A car accident that results in physical injuries for the victim can be tragic, expensive and change the course of the person’s life. While a broken tibia will eventually heal, the months of treatment required are costly.
How does a tibia fracture happen?
The tibia is the name of the shinbone and is one of two bones that make up the lower leg. A tibia fracture can happen when a high-energy collision occurs, putting extreme pressure on the tibia. Car crashes are one of the more common causes of tibia fractures and typically result in comminuted fractures, where the bone is shattered into multiple pieces, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Sometimes, a tibia fracture is easy to diagnose by visible deformity alone — one leg may be visibly shorter than the other. To confirm a suspected tibia fracture, a physical exam is necessary as is an X-ray or CT scan. These imaging tests are essential for determining the type of break and where in the tibia the fracture occurred. Once a medical professional has officially diagnosed a tibia fracture, treatment will ensue.
Treatment for Tibia Fractures
Treatment for tibia fractures depends upon how severe the break is and the overall health of the worker. In clean breaks with little bone displacement, the doctor may utilize non-surgical treatments, such a splints, casts, and braces.
For more severe fractures with open wounds or a lot of displacement, surgery may be necessary. Surgery can include the use of intramedullary nailing, plates and screws, and external fixation (pins and screws on the outside of the body.)
There are quite a few serious complications that can occur, such as those listed below.
- The bone does not align or heal properly
- Damage to the nerves or veins
- Blood clots
The AAOS explains that with open fractures, secondary surgeries may be needed: “Open fractures, in which the bone fragments are displaced enough to exit the skin, typically sustain greater injury and are at increased risk for infection. This may stall or prevent healing. These fractures are more likely to require secondary surgical procedures.”
Diagnosing and treating a tibia fracture can cost thousands of dollars, especially for a victim without adequate health insurance. However, it is possible to recover all medical expenses by filing a claim for damages.
Recovering from a Tibia Fracture
After surgery has been performed, the patient will most likely require approximately four months — or more, depending upon the extent of the injury —to fully heal. During this time, it is highly likely physical therapy treatment will be prescribed. Additionally, it is unlikely the patient will be able to put any weight on the affected leg, impairing their ability to engage in normal activities or even perform work in many cases.
Recovering from a tibia fracture can take months, and depending upon a person’s lifestyle and job, those months can be extremely challenging. For those who are used to exercising daily, being able to walk frequently, or who work in an industry where the full use of both legs is required, months of being unable to move freely can result in anxiety, depression and loss of economic resources. Oftentimes, a person also is coping with post-traumatic stress disorder from the car accident during this time period.
Filing a Claim for Damages
In filing a claim for damages, a victim who has suffered from a broken tibia can recover all types of damages suffered, including economic (medical expenses and lost wages) and noneconomic damages (pain, suffering, emotional trauma, mental anguish, etc.).
To recover damages for a broken tibia in Des Moines, the victim will have to prove that the defendant — the at-fault driver — was doing something negligent at the time of the accident and that this negligent action caused the crash. Furthermore, the victim also will have to prove all damages for which compensation is being sought were the direct result of the accident, and not another unrelated event (i.e., the person cannot already have been suffering from depression if compensation for depression is sought). The time limit for filing a claim in Des Moines is two years under Iowa Code 614.1.
Contact a Broken Tibia Attorney in Des Moines Today
The sooner you call the attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair to schedule your free case consultation, the sooner you can begin the path of recovering damages. Visit our contact page or call our offices now to get started at (888) 435-9886.