Did you or a loved one break a finger, wrist, arm, leg or other bone while on the job?
Most injured workers in Macon, GA are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
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Workers’ compensation claims for serious bone fracture injuries
Physical recovery isn’t the only thing that’s important to an injured worker. You may be wondering if you’ll ever be able to recover financially, especially considering that serious broken bone injuries can require extensive surgery, hospital stays and medical treatment that adds up to costing tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars.
If you or a loved one have experienced a workplace accident that resulted in broken bones, you are most likely eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under Georgia law. Workers’ comp can help pay for the following expenses:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Travel expenses
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Vocational retraining
If your bone fracture was so severe that it requires surgery or causes permanent loss of function, you might be able to receive additional disability compensation.
The amount of benefits you are entitled to depends on a number of unique factors and is determined on a case-by-case basis. Consult our Macon, GA workers’ compensation lawyers to find out how much compensation you deserve for your work-related accident or injury.
Your body’s skeleton is an amazing network of over 200 tough and rigid bones that can withstand tremendous force and pressure. However, bones aren’t invincible. When too much stress is applied, they can crack or break, resulting in a painful and debilitating injury.
Fractured and broken bones are one of the most common orthopedic problems in the United States. There are approximately 6.3 million bone fractures in the U.S. each year, accounting for 16 percent of all musculoskeletal injuries in the U.S. annually. The most common bone fracture among individuals below the age of 75 is a wrist fracture, whereas hip fractures are the most common broken bone for those age 75 or older. Nearly 900,000 fractures require hospitalization each year, often from fractures to the hip, ankle, tibia and fibula (lower leg) bones. Finger and arm fractures are also common. The average person can expect to suffer 2 fractures over the course of their life.
While some fractures are minor and heal quickly, this isn’t always the case. Some broken bones are severe, debilitating and excruciatingly painful. During the recovery period, you may be unable to work at your old job — or you may have to be trained in another position until your injury fully heals. At the same time, medical bills will likely be piling up from emergency room visits, orthopedic doctors and physical therapists.
Under Georgia workers’ compensation law, most workers who are hurt on the job are entitled to certain financial benefits to help pay for medical care and compensate them for missed workdays and lost earning capacity. For many families, this compensation is a crucial financial lifeline to stay afloat during a difficult time. And while this process should be straightforward, many people are frustrated to learn that they have to fight to get the benefits owed to them under the law.
At the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson, our Macon workers’ compensation attorneys have represented hundreds of injured workers throughout the state for over 50 years. We can help you take the right steps and negotiate on your behalf. We have the experience, knowledge and commitment to see your claim through to the end and secure the best possible outcome.
Types of bone fractures
Regardless of where a bone fracture occurs, medical professionals generally classify it into certain categories based on the traits of the break. These classifications often determine the type of medical care required and how much workers’ compensation will be available to the injured worker.
Simple vs. compound fracture
A simple (or closed) fracture is when a bone is damaged but it doesn’t break through the skin. In contrast, a compound (or open) fracture breaks through the skin. Compound fractures involve a higher risk of infection and often permanent scarring.
Partial vs. complete break
When a broken or fractured bone is categorized as “partial,” it means that the break only goes part of the way through the bone. A complete break is when the bone is totally broken (horizontally, diagonally or vertically) into at least 2 pieces.
Oblique vs. stable fracture
Doctors say that a fractured bone is displaced (or oblique) if it has moved after the break, whereas a broken bone that still lines up is considered non-displaced (or stable). Displaced broken bones must be repositioned in order to heal.
Other terms commonly used to describe broken or fractured bones include:
- Stress/hairline fracture: when there’s a small crack on the bone
- Greenstick fracture : when the bone bends toward 1 side due to a small crack
- Transverse fracture: when the break in the bone runs straight across
- Comminuted fracture: when a bone is broken into 3 or more pieces
- Compression fracture: when 1 or more of the vertebrae bones in the spine weaken and crumble
- Spinal fracture: when a vertebrae bone dislocates or fractures, causing bone fragments to pinch or damage the spinal cord
- Avulsion fracture: when a ligament or tendon is torn off a piece of bone
- Spiral fracture: when a break spirals around the bone (common in twisting injuries)
- Segmental fracture: when a bone is broken in 2 places, resulting in a “floating” segment of bone in the middle
Treatment and recovery for broken bone healing
The extent of treatment and the amount of time for recovery varies greatly depending on which bone was broken, as well as how severe the fracture is. Most broken bones will have to be immobilized for anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months, during which time the fractured body part must not be moved or used as much as possible.
