The second most common upper extremity fractures are those of the hand. Also known as metacarpal and phalangeal fractures, the management of these skeletal injuries is generally comprised of immobilization, reduction, and rehabilitation to assist patients in returning to their pre-injury status. A fractured hand may result from direct contact in sports, twisting injury, crush injury, slip and fall accident, or motor vehicle crash.
To learn how our team of personal injury lawyers can help you after an accident, contact us today to discuss your hand fracture case at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. A member of our legal team is available anytime to provide free, friendly advice on moving forward in your situation.
Our team of lawyers at our personal injury law firm is here to help you get your life back on track and guide you through the claims process. We believe in holding at-fault parties accountable for the harm they have caused and are focused on bringing cases to the best resolutions on behalf of our clients. Since 1982, we have helped people hurt in accidents just like you recover fair compensation after suffering a traumatic injury, such as a metacarpal and phalangeal fracture, caused by the negligence of others. Do not hesitate to contact us today to arrange a free case evaluation with one of our experienced accident attorneys.Anatomy of the Hand
Following is a list of the bones in the hand:
- Metacarpals: The five bones located within the palm of the hand are the metacarpals.
- Phalanges: The fingers and thumb are formed by small bones known as phalanges. The fingers are comprised of three phalanges, while the thumb contains two.
The most common type of bone fracture in the hand is a break in the fifth metacarpal. This bone is responsible for the support of the little finger. This type of hand injury is often referred to as a boxer's fracture as it may occur when the hand is closed in a fist and strikes or punches a hard object.What are the Symptoms of a Broken Hand?
Following is a list of the signs of a fractured hand:
- Difficulty moving the finger
- Shortened finger
- When making a partial fist, the affected finger "scissors" or crosses over its neighbor
In boxer's fracture cases, the knuckle may present a depressed or sunken appearance. This is the result of angulation or displacement of the head or end of the metacarpal bone.How is a Broken Hand Treated?
If there is a misalignment in the broken ends of the bone, overlapping may occur between the bone fragments resulting in gaps. A physician may need to perform a procedure known as a reduction where the broken pieces of bone are manipulated back into their original position. A general or local anesthetic may need to be administered depending on the swelling and pain the patient is experiencing.
Regardless of the type of treatment for hand trauma, it is essential for patients to regularly move their fingers during the healing process to prevent stiffening. For information on how to do so, it is best to speak with a physician. It is recommended that patients with a history of smoking quit as bone healing may be impacted or delayed by nicotine. Some of the treatment options for hand injury cases are listed below:
- Medications: A physician may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers if a patient is experiencing pain from a broken hand. If the patient presents with severe pain, an opioid medication may be necessary for pain management, like codeine. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be helpful with reducing pain but have the potential to interfere with bone healing, mainly if a patient is using them long-term. It is best to consult with a medical professional to determine whether taking NSAIDs is safe for pain relief. Conversely, physicians may give antibiotics to a patient presenting with an open fracture to prevent an infection from reaching the affected bone.
- Immobilization: To ensure proper healing, it is essential to restrict the movement of a fractured bone in the hand. Accomplishing this will require the use of a cast or a splint. To reduce pain and swelling, a patient will be advised to keep the hand above heart level.
- Physical Therapy: A patient will require physical therapy or rehabilitation exercises after removing a splint or cast to restore hand movement and reduce stiffness. While rehabilitation may be helpful in hand fracture cases, it may take several months for complete bone healing.
- Surgical Management: A patient presenting with a fractured hand may require surgery to hold the bones in place during the healing process. Surgical management will often require the implantation of screws, rods, plates, or pins. A surgeon may also recommend a bone graft to assist with healing. Such surgical intervention options may be necessary for a patient presenting with a fracture that extends into a joint, damage to surrounding blood vessels, nerves, and ligaments, loose, broken bones that may go into a joint, the bony fragments may move before they heal, and a compound fracture.
In cases where a patient undergoes reduction and immobilization with a splint or cast, the affected bones can shift. If this occurs, a physician may order X-rays to monitor the patient's progress. If medical imaging procedures reveal bone movement, the patient will more likely than not require surgery.Can You Seek Compensation for a Hand Fracture?
A bodily injury claim often arises from accidents resulting in traumatic injuries resulting from another party or entity's negligence. The individual who has experienced the harm may have the right to seek compensation from the negligent party and their insurer. Such cases serve the purpose of making the claimant whole for their injuries and damages. What "made whole" means is that it would require the placement of an injured party in the same position they were in before the accident took place through financial recovery. A personal injury attorney will consider the following economic and non-economic damages to determine the amount of compensation an injured party should be awarded for a hand injury case:
- Past and future medical expenses for accident-related injuries
- Lost wages and reduced earning potential
- Permanent disability or injury from hand trauma
- Loss of consortium from a traumatic injury causing damage to a marital relationship
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
As you can see, the consequences of an accident may amount to much more than just vehicle repairs and doctor visits. Keep in mind that the insurance company's goal is to settle a bodily injury claim, particularly those involving bone fractures, for far less than what the case is worth. Do not let this happen to you, and reach out to an experienced injury lawyer for assistance. Watch this video if you are unsure what to look for in the best accident attorney to handle your hand injury case.How Can Pre-Existing Injuries Affect a Personal Injury Case?
The process is not always straightforward as insurance companies may often dispute or refuse to settle cases for reasons such as pre-existing injuries. While a pre-existing condition may make an individual more susceptible to injury, that does not necessarily prevent someone from bringing a claim forward if the harm was caused by the negligence of another party or entity. An injured party may be compensated for exacerbating or aggravation of a pre-existing condition, such as a hand injury.
It is essential to work with an accident attorney who can help an injured party understand the challenges that may arise in the process because of a pre-existing medical condition and prove that the condition was worsened because of the incident. An injury lawyer can also help by obtaining all the medical documentation necessary to establish the case.How Long After an Accident-Related injury Can You File a Claim for Compensation?
Under the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1, a personal injury claim arising from a car accident must be settled with the insurance company or filed in civil court no later than two years after the date of the incident. Other limitation periods may include cases against public agencies where a notice of claim must be filed within six months of the incident date, as outlined in the California Government Code Section 911.2.
Cases for medical malpractice by a licensed health care provider are subject to a different statute of limitations in the golden state. A lawsuit must be filed within one year of the date of the discovery of the traumatic injury or three years from the date of the trauma, whichever occurs the soonest. This is by the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 340.5. A 90-day notice must be provided to the licensed medical professional before filing. See the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 364 for more information.Contact a Hand Fracture Attorney Today
Expenses from an accident may mount quick, and recovering fair compensation from the insurance company is not always a straightforward process. Our personal injury lawyers have been protecting the futures of injured parties across California since 1982. We attribute our success to treating those we represent as members of our own family.
If you suffered a hand injury in an accident, speak with one of our attorneys in Sacramento today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. Contact us with your questions, and our injury lawyers will do their best to answer them for you and provide free, friendly case advice.
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