Automobile accidents are often very traumatic events. The force of a collision between two vehicles can be significant with enough power to easily break or fracture bones. Even a small and seemingly minor fracture can require a prolonged recovery—one that may require time away from work, extensive physical therapy, and even surgery.
Broken Bones and Car Accidents
Bone fractures typically fall into one of the following categories:
A fracture is considered open if the bone breaks and pierces the skin. Open fractures may be further complicated if the injury becomes infected.
A fracture is considered closed if the bone breaks without piercing or breaking the skin.
A displaced fracture occurs when the bone breaks and separates into two or more non-aligned parts.
An open fracture occurs when the bone breaks, either partially or completely, but remains aligned.
Hairline fractures, or stress fractures, are defined as a small crack on or within a bone. In some cases, hairline fractures are characterized by severe bruising. While these injuries are most common among athletes, they can be caused by sudden impacts, too.
While certain types of fractures—such as open, displaced fractures—can be more severe than others, any broken bone could still be considered a significant injury necessitating a swift medical intervention.
What to Do if You’ve Broken a Bone in a Car Accident
Your first priority after any accident should always be ensuring the safety and physical well-being of yourself and any passengers. However, if you are able to remain at the scene of the crash, you could improve your chances of making a successful legal recovery by:
1. Call 911
Rhode Island requires that most accidents resulting in physical injury or property damage be reported to law enforcement within 21 days; crashes that cause death or render one or more vehicles inoperable must be reported immediately. However, even if state law does not oblige you to report a collision, you should still consider calling 911. If the investigating officer cannot determine fault, their report could still be used as evidence in court.
2. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
If you suspect that you may have broken a bone, a physician could diagnose and treat your injury, providing advice on how to minimize long-term damage. Additionally, seeing the doctor will generate the medical records needed to substantiate your injuries to the insurance company.
3. Collect Evidence
If you’re able to collect evidence, you could assist your attorney by taking pictures of the accident scene, documenting your visible injuries, and asking any potential witnesses for their full names and contact information.
4. Call an Attorney
You likely stand your best chance of recovery with an experienced Rhode Island automobile accident attorney on your side. Numerous studies have shown that car crash victims with legal counsel fare better in insurance negotiations and in courtroom litigation than car crash victims without representation.
Your Potential Damages After a Traumatic Rhode Island Car Crash
Your Rhode Island car accident attorney will help you calculate the totality of your economic and non-economic damages. This could include expenses for:
- Your past, present, and anticipated medical care
- Physical rehabilitation
- Prescription medication copays
- Lost income from work
- Lost vacation time or paid time off (PTO)
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Temporary or permanent disability
Rhode Island does not currently limit the damages that car crash victims could receive after being injured in an automobile accident that was not their fault. However, the Ocean State does have a strict statute of limitations that restricts how long victims have to file a claim for compensation. If you wait too long to take action, you could lose your right to receive a financial recovery.