Car Accident Recovery: Compensation for Broken and Fractured Bones
Posted in Car Accidents on May 3, 2021
Car accidents are an incredibly common cause of injury in the United States. In 2020, there were approximately 65,000 injuries caused by more than 40,000 crashes in Louisiana. Of the many injuries car accident victims might suffer, broken bones and fractures are high on the list. While these injuries feel less severe, they are expensive and disrupt the victim’s life.
Read on to better understand broken and fractured bone injuries in a car accident, how to secure compensation, and the damages you should expect to recover.
Broken and Fractured Bone Injuries
A car accident victim’s body can take a beating, putting all bones at risk of a break or fracture.
- Wrist: If the victim braces for impact, a wrist break or fracture is likely. The human hand is composed of 27 different bones, so a wrist injury often involves multiple broken or fractured bones.
- Arm: Similar to the wrist, arm breaks and fractures are a common result of bracing for impact.
- Leg: The muscles of the leg are larger than bones in the wrist making them more able to withstand strain, but also means any break is likely to be serious. Femur breaks are especially likely to require surgery. These breaks and fractures are most common when a victim is pinned in the vehicle after an accident.
- Face: If the victim’s face strikes a hard surface during the accident, they could sustain breaks to facial bones including the nose, cheekbones, orbital bones, and jaw.
- Ribs: Broken ribs are particularly painful and have limited treatment options. A broken rib can also cause internal damage such as puncturing a lung which would require immediate surgery.
Dealing with a broken bone has the potential to seriously disrupt a victim’s day-to-day life and limit their ability to perform work responsibilities while the break heals. Serious breaks can require surgery, and rehabilitative or physical therapy is required for bones that don’t heal cleanly.
Establishing Responsibility for the Accident
If you broke or fractured a bone in an accident, work with your lawyer to determine who was at fault and to compile evidence proving liability. Any party whose negligent or intentional acts caused the accident are responsible for your injuries.
- Negligent Driver: One of the most common parties responsible for car accident injuries is a negligent driver. Any action by a driver outside the standard of care that a reasonable driver would use is negligent. Violation of a traffic law or regulation is strong evidence of negligence, including speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, and failure to follow traffic signs or signals.
- Employer: If a negligent driver was acting in the scope of their job duties at the time of the accident, the employer is responsible. An employer is more likely to have a robust insurance policy covering injuries and other damages caused by the accident. Work with your attorney to assess if an employer is responsible.
- Vehicle Manufacturer: Vehicle defects can cause accidents, such as faulty brakes or defective tires. In addition to causing accidents, a defect can exacerbate injuries, such as an airbag that fails to deploy. The vehicle manufacturer is responsible for any injuries caused or worsened by a vehicle failure.
- Local Government: Local governments are responsible for ensuring that roadways are well maintained and that traffic signs and signals function appropriately. A defective traffic light or unmarked hazard can easily result in an accident. Unfortunately, pursuing recovery from a government entity can be very complicated. Your lawyer can help determine if it is possible to secure recovery and to navigate administrative requirements.
An attorney will be an important partner in identifying the responsible party and assessing the strength of your claims.
Recovering for Damages
In addition to identifying the responsible party, you will need to prepare a damages demand that includes all the injuries you have suffered because of your broken or fractured bone(s).
- Medical Expenses: These are the first expenses that individuals think of when considering recovery for injuries. The defendant is responsible for all medical expenses including emergency transportation, doctor’s bills, and surgical procedures. Also include an estimate of future damages like rehabilitation or physical therapy.
- Lost Wages: As mentioned above, a broken bone can limit a victim’s ability to perform work tasks. If the job requires time on your feet, a broken leg makes that impossible. If you must do detailed work with your hands or spend your day typing, an out of commission wrist limits the ability to complete a task. The defendant is responsible for lost wages caused by your injury including an estimate of future lost wages.
- Property Damage: While you might be focused on your injuries, property damage is also common in car accidents. If your vehicle, or any other personal property, was damaged or destroyed in the accident, the defendant is responsible for the cost of repair or replacement.
- Emotional Distress: A car accident is a traumatic event, especially when it results in injuries that are painful and disrupt your life. If you have suffered from emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder after the accident, include appropriate compensation in your damages demand.
- Loss of Enjoyment: A broken bone can keep you from participating in activities that are an important part of your life. If so, the defendant must compensate you for the loss. As an example, if you regularly play a sport, a broken bone can keep you off the field for some time or permanently.
- Punitive Damages: While most damages are meant to compensate the victim for injuries suffered because of the accident, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for their bad actions. Louisiana only allows punitive damages in limited circumstances, such as drunk driving, so work with your lawyer to understand if the facts of your case warrant a request for punitive damages.
Take the time to prepare a comprehensive damages demand. This amount will be considered by the jury if your case proceeds to trial and is also an important benchmark for considering a settlement offer from the defendant or their insurance provider.
An experienced personal injury attorney will be a critical partner as you build a case against the negligent party and assess the full scope of your damages. Your lawyer will also help with practical and logistic components of the case, such as communicating with the defendant and insurance companies and preparing and filing court documents. The team at the Law Office of Redmann, LLC has a long history of helping car accident victims in Louisiana secure the recovery they deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case consultation.