Broken Bone

Is a Broken Bone or Bone Break the Same as a Fracture?

Yes. A broken bone is the same as a bone break and a fracture.  A fracture is simply a break in the continuity of the bone, but there are many types of fractures.

Is a Broken Bone a Serious Injury?

Yes. Any broken bone (also called a fracture) is a serious injury to us and worth a lot of money to you! Even a “hair-line fracture,” broken finger, toe, rib, or tooth.

If you have any fracture / broken bone, please call the 1-800-HURT-911® NY Accident Attorneys now 7 days/nights/weekends to speak with us for a free consultation to find out your rights.

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How Much Is a Broken Bone Worth?

A broken bone is always worth a lot of money, even a broken pinky finger. These are some of the many factors that determine how much money you can get for a broken bone:

  • The percentage of liability or negligence of the person and/or company responsible.
  • Your age (the younger you are, the more your injury is worth)
  • The county in which your court case is (i.e., cases in the Bronx and Brooklyn can be worth 4 times more than Suffolk). Your case can be in the county where your accident is or where you or any defendant is.

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Does a Broken Bone Always Show on an X-Ray at the Hospital?

No. Fractures, especially nondisplaced fractures, often do not show on the initial X-ray in the hospital and are diagnosed a day or two later.

It is common to go to the emergency room after an accident and be told that the x-ray did not show a fracture when you did. You may be told a couple of days later that you do have a broken bone. When this happens, you probably have a non-displaced fracture which is a valuable injury.

Why Didn’t the Hospital ER See a Broken Bone on My X-Ray?

A broken bone may not be seen on an x-ray at the ER because of any of the following reasons:

  • The X-ray was taken at the wrong angle
  • You moved at the time it was taken
  • Swelling prevented the fracture from showing in the X-ray
  • The radiologist was rushing and didn’t see it

Fractures that do not show in the hospital ER X-ray after the accident are usually undiagnosed because the swelling presses on the bone, closing the break and preventing the fracture from showing in the X-ray.

Frequently, when a bone fracture is not seen on x-ray at the ER, it is clinically diagnosed by a doctor in the office days after the accident when the patient sees a doctor because of worsening pain.

A clinical diagnosis is one made by your doctor upon a review of the medical history given and a physical examination without the use of laboratory tests or X-rays. The diagnosis of a bone fracture may then be confirmed with an X-ray, computed tomography (CT scan), or magnetic resonance imaging (MR or MRI).

If you were taken to the emergency room at a hospital and were told that X-rays did not show a fracture (broken bone) and you have pain and swelling the next day, you should call us for a free consultation and see a doctor immediately to find out if you have a fracture.

Read why diagnosing a broken bone is important if you were injured in a car accident.

When Does the Hospital See a Broken Bone on My X-Ray?

Very serious fractures, such as a displaced fracture, are usually obvious to a doctor, easily show on ER X-rays, and are almost always diagnosed in the hospital ER.

A displaced fracture is where the two broken pieces of bone are not together. With a nondisplaced fracture, the two pieces are together.

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Is a Broken Nose, Rib, Finger, or Toe a Serious Fracture?

Yes. Even a broken nose, rib, finger, or toe is a serious injury, but defense insurance companies don’t believe them to be serious, so they must be convinced.

Broken Nose

A broken nose or nasal fracture is a serious fracture and often requires plastic surgery for optimal healing without side effects such as breathing problems and a crooked nose.

A plastic surgeon is the type of surgeon usually used for nose surgery, but plastic surgeons don’t accept payment from No-Fault and will usually ask you to pay $8,000 upfront. Don’t fall into this trap because you will be reimbursed much less. If you need plastic surgery for a nose fracture, we can get your plastic surgeon paid upfront at no cost to you!

We have obtained as much as $50,000-$75,000 for a broken nose with surgery. If facial scarring is involved with the injury, it will substantially increase the value of your case.

Broken Toe

As an example, we obtained a $35,000 settlement for a client who only saw the doctor one time for a broken pinky toe which was a non-displaced 5th metatarsal fracture. His doctor advised him to wear a boot, and he refused, which is not good for his case.

Broken Ribs

Broken ribs are serious fractures that insurance companies try to settle for very little money claiming that they are not serious. To get big money settlements for broken ribs, we make 3-D color videos like the one below showing a displaced rib fracture.

Find out how we convince the insurance companies that broken ribs are serious injuries.

3-D color MRI showing displaced rib fractures

Broken Pinky Finger

Fractures involving a joint or which require surgery are extremely serious fractures. This is true even if it only involves the joint of a finger.

In this case, our client was a dentist who broke his pinky finger in a car accident. He needed surgery and was out of work for 2 months. Allstate initially denied the claim because there was no damage to either car, and the police were never called. Allstate later offered only $5,000. We refused the offer and demanded the entire insurance policy. We made the medical illustration below, which convinced Allstate to pay the entire policy.
medical illustration showing a broken pinky finger

Thumb Injury (not broken)

In another case, an accident caused exostosis (abnormal bone growth) to the joint of our client’s thumb. The insurance company offered a “take it or leave it offer” of $5,000.  We filed a lawsuit, and the insurance company agreed to arbitrate the case, and our client was awarded $100,000.

