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Collarbone Injuries from Car Accidents and California Case Values

What’s commonly called the collarbone is actually known as the clavicle. We have two of them, one on each interior side of our shoulders. They’re located between the ribcage and each shoulder blade. Each such blade is known as a scapula.  Clavicles connect a person’s two arms to their two shoulders. It’s generally agreed upon that clavicle fractures are not at all uncommon. Most of such fractures occur in the middle of the bone. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons tells us that the majority of clavicle fractures in auto accidents are the direct result of direct trauma to the shoulder. Fractured clavicles are very painful injuries. Arm movement and range of motion are severely restricted. Immediate emergency room attention is required.

Collarbone Fracture Symptoms:

The symptoms of a collarbone fracture are going to vary from victim to victim. Much depends on the fracture’s type and severity. As per the Mayo Clinic, here are some signs and symptoms of a broken collarbone:

  • Pain that increases in severity with movement of the shoulder or arm.
  • Swelling of the affected area and bruising to the chest and upper arm.
  • Drastically reduced range of motion of the affected shoulder and arm.
  • A protrusion at the site of the fracture.
  • Numbness and tingling down the arm on the side of the fracture.

Causes of Collarbone Fractures in Car Crashes:

There a wide variety of causes of clavicle fractures in car accidents. Here are a few of them:

  • Hitting the Steering Wheel: A vehicle occupant’s body can be thrown forward with great force.  That can cause the upper body to crash into the steering wheel and cause a clavicle fracture.
  • Crashing Into the Dashboard: Anybody occupying the passenger seat of a car doesn’t need to worry about the steering wheel, but that passenger can still crash into the dashboard.
  • Air Bag Deployment: An air bag can deploy at a speed of nearly 200 mph. Indeed, air bags save lives, but they can also break a collarbone.
  • Seat Belt Force: When you’re buckled in, your shoulder harness is positioned directly over the clavicle. A properly functioning seat restraint system might prevent you from hitting a car’s steering wheel, dashboard or windshield, but it can also fracture your clavicle. 
  • Being Ejected from the Car: An unbelted driver or passenger can be ejected from a vehicle in a collision. Any blunt force trauma to the shoulder area can easily fracture a clavicle.

Types of Clavicle Fractures:

The orthopedists at Johns Hopkins Medicine classify clavicle fractures into three types that follow:

  • Fractures that are located in the middle of the bone are the most common.
  • Those near the AC joint of the shoulder are the second most common.
  • The least common clavicle fractures are those that are near the sternum.

Treatment of Collarbone Fractures:

Some collarbone fractures can be treated without surgery. It all depends on the severity of the fracture. Many of them are treated with a sling or figure-8 brace while the break heals. A fracture that breaks through the skin or that is broken into pieces or is otherwise displaced is likely to require surgery. Metal plates, screws or pins will be used to align the fracture and maintain stability while it heals. Physical therapy might be used to facilitate functionality during this healing process. Most collarbone fracture victims return to their usual activities within three months of their injury.

What’s the Value of a Broken Collarbone Case in California?

The value of any collarbone fracture case is dependent on several different variables. Two of the most important of those are the nature and severity of the fracture. Medical bills, permanency of the injury and any lost time from work or diminished earnings are also considered. Here are some examples of some recent collarbone settlements and verdicts:

  • $92,500 settlement with no lawsuit filed in Illinois for a displaced clavicle fracture requiring surgery after a broadside impact car crash. 
  • $50,000 settlement in Florida for motorcyclist who suffered a fractured collarbone when he was forced to lay his motorcycle down when a car turned left in front of him. No surgery was needed.
  • $150,000 in Arizona for a displaced clavicle fracture from a head-on collision that required surgery and internal fixation.
  • $65,000 in California for a motorcyclist who suffered a fractured collarbone with no surgery when hit by a motorist who made an abrupt lane change.

Injured Clavicle? Contact our California Car Accident Lawyers. 

After suffering a fractured clavicle as a result of the careless and negligence of somebody else, that driver’s insurer is going to try and take control of the case right away. Whatever you do, don’t relinquish that control by giving its representative any type of a written or recorded statement. It’s only going to try and use your statement against you sometime in the future in efforts to try and devalue your claim. California law doesn’t require you to give that insurance company any type of a statement. Expect to be treated with utter disdain in the insurer’s efforts to try and get rid of you as soon and as cheaply as possible. Talk to a California car accident lawyer at Maison Law before you talk to anybody else. Our objective is the opposite of the opposing insurer’s. When we’re retained to represent you, we’re going to approach your case carefully and work toward obtaining the highest settlement or verdict that you deserve. Contact us at Maison Law as soon as you can after being injured in any accident.

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