Traumatic car accidents are a leading cause of broken bones. Accident victims can suffer fractures in their upper and lower legs, hips, and other parts of the body, and these may require medical help and long-term care. In many cases, a victim is able to receive compensation for their broken bone. Compensation can be given through an insurance company as well as the party responsible for the accident.
How Do Bones Break in Auto Collisions?
Bones can break during collisions when drivers and passengers slam into windows or dashboards. They can also fracture when they are hit by loose items in the vehicle or when airbags deploy. It is also common for people to be slammed forward into their seat belts or be thrown backwards or forwards inside the vehicle.
In other kinds of auto accidents, victims are compressed inside of their vehicles. They can also end up twisted or bent into unnatural positions, which can fracture or break bones. In other crashes, the ejection from automobiles can cause broken bones when victims hit the ground or stationary objects.
What are the Categories of Broken Bones?
There are different categories of bone fractures, and some injuries are more severe than others. The different categories of broken bones include:
- Committed Fractures: This is when the bone shatters into fragments after two bones are forced together by impact. These fractures are very serious and can involve prolonged medical treatment.
- Oblique Fractures: These fractures present as diagonal breaks in the bone.
- Spiral Fractures: These occur when bones are rotated to the point where they break or splinter.
- Avulsion Fractures: These injuries are harder to treat. Avulsion fractures involve ligaments or tendons being torn from the bone.
- Compression Fractures: This fracture happens when the bone becomes flattened.
- Transverse Fractures: These fractures can be less complicated to repair because they are usually straight breaks without fractures.
How Do I Know if a Bone is Broken?
It is best to seek medical care immediately after an accident, even when there are no obvious symptoms. Untreated injuries can worsen in time if they are not treated, and it can also be harder to make insurance claims as well. The provider could assert that the injuries actually occurred after and not during the accident.
An obvious sign of a bone fracture is significant pain. If the pain is not especially severe, it might worsen when the person moves or touches the area. Other signs to look for include discoloration, bruising, and swelling. An inability to bear weight is another symptom of a broken bone. There might also be tingling or numbness. In serious cases, there could also be a visible deformity or visible bone exposure.
Bone fractures are diagnosed through imaging scans, and the extent of the injury will dictate the type of treatment. It can take weeks or months to heal, and during that time, the bone will need to be kept in place without much movement. Minor breaks may only require a sling or some sort of cast. There may be frequent follow-up visits and imaging scans. Complex fractures may also require internal or external fixation or open reduction. Physical therapy may be needed afterwards to help patients return to their former ranges of motion.
How Do Delaware Laws Affect Car Accident Claims?
In Delaware, all motor vehicle accidents must be reported, even if no one was hurt. Failing to report a crash can lead to fines. If there were injuries or fatalities, not reporting the crash could lead to serious charges. Delaware drivers are also required to have liability and no-fault driver insurance. The minimum policy amounts in Delaware include:
- Bodily Injury Protection: $15,000 per person, per accident and $30,000 per accident.
- Property Damage: $10,000 per accident.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $15,000 per person, per accident and $30,000 per accident.
- Death: $5,000 for funeral expenses.
In a serious car accident, these amounts may not be enough to cover a victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, long-term care, and pain and suffering. This is why some victims choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. The PIP law stipulates that Delaware residents injured in motor vehicle crashes can claim damages under their own policies. Once that amount is used up, private health insurance takes over.
Health insurance policies have co-pays and deductibles, and in Delaware, the bills paid by a private health insurance company may be claimed if there is a car accident lawsuit afterwards. However, the injured person may not claim any bills that were paid by the auto insurance provider or an out-of-state PIP policy. If a car accident lawsuit is successful, the plaintiff may be able to receive compensation for all their medical bills above the PIP insurance. This may hold true even when payment was already received from the plaintiff’s health insurance provider.
Gathering Evidence for a Claim
In Delaware, there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit. To begin filing suit, an injury victim may want to reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer. Once the case is reviewed, an evidence-gathering phase may take place. Proof of the accident and injuries include photographs of the injuries, property damage, and accident scene. In some cases, investigators are brought in to gather additional information before, during, or after a suit is filed.
Plaintiffs should keep accurate records of their medical tests, diagnoses, treatment, and related expenses. A journal of all the treatments and procedures can also be helpful for this. It can also include any emotional impacts from the accident, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What Must be Proven in a Car Accident Lawsuit?
It is difficult to estimate car accident settlement amounts since many factors go into the court’s decisions. To prove that a defendant is liable for a car accident, the plaintiff’s side must show the following:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care but breached that duty.
- If the defendant had not breached their duty, the plaintiff would not have been hurt.
- The accident victim also needs to prove that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the injuries.
- There were injuries or another type of loss.
Delaware car accident victims are permitted to make claims for past and future medical bills in lawsuits. It is not unusual for these bills to stretch well beyond $50,000, and with the proper documentation, a plaintiff may have a chance for recovering these costs. People who are unable to work because of their injuries can also make claims for past and future lost wages. Some individuals suffer injuries severe enough to prevent them from returning to work for long periods of time or permanently.
Damages for pain and suffering are more difficult to determine and usually depend on the scope of the plaintiff’s injuries, treatment, and healing time. A court will also look at how the victim’s life was impacted and the long-term prognosis. The patient’s future pain and suffering may also be taken into account if the injuries are serious enough.
Additionally, contributory negligence also comes into play in car accident lawsuits. If the plaintiff contributed to the accident in some way, the amount of damages they receive will be reduced or even denied. For this reason, it is crucial to hire a lawyer after a collision.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Collision Victims Suffering from Broken Bones
Broken bones are common in car accidents, and they can be serious injuries. If you have a broken bone that was caused by a negligent motorist, a Delaware car accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can determine if you are eligible for compensation. For a free consultation, call us at 302-888-1221 or complete our online form. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including Dover, Newark, and Middletown.