with enough force to fracture your bones. Impact forces can come from an object that hits your body. For example, a car hitting your body in a pedestrian accident can fracture your bones.
Impact forces can also come from objects that your body hits. You can break bones in your arms when they strike the ground in a slip and fall accident.
Crushing forces occur over an area. As a result, crushing forces can fracture multiple bones or fracture larger bones into multiple pieces.
Crushing forces can happen in construction accidents. A common accident on construction sites happens when a worker gets crushed between a vehicle and either another vehicle or a stationary object.
Car accidents can also cause crushing forces. In a head-on or side-impact collision, the passenger compartment of your car can collapse and crush you.
Stress can cause bones to develop microcracks. If you rest, these microcracks heal. But if you repeat the motion causing the stress day after day, the microcracks will grow into a fracture.
Stress fractures often form the basis of workers’ compensation claims. Workers who walk, lift, and carry as a regular part of their jobs can develop these fractures.
Broken bones fall into different types based on three factors. These types help doctors determine the treatment needed and the prognosis for recovery.
A non-displaced fracture happens when the broken ends of the bone remain aligned. As a result, doctors only need to immobilize the broken bone with a cast to hold it in place as it heals.
A displaced fracture occurs when the broken ends of the bone move out of alignment after the accident. Before doctors can immobilize the bone, they must realign it.
To set a bone, doctors will either manipulate the bone from the outside or operate on it to realign it from the inside. If doctors need to perform surgery, they may hold the realigned bone in place using plates or rods. After setting the bone, doctors will immobilize it with a cast or brace until it heals.
A closed fracture happens when the broken ends of the bone do not break the skin. Non-displaced fractures are closed. Displaced fractures can be open or closed, depending on how far the broken ends of the bone displace.
An open fracture happens when the broken ends displace so far that they tear through the skin. When you have an open fracture, also called a compound fracture, doctors must treat the fracture and the open wound.
Complications from a compound fracture include nerve damage when the nerves get torn by the displaced bone. Compound fractures can also develop infections when bacteria get into the open wound.
The shape of the fracture can also affect its treatment and prognosis. In the most basic fracture, a transverse fracture, the bone breaks across its axis. This fracture looks like a straight line across the bone that breaks it into two pieces. These fractures usually heal in six to eight weeks with rest.
A comminuted fracture happens when the bone shatters into three or more pieces. When a bone breaks into three or more pieces, at least one separate piece floats in the injury site. Doctors must rebuild the bone surgically by reassembling the pieces and holding them in place with hardware. A comminuted fracture can take up to a year to heal.
You may be entitled to compensation depending on how you fractured your bones. You can probably seek workers’ compensation benefits if you broke a bone in an on-the-job accident. If you broke your bones in a car accident, New York’s no-fault insurance law probably entitles you to no-fault insurance benefits.
If your broken bones have resulted from another person’s negligence, you can pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. If you succeed in your claim, you can recover compensation to cover your losses, including medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Because broken bones take weeks or even months to heal, you might lose the ability to work or perform your daily tasks like driving, dressing, or shopping without assistance. To learn more about the compensation you can seek for your broken bones, contact our law firm Oresky & Associates, PLLC at (718) 993-9999 for a free consultation.