Despite the pain and negative effect on mobility, people sometimes consider broken bones minor injuries after a car crash. In theory, compared to the devastating impact of a spinal cord injury that causes tetraplegia or a brain injury that leaves someone on life support, a broken bone isn’t that severe.
However, a broken bone can have life-altering consequences for an individual. Not all fractures are simple and straightforward. There are at least three circumstances in which a broken bone could lead to severe medical consequences.
1. When someone has an open or compound fracture
A stable fracture may involve a clean, horizontal break across the bone that doesn’t move. In a compound fracture, the force that causes the fracture also pushes the bone through the muscle and skin, leading to blood loss and the risk of infection. Compound fractures pose an immediate risk to someone’s well-being and can cause lingering symptoms, including pain due to nerve damage.
2. When the bone breaks due to a twisting motion
Spiral fractures occur when there is a twisting force applied to the bone. Spiral fractures are often comminuted fractures, meaning that the bone breaks into many small pieces. These fractures can be particularly difficult for doctors to set and may require surgery.
3. When the person with the broken bone is very young or very old
Age can play a factor in how difficult it is to recover from a broken bone. Older adults often have lower levels of bone density and are at higher risk of worse fractures. They may take longer to recover from traumatic injuries than younger people.
Children, on the other hand, may heal quickly but are at risk for damage to their growth plates. Bad breaks might require extensive medical support to ensure that there isn’t a disruption to their healthy development.
It’s important that you never underestimate the long-term financial impact of an injury when considering the consequences of a car crash. Knowing the possible complications can help you ask for an appropriate amount of compensation when you get hurt in a collision. An attorney can help you learn more.