CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: What We Are Doing to Protect Our Clients

Patella Fracture Lawyer

knee xray

The patella is a triangle-shaped bone located at the front of the knee. Also referred to as the kneecap, several ligaments and tendons are connected to the patella. This includes ones attached to the bones of the tibia and those of the femur. Since the kneecap serves to protect the knee joint, it is susceptible to injury from a direct fall onto the knee or striking it against a vehicle dashboard in an accident. Some of the serious injuries from either of these scenarios that involve the kneecap include patellar fractures. These account for approximately one percent of all skeletal injury cases.

If you suffered an injury such as a patella fracture in a serious accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other losses. To learn more, contact our personal injury attorneys in Sacramento for free, friendly case advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

Our law firm is committed to obtaining the best outcomes possible in personal injury cases we handle. Our accident attorneys understand the emotional, physical, and financial challenges that may result from getting hurt in an accident. We will advocate on your behalf for your bone fracture case to ensure you are fairly compensated for your losses while you and your physician focus on your recovery. While financial compensation may not undo the pain that has resulted from the accident, it may help get your life back on track. Contact us today to learn more and receive free, friendly case advice.

What are the Types of Kneecap Fractures?

A fracture of the patella may occur in several ways. A fracture may involve a bone breaking into several fragments or one that is simple with two bone fragments. A break may be sustained in the lower part, center, or top of the bone. However, it may also occur in other areas of the kneecap. Following is a list of the types of patellar fractures:

  • Comminuted Fracture: The bone has broken into more than three fragments. It may be displaced or stable.
  • Displaced Fracture: The bone is fractured and separated. The cartilage (joint surface) may have also been damaged.
  • Open Fracture: There is a break in the skin from the bone, resulting in damage to surrounding tissue. Open fractures are severe in nature because the infection may develop in the bone and the wound.
  • Stable Fracture: The bone has remained aligned and may heal easily.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Patella Fracture?

Fractures of the patella may cause serious pain and difficulty walking. Some signs and symptoms of this type of bone fracture include:

  • Pain: A kneecap fracture may often result in discomfort. There may be pain that comes with bending the joint, so keeping the knee straight may help.
  • Swelling: A fractured kneecap may generally present with bruising and swelling around the front of the knee. As time goes on, the swelling may extend into the foot, calf, and even down the leg.
How is a Broken Patella Diagnosed?

A physician will discuss the symptoms with the patient and conduct a physical examination of the knee to check for swelling, stiffness, and tenderness. The doctor will also check the patella for a range of motion. When the broken bone is displaced, it is possible to feel the bone fracture through the skin. The physician will often arrange imaging for the patient to confirm the diagnosis through an X-ray.

Can a Fractured Patella be Treated without Surgery?

If the bone fragments are not displaced, surgery may be necessary. The physician may apply a splint or cast to help prevent motion in the leg and keep the knee straight. This serves to maintain the bone fragments in proper position during the healing process.

Depending on the type of fracture the patient presents, the doctor may allow them to bear weight on their leg while wearing a brace or cast. However, weight-bearing may be allowed for some fractures for six to eight weeks. The physician will discuss weight-bearing restrictions with the patient.

How Do You Know When a Kneecap Fracture Needs Surgery?

If the bone fragments are displaced, the patient will most likely require surgical intervention. The reason is that broken patellar bones that are out of place and not together may not heal or have difficulty healing.

The timing of surgery will depend on whether the skin surrounding the injury has been broken. The physician may advise the patient to wait until the abrasions have healed before moving forward with the surgical procedure.

A patient presenting with an open fracture will face an increased risk of infection to the bone and wound. Therefore, surgical intervention is scheduled immediately and typically within hours. During a surgical procedure for an open fracture of the patella, there will be a thorough cleaning of the surfaces of the bone and the lacerations from the injury. The physician may also repair the bone during the same procedure.

