Fractures and Dislocations

Fracture and dislocation injuries are one of the more common injuries that result from car, motorcycle, biking, pedestrian and other accidents.  Fractures refer breaks to bones while dislocation generally refers to a joint being forced out of its natural position in the body.  Fractures can occur to any bone in the body while dislocations can occur at any joint in the body.  

Fractures can vary greatly in severity.  In some instances a person can suffer a hairline or very small fracture that can go unnoticed immediately after an accident.  Hairline fractures are not complete or displaced breaks of a bone. While they are typically the least severe type of fracture, they can certainly lead to ongoing pain and difficulty in using a certain limb or part of the body.  On the other end of the spectrum in the most severe cases, bones can be broken or crushed completely and break in one or more locations and in to multiple pieces.  These injuries are typically much more severe and can result in temporary or permanent disability and severe pain.  

Types of fractures that often occur in roadway accidents whether motorist or pedestrian collisions include the following:
  • Greenstick Fractures- an incomplete fracture where a bone is bent as opposed to a clean break.  This injury is often seen in children as their bones are more pliable and less brittle
  • Comminuted- this is where a bone breaks into more than one pieces
  • Oblique- this is where a break has a curved pattern as opposed to straight across
  • Hairline-  as stated above, these are the smallest fractures which can result from stress to a bone over time or trauma such as in a car accident
  • Transverse fracture-  a fracture that results in a right angle to a bone’s axis
  • Buckle fracture- also called an impacted fracture where two ends of a bone are forced into one another

Fractures can also lead to other serious or life threatening complicaitons.  This can occur if the fractured bone punctures an organ or damages nerves or blood vessels or other surrounding tissue. Accordingly the pain can be excruciating and the long term effects very severe. Severe injuries to bones can result in permanent disability and pain in the some circumstances.  When this occurs, there can be life changing impacts on your appearance, family, work, and overall enjoyment of life. 

Dislocations are differ in that they refer to an injury to a joint as opposed to a bone.  However they can be just as severe as a fracture.   A joint is where two bones come together and if those bones are forced out of their natural position, a dislocation results.  Dislocations most commonly occur in the shoulders and fingers.  However some of the more severe occur in the elbows knees and hips.  In many, circumstances they can return to normal function in a few weeks.  However, oftentimes times dislocations result in a person being more prone to the same injury in the future. 

Both dislocations and fractures can require reduction whereby a doctor’s attempts to manipulate the bone or joint back into place.  In some instances surgery is required followed by  physical therapy, occupational therapy, and/or other treatment.  In the most severe cases, both can result in permanent and debilitating effects.  From an insurance and legal claim standpoint, the short and long term treatment and effects need to be thoroughly understood and adequately addressed when dealing with such an injury, regardless of the severity. If not, an Iowan that suffers a dislocated hip, a compound tibia fracture or other such fracture is at risk of losing the compensation that an insurance company is required to pay under Iowa law.     

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