Arizona Broken Arm Lawyer
Most adults can look back on childhood and remember either having a broken arm or knowing someone who suffered at least one broken arm growing up. Broken arms always come with pain, discomfort, and frustration over the healing period. And that healing period can be even worse when you suffer a broken arm as an adult, or watch your own child suffer from a broken arm injury.
Broken arms can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, for treatment and recovery, and for adults, the healing time can also make it impossible to work and to earn a living. Broken arms are one of the most common injuries among all people of all ages. The commonality of these injuries is part of what makes them so frustrating for both the victim and for medical providers. The frustration only grows when the injuries were caused by the negligent actions of another person.
Having a keen understanding of how a broken arm injury occurs and how to make it through recovery can help you to not only avoid these injuries all together but also understand what to do to protect yourself from prolonged suffering if you suffer a broken arm injury.
If you need help understanding your rights, ensuring that your rights are upheld, or even if you just need to know whether or not you have a good case, the Arizona injury attorneys at the Breyer Law Offices, P.C. can help.
For adults, broken arm bones account for nearly 50 percent of all broken bones suffered each year. For children, the number is even greater, and only collar bone fractures exceed broken arms in the number of injuries recorded each year by medical professionals. According to medical reports, nearly all broken arm injuries are the result of a fall or a serious trauma to the arm. The four most common causes of broken bone injuries include:
- Falling. Slipping and falling on ice, slippery surfaces, or water are common causes of falling injuries that lead to a broken arm. However, falling off of objects, down stairs, or by tripping can also lead to a broken arm. This typically occurs when the victim reaches out with their arm or elbow to try to stop their own fall.
- Injuries while playing sports. Being "sacked" on the football field, or hit with a baseball thrown by a fast-armed pitcher are surefire ways to break an arm bone.
- Child abuse. Children are shaken, thrown, grabbed, shoved, or otherwise abused frequently suffer broken arm injuries.
- Other traumas. Being involved in a car crash, a bicycle accident, being hit by a car, or being involved in some other significant collision is often cause for a broken arm.
Broken arm injuries are especially problematic for the people who suffer them because it can impair, greatly reduce, or completely eliminate range of motion. Movement frequently causes serious pain and can even lead to further injury. Getting to the doctor immediately after injury or noticing the symptoms of a broken arm can greatly increase the chance of an easy recovery. Some of the most common symptoms of a broken arm injury experienced by victims include:
- Pain. If you feel pain when not moving your arm and the pain gets worse when you do move it, you may have a broken arm.
- Your arm starts to swell as your body tries to compensate for the injury and to begin repairing itself and protecting itself from further injury.
- Deformities where the arm has separated if there was a full and complete break.
- In serious cases of a broken arm injury, the bone may be protruding into the top layer of the dermis or through the skin completely.
- Inability to feel the arm or sites surrounding the injury, which is typically indicative of damage to the surrounding nerves.
- Bruising, redness, and warmth may also be present.
With children, it is important for adults to pay special attention to possible injuries. Some children may become very quiet when they have sustained a serious injury and may walk around with their arm limp.
If there's a possibility that you have broken your arm, you should go to the hospital or emergency room as quickly as possible. However, until you are able to get to a doctor, there are some things that you can do to prepare yourself for medical treatment and protect yourself from further injury. First, remember not to eat or drink anything until you're able to get to the doctor since you may have to undergo surgery and will not want to delay the procedure. Also, create yourself a homemade sling out of a towel if you do not already own a sling and avoid straightening out your arm. Don't forget to ice the area heavily to help reduce the pain and swelling that comes with the injury.
While most broken arm injuries heal fine after several weeks in a cast, and most people recover full function and feeling after just a few months, there are possible complications when you have suffered a broken bone. These complications are even more common for adult and elderly victims since their bones are less likely to heal properly.
- Osteoarthritis caused by fractures that happened in or around joints since these areas will almost always remain tender, even after complete healing has taken place.
- Limited range of motion at the shoulder caused by prolonged immobilization during the healing and recovery period.