Surgical Techniques Used in the Treatment of Patella Fractures

The type of surgery the physician will perform will often depend on the patient's type of bone fracture. Before the surgical procedure, the physician will discuss the technique with the patient and any possible complications. Some of the surgical techniques utilized to treat kneecap fractures include:

  • Open reduction internal fixation (ORIF)
  • Partial or full patellectomy
What are the Potential Complications of Patellar Fractures?

Some patients with broken kneecaps may endure long-term complications, despite having successful medical care. These may include:

  • Chronic pain: In broken kneecap cases, long-term pain is common in the front of the patella. While the cause of chronic pain in the kneecap is not yet understood, it may likely be associated with muscle weakness, stiffness, and post-traumatic arthritis. In some cases, patients report comfort while wearing a knee support or knee brace.
  • Muscle weakness: After a fracture of the patella, some patients may experience permanent quadriceps muscle weakness. Patients may experience loss of motion in the knee, including flexion and extension. This is common and not typically disabling for patients.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis (PTA): After acute direct trauma to weight-bearing joints, post-traumatic arthritis may develop. The articular cartilage that covers the bones may be damaged, despite the bones healing properly. This may lead to stiffness and pain as time progresses. In a small percentage of kneecap fracture cases, severe arthritis may occur. A condition known as chondromalacia patella involves the breakdown and softening of cartilage on the undersurface of the kneecap. It is more common in cases of mild to moderate arthritis.
Do You Need Physical Therapy After a Broken Kneecap?

Rehabilitation is essential in helping a patient return to their daily routines after a patellar fracture. During rehabilitation, a physical therapist or a physician will provide the patient with exercises suited to their needs to help reduce stiffness, strengthen the leg muscles, and improve the range of motion in their knee.

Financial Consequences Following an Accident

Traumatic injuries such as kneecap fractures may occur in accidents when least expected. When they do, it is essential to have a dedicated patella fracture attorney on your side. An injury lawyer is committed to helping injured people and their families seek compensation for resulting losses. This includes economic and non-economic damages intended to compensate injured parties for financial losses and intangible harms that are subjective in nature.

Recovering Medical Bills in a Personal Injury Claim

The eligibility for reimbursement of medical expenses is that they must be deemed reasonable and necessary. It is common for auto insurance companies to dispute treatment plans and argue that they are not reasonable and necessary.

While addressing such concerns is not easy, each one should be proven through objective medical evidence. Keep in mind that there is no straightforward way to prove the reasonability of a treatment plan as each personal injury case is unique and will depend on its facts and circumstances.

Importance of Retaining an Injury Lawyer After an Accident

Time is of the essence for accident cases involving bone fractures. For personal injury claims, the statute of limitations starts at the time of the accident. It expires two years after the incident date, as outlined in the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. It is necessary to retain an attorney for cases involving traumatic injury cases such as patellar fractures to ensure evidence related to the crash is gathered and preserved. Expert witnesses may use such evidence to establish the sequence of events leading up to the injury through a 3D accident reconstruction, if necessary.

Having substantial and compelling evidence in a bodily injury claim is necessary for overcoming the defense tactics insurance companies, and their claims adjusters use. With the assistance of an injury lawyer, they will conduct an independent investigation of the collision and produce evidence of who was at fault and responsible for causing damages. An attorney will also have the skills and resources necessary to build your case on your behalf. This includes communicating with insurance carriers, handling negotiations, consulting expert witnesses, ensuring court filings are met in the case, and more.

Contact a Patella Fracture Attorney Today

What you need after suffering a kneecap fracture in an accident is peace of mind. Most who find themselves in such situations are unsure of what to do and how to move forward. When you retain an accident attorney, they will handle all aspects of your personal injury case so you can focus on recovering. Give our law firm a call today to get started and receive free, friendly advice from our personal injury attorneys at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

Image Credit: By "taokinesis" via Pixabay

:ds [cs 1620] bw

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!" Alex & Dinah M.
★★★★★
"Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation." Beverly
★★★★★
"Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything." Annie T.
★★★★★
"Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime." Jeremy M.
★★★★★
"I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone." Shannon D.
★★★★★
"Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury." David M.