Most people can identify a fracture as a breakage of some type, whether that is a complete fracture or a partial fracture. But what exactly is the medical definition of a fracture?
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), a fracture is “a broken bone. A bone may be completely fractured or partially fractured in any number of ways (crosswise, lengthwise, in multiple pieces).”
But the severity of a fracture depends upon the impact of the force that causes the breakage. In some instances, the initial force is great enough to cause the bone to pierce through the skin, which can create complications.
Types of Fractures
There are five common types of fractures that can occur:
- Stable fracture – With this type of fracture, the ends of the broken bone are only slightly out of place, making it easier for healing to take place in a short period of time.
- Compound fracture – With this type of fracture, the broken bone often protrudes from the person’s skin.
- Transverse fracture – Characterized by a horizontal break line.
- Oblique fracture – Characterized by an angled break line.
- Comminuted fracture – With this type of fracture, the broken bone is splintered into three or more pieces. These are serious fractures, especially if the fracture pierces the skin, because of the high risk of infection.
When Do Fractures Become Life Threatening?
Most of the common types of fractures are painful and may require surgery and a long recovery period, but there is one type of fracture that can be life-threatening: rib fractures.
Rib fractures often result from car accidents, and according to the Mayo Clinic News Network, “rib bones moved out of alignment can cause life-threatening complications including punctures and damage to the lungs and other critical blood vessels or organs. About 19 percent of older adults who sustained fractures of three or four ribs died from complications, according to one study.”
Other risks of rib fractures include bruising and swelling of the lungs, and bleeding into the lung, which may require surgery, blood transfusions or even the use of a lung machine to help a patient breathe normally.
Common Fractures Resulting From Car Accidents
Some of the most common types of fractures that result from a car accident include arm fractures, head fractures and pelvic fractures.
Pelvic fractures are one of the more serious types of fractures victims suffer after a car wreck, and in high-impact accidents, they can lead to problems with ruptured blood vessels and internal bleeding that requires surgery.
The reason, according to the AAOS, is that, “major nerves, blood vessels, and portions of the bowel, bladder, and reproductive organs all pass through the pelvic ring. The pelvic protects these important structures from injury. It also serves as an anchor for the muscles of the hip, thigh, and abdomen.”
What Are Some Key Factors In a Fracture Claim?
If you’re filing a claim against a third party you believe is responsible for a fracture or broken bone, there are several factors that will come into play during your legal action. Clear evidence – such as imaging reports, which includes X-rays and MRIs – can help shore up your claim by showing the damage that was caused by a third party.
But as every case is different, merely having evidence of a broken bone does not necessarily mean that you can convince a jury that the injury was caused by a third party.
A successful claim requires dogged investigation and the expertise of an experienced personal injury law firm to find witnesses and to put all the evidence together.