Not All Fractures Are Created Equal

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Not All Fractures Are Created Equal

Many of the injuries we deal with involve fractures or multiple fractures of bones. This has particularly become the case in the last decade as more and more people wear seat belts and so in high-speed collisions the seat belt restrains the occupant but places the forces on the pelvic region resulting in multiple fractures of the pelvis including the hip socket and femoral head of the femur, which is the hip socket in layman’s terms.

Fractures in the hip socket or other joint of the body attract significantly higher damage awards for pain and suffering and future wage losses than a mid-shaft fracture of a bone such as the femur (the big leg bone) or the humerus (the upper arm bone). This is because a fracture in the joint has a much higher probability of leading to osteoarthritis which is a degenerative condition which means the condition will degenerate over time. This is very different from a mid-shaft fracture which often heals up quite quickly without any residual problems or impairment.

A joint fracture on the other hand will continue to degenerate which means the personal injury lawyer for the Edmonton motor vehicle accident victim must include in the settlement or ask at trial for future pain and suffering that will get worse over time as well as future treatment costs, as well as claiming for future loss of income. This is especially true if the individual is in a labour position as the degeneration of the fracture in the joint may eventually lead to loss of the person’s job.

But how does a court of law go about assessing a potential, not actual, degeneration? How the court assesses this is it looks at the percentage likelihood of the degeneration happening and then discounts the total potential loss based upon that percentage likelihood of it happening.

Thus an expert Alberta  personal injury lawyer will retain an orthopedic surgeon who can prepare a full medical legal report which will provide the percentage possibility of osteoarthritis and degenerative problems in a joint fracture appearing in the future. The orthopaedic surgeon will also assess a percentage of whole body disability currently, and the percentage of whole body disability in the future as the degeneration progresses.

Many practicing orthopedic surgeons in the healthcare system do not enjoy preparing medical legal reports as they prefer to focus on surgery. This is fine. Therefore, our firm has a number of Alberta orthopedic surgeons who do like to do medical legal reporting and will prepare a complete and proper report with the above information in it so that your case may be properly assessed by way of a settlement, mediation or if necessary, a judgment at trial.

In addition to the possibility of degenerative problems and the degree of disability a third factor that is looked at with bone fractures is the necessity of surgery. The necessity of surgical intervention, which the plaintiff has already undergone, and the possibility of future surgery, acts as a benchmark for more substantial damage awards.

If you have suffered multiple fractures in a motor-vehicle accident, remember that the insurance company for the party at fault does not act for you, indeed, they act against you in attempting to minimize the insurance claim payout to maximize profits for their shareholders. In Alberta all auto insurance companies are private for-profit companies who want to minimize your claim. Therefore, you must retain a personal injury lawyer who acts solely for you with the expertise in the above medical legal aspects dealing with bone fractures in order for you to be properly compensated for your injuries which, if they involve a joint fracture, will very likely have long-term consequences for you in your personal life and in your employment.

Handel Law Firm is Alberta’s personal injury law firm serving the smaller communities of Red Deer, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie. Call now Toll Free: 1-877-844-6910

By | 2017-07-14T18:17:17+00:00 March 24th, 2014|Medical - Legal Issues|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mr. Brent Handel, J.D., Q.C. is the head of the Personal Injury and Fatal Accident Group at Handel Law Firm.

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