Orthopedic doctors commonly use casts to help keep the injured part immobilized. After the cast is removed, you may also have to undergo post-cast therapy where you’ll be directed to “take it easy” on your broken bone to allow more time to fully heal.
Other career-ending injuries require surgery to reconstruct or reassemble the shattered bone pieces, followed by months of casting, physical therapy and conditioning.
In order for a broken or fractured bone to properly heal, it requires 3 conditions:
- Ample blood supply after the injury
- Sufficient stabilization
- New tissue formation
It’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations and instructions to allow your body to fully recover as quickly as possible so that you safely return to work. If you don’t, your broken bone may not fully heal, or complications can arise such as vascular damage, tissue damage, compartment syndrome, blisters, infections and more.
Common causes of job-related broken bones
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the 3 top causes of bone fractures are osteoporosis, overuse and trauma. Trauma is by far the most common cause of injury when workers are hurt on the job. A few common examples of work-related trauma include:
- Auto accidents. Car, truck and even forklift accidents can happen both on and off a job site. When a worker suffers serious injuries in a work-related collision, including broken bones, they should be covered under their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
- Slip and falls. Most people’s first instinct when falling is to hold out their arms to help break their fall. This natural motion commonly results in broken wrists, hands and arms. Such injuries may happen on a slick warehouse floor, on construction scaffolding or ladders, in a cluttered office or virtually any other workplace.
- Falling objects. Orthopedic injuries at work often happen when tools, material, loads or equipment fall or are dropped from overhead and hit someone below. This scenario most commonly occurs on construction sites, where workers are frequently walking under scaffolding, ladders, cranes and floors.
- Malfunctioning equipment. When heavy machinery, tools or equipment malfunction, or when they lack proper guards, the worker handling the equipment may be injured as a result. It’s the responsibility of the employer to make sure that all equipment is properly maintained and that any malfunctions are quickly fixed so that they don’t endanger workers.
- Crush accidents. In certain dangerous workplaces, it’s possible for a worker’s body part to get wedged between 2 objects or stuck in a machine. This can cause the worker’s bone to snap or be crushed, resulting in severe complex fractures and tremendous pain.
In addition to trauma, overuse is another common cause of broken and fractured bones in the workplace. Stress fractures generally start as a small crack or severe bruising in a bone caused by repetitive activity and overuse. If not treated properly, these small fractures can worsen and become a debilitating injury. While overuse fractures are most common in athletes, they can also be prevalent among workers who perform high intensity and physical jobs.
“Great staff. Very professional and knowledgeable. Staff went out of their way to accommodate us in every way possible. Made the whole process less painful. They made sure we understood everything that was going on and would answer any questions a hundred times over if needed.”
The resources needed to win
Unlike some work injury attorneys who settle all of their cases, we are not afraid to appeal a denied claim if needed. Our firm has the resources needed to thoroughly prepare, try and win complicated cases.
We are dedicated to doing everything legally and ethically possible to obtain the best results for our injured clients. Hard work and dedication have allowed us to recover millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients in workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.
You deserve the best Macon workers’ comp attorneys
Almost everyone breaks a bone or 2 eventually, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. If you were seriously hurt on the job, we invite you to consult our Macon attorneys as soon as possible to learn about your legal rights and options. We can help you file a workers’ compensation claim and ensure you get the full benefits owed to you. We’ll also help you dispute a claim if your benefits were unfairly denied, and sue the third party to help pay for additional damages such as pain and suffering if possible.
If you have questions, give us a call or contact us online for your free consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer. From offices in Macon, Albany and Warner Robins, we help injured workers throughout Georgia. Don’t settle for less, get more.