Fractures and broken bones result from a wide range of instances: defective products or drugs, workplace injuries, car accidents, and slips and falls, just to name a few. All, however, have potential to result in permanent damage to the injured party, along with decreased wages and future income, increased medical costs, and pain and suffering. The injured party may go through weeks or months of medical attention, with rehabilitation a possibility after.
Although legal cases take the situation into account, fractures and broken bones account for several types of injuries: compound, avulsion, simple, comminuted, buckle, greenstick, and hairline fractures to all parts of the body.
Which types of cases involve a broken bone or fracture?
Bone injuries and fractures prove to be a challenge for medical professionals to diagnose. As a result, a high percentage of medical malpractice cases focus on these injuries.
Specifically, 27 percent of misdiagnosis claims against emergency room physicians stem from bone injuries, while primary care physicians frequently face medical malpractice suits concerning misdiagnosed orthopedic injuries. For orthopedic surgeons, misdiagnosed or undetected femur fractures fuel a fair percentage of medical malpractice cases.
Throughout all of these, a basic standard of care concerning bone injuries is a radiograph, which does not always display a fracture. If a patient continues to complain about pain, doctors must continue running the procedure to detect a fracture before it worsens.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents – from being a driver in a car, truck, or motorcycle to being a pedestrian hit as you cross the street – frequently result in bone injuries and fractures. Severity varies, however. In minor cases, an automobile passenger may experience a wrist or hand injury during an accident, while twisting, rupturing, or stretching of the spine has potential to result in quadriplegia.
Between these extremes are injuries to the head, neck, face, upper and lower extremities, lumbar, hips, pelvis, ribs, and sternum. In the case of a broken rib or sternum, the injury may create further complications, such as a punctured lung or greater pressure on the heart.
The complex and stressful nature of labor may cause an infant to break a bone. Causes range from negligent medical staff to improper use of instruments to a child being born feet first.
However, birth injuries tend to be difficult to diagnose, but parents are advised to noticed if a child starts crying when a part of his or body is repeatedly touched, or if the child displays no movement. Even with adequate treatment, a child may experience growth, strength, and range of motion issues later in life.
When a doctor prescribes a patient a drug, it’s expected that the medication address the issue – not treat one condition and cause another. Recent cases concerning heartburn medications with proton pump inhibitors, including Prilosec and Nexium, and bisphosphonates, such as osteoporosis drug Fosamax, have shown that defective drugs may lead to broken bones or multiple fractures.
In the case of Nexium, plaintiffs who took the heartburn medication over a long period of time experienced injuries to the ribs, ankles, feet, wrist, and spine. Certain bisphosphonates, similarly, created brittle bones in the remodeling process that resulted in small, low-trauma femur fractures.
Faultily-designed products have been associated with broken bones, with trampoline and calorie-burning shoes coming under fire in recent years. Large-scale lawsuits against manufacturers revealed that poorly-designed products that didn’t live up to marketing claims resulted in multiple plaintiffs with similar bone injuries.
Other Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases concerning bone injuries go beyond the handful listed above. Other possible instances in which legal representation may be needed include:
- A broken bone or crush injury resulting from a dog bite
- Assault, battery, or other violent acts
- Sports-related injuries
- Slips and falls
- Playground accidents
- Workplace injuries, such as stress fractures and repetitive motion injuries