Clavicle Fracture Lawyer
When you have been involved in a catastrophic accident, there is the possibility of suffering a broken collarbone. Also known as a clavicle fracture, this type of injury involves a break in the collarbone. They are common as they account for approximately five percent of all bone fractures in adults. What often goes undiscussed is the reality of a fractured clavicle from a catastrophic accident, as it is a debilitating and painful injury that may keep you out of work for days, weeks, or even months. With mounting medical expenses and property damage bills, you deserve to be compensated for your losses if someone else is to blame.
Suffering an injury, like a broken collarbone, in an accident caused by negligence may be stressful for you and your family. Our clavicle fracture lawyers are here to guide you through the legal process. Contact us for free, friendly case advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.
Our law firm has over three decades of experience handling personal injury cases in California against difficult insurance companies and entities. Recovering from a serious injury, such as a broken collarbone, is challenging enough without having to deal with the claims process. Let our clavicle fracture attorneys handle all aspects of your case on your behalf so you can focus on recovering and getting your life back on track.What are the Most Common Causes of Collarbone Fractures?
The common reasons for fractured clavicles include:
- Slip and fall accidents such as those involving a fall onto an outstretched hand or shoulder
- Sports injuries like blunt force trauma to the shoulder in the court, field, or rink
- Birth-related injury from passage through the birth canal
- Trauma from motor vehicle accidents
According to Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms of a fractured collarbone may include:
- Bruising, swelling, or tenderness
- Bulging on or near the shoulder
- Crackling or grinding sounds from the movement of the shoulder
- Inability to move the shoulder
- Pain that increases with moving the shoulder
- In newborn children, they may be unable to move the arm for days after suffering a collarbone fracture during birth
It is essential to see a physician immediately if you or your child experience the signs or symptoms of a fractured collarbone. Any delay in the diagnostic process and medical treatment may result in poor healing.What are the Potential Complications of Fractured Collarbones?
A fracture of the clavicle may heal without any difficulties. Conversely, some of the possible complications may include:
- Blood Vessel or Nerve Damage: A clavicle fracture may cause injury to nearby blood vessels and nerves because of the jagged ends of the bone. It is critical to seek medical care right away if there are any experiences of coldness or numbness in the hand or arm.
- Lump in the Bone: A severe collarbone fracture may lead to slow healing or incomplete recovery. This may result in a shortening of the bone during the healing process from the poor union of the bones.
- Delayed or Poor Healing: During the recovery process, the area in which the bone has knit together may form a bony lump. It is often visible because of its close proximity to the skin. While most lumps may disappear with time, some may remain permanent.
- Osteoarthritis: A break that may involve the joints responsible for connecting the shoulder blade or breastbone to the collarbone may increase the risk of arthritis in the affected joint.
Some of the potential risk factors for breaks in the collarbone include:
- Young age as the clavicle does not harden completely until the age of 20, putting teenagers and children at a higher risk of fractured collarbones
- Older people as the strength of the bone diminishes with age
While certain individuals face a higher risk of a fractured collarbone, such injuries may affect anyone.How are Clavicle Fractures Diagnosed?
The diagnostic process often involves a physical examination and evaluation of patient history. An X-ray is also useful to confirm the diagnosis of the serious injury, provide details on the classification of the fracture, prognosis, and potential options for treatment moving forward.How is a Broken Clavicle Classified?
A fracture of the clavicle is classified based on the location of the break. Following are the three types of broken collarbones, according to Hopkins Medicine:
- Most Common: In the middle of the bone shaft between the acromioclavicular (AC) joint and the sternum
- Second Most Common: Close to the AC joint
- Least Common: Close to the sternum
The most common treatment method for a fracture of the clavicle is the immobilization of either a figure-of-8 splint (special bandage) or sling. In most cases, a sling is recommended as studies have suggested that fractured collarbones heal just as well and quickly with a sling compared to a special bandage.
The sling is recommended over the figure-of-8 splint because use from the special bandage may result in discomfort from wearing nonstop for six to eight weeks. It may also result in body odor and skin problems as it cannot be removed during that period.
Another treatment method for a broken collarbone is pain relief with medication and cold therapy. Pain management medication through narcotics may be useful in the relief of pain from a broken collarbone. Some patients may need pain medication for several weeks following the injury to serve as a sleep aid. Conversely, it is recommended to apply ice to the affected area to decrease pain and swelling. This should be done every two hours in 15-to-20-minute sessions.How Long Does a Fractured Clavicle Take to Heal?
The duration of the healing process for the fracture of a clavicle may depend on various factors. This may include the age, location of the break, and the number of bone fragments. A fractured clavicle in a child 8 years or younger may heal in less than five weeks. In adolescents, it may take approximately six to eight weeks. It may take four months for a broken clavicle to heal in adults. However, it may depend on whether surgical intervention is needed.Is Surgery Necessary for Clavicle Fractures?
Most broken collarbones may be treated without surgery. When the broken bone presents with malalignment or displacement, surgical intervention may be considered to prevent problems related to fracture healing.
According to studies, the risk of lack of healing, or nonunion of a break, is particularly high when there is a poor alignment of the fracture. Some of the factors that orthopedists often consider when it comes to surgery may include the age of the patient, overall function and health, whether the traumatic injury is in the dominant arm, and the chances of fracture nonunion.
If the physician is concerned over the loss of function or a high possibility of nonunion, surgical intervention may be necessary. Some of the risks involved with nonunion of a fracture may include whether the patient smokes, comminution, displacement of the fracture, old age, and gender, particularly for females. Whether a patient is at a high risk of nonunion, because of their history, or because of the type of break, surgery may help reduce the risk of nonhealing. Consulting with a personal injury attorney in your area after an accident is essential. An attorney may recommend a top-rated orthopedic surgeon to decide the most appropriate treatment method for your broken clavicle.How Much is a Broken Clavicle Worth?
The value of a broken collarbone claim may be challenging to determine as it may vary from case to case. The factors that may influence how much the case is worth are the severity of the bone fracture, the chances of permanent injury, the types of treatment required, and whether surgery is necessary.
Other factors may include whether the injured party’s negligence or comparative fault may have contributed to the injury suffered in the accident. Conversely, preexisting conditions may also play a role in the value of the claim.Types of Compensation for a Clavicle Fracture Case
When a negligent driver, entity, or other party caused a fracture of the clavicle, they are responsible for compensating those injured by their wrongdoing. If an injured person brings a personal injury claim against the at-fault party after a catastrophic accident, they may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages. These may include:
The types of damages available to you will depend on the specific facts and circumstances involved in your case. Your clavicle fracture lawyer will determine the types of damages you may be entitled to when bringing a strong case for fair compensation on your behalf. For details on how to find the best California personal injury attorney to handle your broken collarbone case, watch this video.Importance of Hiring a Lawyer for Your Case
In a bone fracture case, the insurance company involved may extend an initial settlement offer in hopes of the claimant accepting without considering the full extent of their injury and damages incurred. In other situations, the insurance carrier may delay the claim to run out the clock on the statute of limitations applicable to the case.
Before speaking with the insurer, it is best to go over the details of your case with an experienced injury lawyer. An attorney with the experience, skills, and resources necessary in proving your case can determine which options are best in your situation.Get Help From a Clavicle Fracture Attorney Today
Our attorneys at our personal injury law firm have successfully handled cases on behalf of clients who have sustained fractured clavicles in accidents caused by negligence. Let our legal team put our decades of experience to work for you and your case today. Contact us for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.
Editor's Note: updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 4.14.23]
Photograph Source: By "Anna Shvets" via Pixabay
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