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After Accidents

When is a broken bone a catastrophic injury?

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2024 | Fatal Accidents And Catastrophic Injuries

Discussions of catastrophic injuries often focus on the most extreme injuries possible. Spinal cord injuries and brain injuries are common examples of catastrophic personal injuries. However, they are far from the only catastrophic injuries possible.

Catastrophic injuries result in life-altering consequences and permanent medical effects. Sometimes, injuries that people think are minor could actually prove to be catastrophic. For example, a broken bone could be a catastrophic injury under some circumstances.

How could a broken bone change someone’s life?

The human body can usually heal a fracture over the course of multiple weeks. If someone receives the right treatment and rests their body adequately, they can regain full use of the affected body part after they heal in most cases.

However, some fractures are far worse than others. People can experience comminuted fractures where the bone breaks into multiple pieces. They may require surgery just to set the bone. If a comminuted fracture occurred because of a crushing injury, it might be so severe that the body may never heal. Doctors may have to make the difficult choice to surgically amputate the affected body part.

Spiral fractures and compound fractures can also become catastrophic injuries. The body may never fully heal itself, meaning that someone may always have lingering pain symptoms or functional limitations. In rare cases, the fracture itself may be simple, but the body may heal poorly. Disorders like complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) can sometimes develop while someone heals from a broken bone.

People dealing with catastrophic injuries may have massive medical expenses and suffer long-term income consequences related to their injuries. Getting adequate compensation from a liable party after a catastrophic injury requires an understanding of how someone’s injury will affect their life.