One type of injury that can happen in a car accident is a broken collarbone, also referred to as a clavicle fracture. The impact of this injury depends on the nature of the break, where it occurs and its severity. Regardless, accident victims can pursue compensation via a car accident claim to cover costs of treatment and more.
Common Types of Collarbone Fractures Sustained in a Car Accident
There are three different areas in which fractures occur on the collarbone, as noted by Drugs.com. The outer third of the collarbone is common in accidents where there is direct impact near the tip of the shoulder, according to the website. This is also called a distal clavicle fracture and a common example of an accident including one would be a driver or passenger strikes the dashboard in a car crash.
The least common is when the collarbone is fractured near the breastbone. However, when they do happen it’s the result of a direct blow; for instance, someone’s chest hitting the steering wheel during a crash.
Although it’s the most common type to sustain, fractures in the middle of the collarbone are usually caused by falls or when someone overstretches his or her arm; for instance, a bicyclist who is struck and attempts to break his/her fall.
In a severe injury, the fractured bone might pierce through the skin (compound fracture). Or it could penetrate through blood vessels, nerves or the lungs. These are more severe injuries that could lead to additional complications, such as infection or breathing difficulties.
Symptoms and Treatment of a Broken Collarbone
The following are signs that could indicate someone has suffered a fractured collarbone:
- difficulty moving arm/shoulder;
- shoulder slumps inward, forward or downward; and
- abnormal bump or contour of the collarbone.
A minor facture may heal without surgery. But it will take a few weeks to restore range of motion in the shoulder. When surgery is required, recovery can take several months. Metal screws, pins and plates are used to reposition the bones so they are properly aligned. The hardware usually isn’t removed but sometimes it becomes necessary if they cause problems.
Other forms of treatment may include a sling to support the arm, medication for pain and physical therapy to strengthen the affected side and improve range of motion. Most people successfully recover from a broken collarbone.
Seeking Compensation if Another Person Was at Fault for the Car Accident
When injuries are minor, most people file an insurance claim on their own. This could be the case for a broken collarbone that doesn’t require surgery. However, when the injuries are serious, it’s important to seek legal counsel.
An attorney can make sure a claim adequately addresses all losses. This may include the medical bills for surgery and physical therapy and any missed time from work. There may be compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress and more.
Review the compensation available by consulting attorney D.J. Banovitz in the Aurora area. Call 303-300-5060 to set up a consultation.