- Injury to the blood vessels and nerves, which can greatly impact feeling and circulation. Without proper treatment, these injuries can lead to permanent damage, and in the case of reduced circulation, the loss of limbs.
- Uneven growth is especially prevalent in children when there is a fracture near the ends of the bones at the growth plates. This can cause serious problems down the road and result in the need for future surgeries.
- An infection in the bone is common when the bone protrudes through the skin after the accident, allowing bacteria into the wound and into your bone. Without immediate treatment, infections can cause death, the need for amputation and other life-threatening conditions.
Most people understand that the general treatment for a broken arm injury involves the broken arm being placed in a cast. But the full measure of treatment for a broken arm injury typically is dependent on the part of the arm that is broken, the severity of the break, the healing speed of the patient, and multiple other factors that are unique to each and every broken arm injury case.
While you can initially treat a broken arm at home in order to provide some measure of comfort until you can reach a medical care provider, it is critical that a broken arm injury be examined by and treated by a medical professional to ensure that proper measures are taken to avoid permanent damage. Before treating a broken arm injury, doctors take a set of x-rays in order to determine whether the break exists in ulna (outside of the arm between the elbow and the wrist on the little finger side), radius (inside of the arm between the elbow and the wrist), humerus (between the elbow and the shoulder), or more than one area. A break at the elbow may involve all three bones of the arm.
Once the injury location and severity is determined, doctors typically splint or cast the arm bone or bones that sustained injury. However, there are multiple treatments based on the injury itself. Doctors will nearly always be required to set the bone before putting it into a cast, and this frequently is accompanied by severe pain, a muscle relaxant, sedatives, or even being put under a general anesthetic.
Depending on the severity of the break or fracture, the victim will be required to wear a cast for a minimum of three to 10 weeks, and possibly longer, depending on their rate of recovery. Medications for pain, inflammation, and swelling are also common for victims in recovery from a broken arm injury, as is a regular course of physical therapy in order to regain strength in the atrophied arm, and restore range of motion. For the most serious cases, including open fracture broken arm injuries, surgery may be required. This is also the case with closed wound fractures that cause pieces or shards of bone to break off.
A broken arm is a broken arm. Or is it? If you hold a job where you are required to use your hands (nearly all jobs) you may be unable to work for the duration of your recovery, and may have a difficult time returning to work for weeks after you have begun physical therapy. This can be especially difficult for people with hard labor jobs or those who work on computers all day.
Daily activities also become profoundly difficult while in a cast, including cooking food, doing laundry, grooming, taking a shower or bath, going the restroom, and even driving a car. For those victims who break their right arm and drive a manual transmission vehicle, driving is out of the question through the entire recovery period. The inability to work or to perform daily tasks can have a serious financial, emotional and mental impact on the victim in addition to the physical pain and suffering they may already be feeling. The best way to help yourself avoid the suffering that comes with a broken arm injury is to avoid the injury all together.
Though a broken arm can't always be predicted, there are ways that you can help to protect yourself, even against the negligent actions of other people that may cause you to sustain an injury.
- When shopping, do not always look straight ahead, but instead, look around you, and even down at the floor so you can ascertain whether liquid or debris hazards are in your way while you are shopping.
- Always hold onto the handrail when walking up or down stairs, and don't carry large loads on staircases. If there's no handrail, take the elevator instead. The same is true of escalators.
- Follow the safety rules when playing sports and stop playing if there are players who won't play it safe for your sake or theirs.
- Pay close attention to other travelers on the road so you can anticipate their moves before they make them, especially when those moves could land you in a cast.
Unfortunately, in some cases, no matter how safe you are, the negligent actions of another person could still cause you to sustain a serious broken arm injury, putting you in a cast, in debt, and out of a job for weeks or even months. The Husband and Wife Law Team understands the depression, frustration, and desperation that comes with broken arm injuries and can help you make it through your recovery without having to worry about debt or significant suffering. They can help you hold the negligent party responsible and ensure that they help you cover the costs of your recovery. Call today at (602) 457-6222.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer