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Understanding Wrist Fractures From Car Accidents

Car wrecks can often lead to painful wrist injuries

Wrist fractures are often sustained by victims of car accidents. In a crash, the force of the collision can cause the wrist to bend or twist unnaturally, causing bones in the wrist to crack or shatter. These injuries can happen in just seconds and can cause a significant disruption in the lives of victims for months or even years.

There are eight bones that form the wrist joint, which connects the bones of the forearm (radius and ulna) to the bones of the hand (metacarpal bones). These bones work together to provide stability, flexibility, and support to the wrist, enabling a wide range of movements.

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    Wrist fractures can result in pain, swelling, and tenderness in the affected wrist. Depending on the severity and location of the fracture, people often experience limitations in the wrist’s range of motion and find it difficult to grip objects. This can restrict their ability to perform certain movements or tasks that require bending, twisting, or rotating the wrist.

    The impact of a wrist fracture makes it challenging to perform tasks that require the use of the hands and wrists, such as typing, writing, lifting, or even simple activities like cooking or dressing. People who suffer a fractured or broken wrist in a crash may be unable to work or engage in daily activities.

    If you suffered a wrist injury in a car accident, it’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible. Then, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney to learn more about your rights and potential legal options for recovering compensation.

    How do car accidents cause wrist fractures?

    Wrist fractures occur when one or more of the bones in the wrist break or crack due to excessive pressure or trauma. Several factors contribute to the likelihood of sustaining a wrist fracture in a car accident, including:

    • Impact force: During a car wreck, the body may experience significant force as a result of the collision. When the hands are positioned on the steering wheel or brace against the dashboard upon impact, the force exerted on the wrist can cause bones to fracture, particularly if the impact is severe.
    • Bracing reflex: In moments of sudden impact or collision, people in a vehicle often instinctively brace themselves by extending their arms in front of them or gripping onto the steering wheel tightly. This reflexive action can increase the vulnerability of the wrists to fractures as they absorb much of the force from the impact.
    • Airbag deployment: Although airbags are designed to reduce the risk of injuries during a collision, their deployment can also cause wrist fractures, especially if the hands are positioned in front of the airbag. The rapid inflation of the airbag can forcefully push against the hands and wrists, leading to fractures or other injuries.
    • FOOSH: This stands for “Fall Onto Outstretched Hand.” If a driver or passenger is thrown from the vehicle or falls out of it, they may instinctively reach out with one or both hands to break the fall and protect themselves. This action can result in wrist fractures.

    Types of wrist fractures seen in car wrecks

    Wrist fractures resulting from motor vehicle accidents can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the collision, the forces involved, and the position of the occupants within the vehicle. Types of wrist fractures can include:

    • Distal radius fracture: This is one of the most common types and involves the breaking of the larger bone in the forearm, near the wrist. In a car accident, the force of impact transmitted through the hands and arms, such as when gripping the steering wheel or bracing against the dashboard, can lead to a distal radius fracture.
    • Scaphoid fracture: The scaphoid bone is located on the thumb side of the wrist and is susceptible to fractures in car accidents, especially during a FOOSH injury. The scaphoid bone may fracture when the hand absorbs the impact of the collision, particularly if the force is directed towards the thumb side of the wrist.
    • Ulnar styloid fracture: The ulnar styloid is a bony prominence at the end of the ulna, one of the two forearm bones. Fractures of the ulnar styloid can occur in car accidents due to the transmission of force through the wrist, particularly in side-impact collisions where the hands may be thrown against the door or center console.
    • Colles’ fracture: A specific type of distal radius fracture, a Colles’ fracture involves a break in the radius bone with a backward displacement of the broken fragment. This displacement creates a “dinner fork” deformity where the wrist bends towards the palm.

    These fractures can vary in severity, ranging from hairline cracks to more complex breaks that may require surgical intervention.

    Diagnosis and treatment of wrist fractures

    A doctor will often discuss your accident and ask about your symptoms, pain location, and any limitations in movement. They may then gently examine your wrist for swelling, tenderness, deformity, and range of motion. X-rays are often ordered to provide a clear view of the bones and reveal the location and type of fracture. In some cases, additional imaging tests such as CT scans or MRIs might be necessary.

    The treatment plan for your wrist fracture will depend on the severity of the break and the specific bones involved. Common approaches include:

    • Non-surgical treatment: This is the preferred treatment for stable fractures where the bones haven’t significantly shifted from their normal position. The doctor will often manually manipulate the bones back into alignment and then immobilize the wrist with a cast or splint for several weeks to allow proper healing.
    • Surgical treatment: If the fracture is unstable (displaced bones) or involves complex breaks, surgery might be necessary. During surgery, the doctor will often access the fracture site through an incision, realign the bones, and secure them in place using pins, screws, or plates.

    Treatment may also include pain medication and physical therapy to help regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion.

    Can I receive compensation for a wrist fracture?

    After suffering a wrist fracture in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. This includes compensation for all current and future medical expenses related to your wrist fracture, lost wages if you were unable to work, and pain and suffering.

    However, the claims process in Tennessee can be complicated. Negligent drivers often deny doing anything wrong, even if they were clearly speeding or texting behind the wheel. Insurance companies may dispute the seriousness of your injury or argue that it was pre-existing in an attempt to limit the amount that they have to pay.

    How an attorney can help with your claim

    If you suffered a wrist fracture in an accident caused by a negligent driver in Tennessee, an experienced car accident lawyer can discuss your legal options and answer your questions. An attorney can also investigate your accident, gather evidence that proves negligence, and negotiate with the insurance company to reach a settlement that meets your needs.

    At the Law Office of Eric Beasley in Nashville, we know how the legal system works in Tennessee. If you choose us to represent you, you can expect straight talk about your situation, hard work to build a strong case, and real results to help you move forward.

    Learn more about how we can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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