Motor Vehicle Accidents and Types of Broken Bones

Broken bones are one of the most common injuries caused by a motor vehicle accident. Broken bones may range from minor stress fractures to serious or even life-threatening fractures. [Sidebar: A fractured bone is the same as a broken bone. It is a misconception to associate a fracture with only a “hairline break” or a non-displaced break.] As with any injury, a more serious fracture will be worth more than a less serious fracture. While the medical seriousness of a fracture varies significantly, any fracture is considered a “serious” injury in NY for the purposes of suing for personal injury compensation.

Types of Fractures:

Here, you will find the difference classifications of fractures that may be caused by a motor vehicle accident.  Other types of fractures do exist but are usually not the subject of an accident. As you will learn below, not all fractures are the same.  For example, a bone may be partially fractured or completely fractured all the way through.  The line where the fracture exists may be any number of ways.

All fractures are either:

  • Non-Displaced: the bone breaks but does not become unaligned from its proper location; OR
  • Displaced: the bone has broken in at least two parts, and they are no longer lined up where they should be;


  • Closed: when the bone does not break through the skin;


  • Compound (open): where the bone does break through the skin.

Types fractures caused in accidents are:

  • Transverse fractures: where the fracture line is perpendicular to the bone (may be displaced or nondisplaced);
  • Oblique fractures: when the fracture line is on an angle through the bone (displaced or nondisplaced);
  • Comminuted fractures: a displaced fracture where the bone has broken into multiple pieces or shattered;
  • Greenstick: This type of fracture is broken on one side of the bone;

Treatment of Fractures:

If you’ve broken a bone in a motor vehicle accident, you should immediately seek medical care. While some fractures may not be obvious and less serious, failure to treat and care for a fracture could worsen the injury.  Additionally, the fracture may not heal properly, which could lead to permanent pain, disfigurement and other complications. It is best to leave the scene of an accident in an ambulance for all fractures, especially skull fractures, as they could be life threatening.

X-rays should be ordered where a fracture is suspected. Even if a fracture is not visible on films, if other signs of a fracture exist, such as pain, swelling, bruising, discoloration and loss of mobility, the area should still be splinted and immobilized until further testing may be performed.  At times, a non-displaced fracture may not be detectable on an X-ray.  The diagnosis of a fracture immediately after an accident may be splinted for a few days prior to application of a permanent cast, to allow swelling to subside.

Unfortunately, there will be fractures that require surgery. If a displaced fracture is severe enough, the bones may require surgical realignment.  More severe fractures may require surgically placed hardware to reconstruct the area.

Hire a Lawyer:

In an accident where a fractured bone is involved, it is important to hire an attorney as soon as possible.  Insurance companies will do anything they can to devalue your claim. The earlier on in the process you hire an attorney, the more protected you are.

Choose Tocci Law:

At the Law Offices of Jennifer G. Tocci, P.C., all of our attorneys have a science or technical background in addition to a law degree. We believe this gives us superior skills to represent injured clients in lawsuits.  Because we understand medical terminology and how to read your medical records, films, and reports, we can better explain your medical history to claims agents and the courts, providing you with the strongest legal representation in Suffolk County.

If you’ve broken a bone in an accident, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys who will discuss your situation with you.

Phone Number:           (631) 343-7676