The reason a fracture involving a joint or another anomaly, such as exostosis (abnormal bone growth), is a serious injury is that the injury will substantially worsen over time due to traumatic arthritis.

Broken Thumb $1,200,000

We obtained a $1,200,000 settlement for this broken thumb in a construction accident.

this broken thumb is a serious injury worth $1,200,000

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The Insurance Company Says My Case is Worth Less Money Because My Arthritis is Due to Age

When you have a broken bone from an accident, especially when the break involves a joint, you will get traumatic arthritis which will probably lead to chronic arthritis. Even if the break is not a joint, it can affect nearby joints.

Insurance company defense doctors love to claim your traumatic arthritis (caused by an accident) is age-related osteoarthritis that has been going on for a long time prior to your accident and is not related to your accident. This is false, and your lawyer needs to be prepared to prove it.

Why is the Insurance Doctor Saying My Arthritis Was Not Caused by the Accident?

Insurance doctors say this is because your arthritis was seen on X-rays within a couple of months of the accident. They claim that’s too soon for traumatic arthritis to occur. Again, that’s not true.

A study published by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found that traumatic arthritis began within the first month after injury.

But traumatic arthritis can also begin decades after an accident. No matter when traumatic arthritis begins, it will become physically debilitating at older ages. This is why personal injury lawyers should not settle cases based on today’s injury.

Why Does Arthritis Make My Case Worth More Money?

I have personally seen my stepmother suffer, unable to walk without a walker, and unable to use her left arm because of chronic arthritis from a knee and shoulder injury she got in a car accident 20 years earlier. Her problems began to get much worse approximately 20 years after her car accident.

Traumatic Arthritis Can Begin Immediately

Traumatic arthritis begins to occur immediately after an accident, while osteoarthritis usually takes as long as 40-60 years. According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis can happen at any age, but it commonly starts in the 50s and affects women more than men.

According to this study, post-traumatic arthritis (PTA) causes about 12% of all osteoarthritis cases. Studies revealed that inflammatory mediators (secretions) are released in synovial fluid immediately after the joint trauma. Inflammation occurring immediately after joint injury plays a key role in the onset of chronic post-traumatic arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis can lead to osteoarthritis or chronic inflammatory arthritis.

Even Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may be caused by trauma from an accident, although further study is needed. This report published by NIH, The onset of rheumatoid arthritis following trauma, concludes, “It seems apparent that any severe trauma to a joint may precipitate an ongoing localized chronic inflammatory disorder for an indefinite period of time, which may then lead to the spread of IM to multiple other joints. The initiation of RA following trauma warrants consideration as a legitimate entity.”

Surgery For a Displaced Fracture Results in Chronic Arthritis and is a Very Serious Injury

A broken bone with surgery can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and even millions.

Surgery to fix a broken bone always results in chronic arthritis that will become devastatingly debilitating. It is chronic arthritis that makes this type of case worth much more money than many lawyers understand.

An internal plate and screws may be installed to keep the separated bones in place, or an external fixation device may be used.  An external fixation device is temporarily placed on the outside of the skin with pins inserted into the separated bones.

This photo shows our client with an external fixation device for a broken ankle. The external fixation device holds the broken bone together but is outside of the body and is temporary.  Our client was “falling down drunk” (.203) on a motorcycle, and GEICO believed he had caused the accident, and there was no other vehicle involved. We settled the claim for $155,000.
photo showing external fixation for a broken ankle

We made these 3-D color images of a client’s x-rays which show an Ulnar Styloid fracture and an Impacted Distal Radial fracture before surgery.
3-D color x-ray of Ulnar & radial fractures before surgery

This 3-D color X-ray image shows the same fractures after the surgical repair with an internal plate and screws. The internal plate is usually permanent and is not visible outside the skin. The plate and screws often cause pain, especially if the screw starts to loosen, and the plate may later have to be removed or replaced with another surgery.
3-D color x-ray of Ulnar & radial fractures

Anteroposterior view (front-to-back) X-ray showing an external fixation device for a broken wrist that holds the bones in place while healing.
lateral view x-ray of broken wrist with external fixation

Lateral view (side view) X-ray showing the same external fixation device.
AP view x-ray of broken wrist with external fixation

This X-ray shows a broken radius and ulna with internal fixation (plates screwed into the bone to keep the broken bone together).  See an external fixation device below.

Our client had several serious injuries from an accident. This X-ray shows one of his fractures repaired with internal fixation using a rod inserted and kept in place with two screws into the bone. Later, when walking, the rod bent at the bottom screw shown outlined in red. The rod had to be removed, and major surgery was needed. This is a very serious injury worth several million dollars.
Internal Fixation rod that bent

Radius and Ulna – Anatomy Tutorial Video

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Phil Franckel is a well-known personal injury lawyer in New York since 1989. He is a Founding Partner of 1-800-HURT-911, LLP®, the Personal Injury Dream Team™, and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. He has an Avvo Top 10  Rating, Avvo Client’s Choice Award with all 5-star reviews, Avvo Top Contributor Award, Multi-Million Dollar Trial Lawyers Award, and others. See Mr. Franckel’s bio for areas of expertise.

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Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

1-800-HURT-911® Founding Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer Rob Plevy, Esq.

Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.

Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.

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