Bone and Joint Injury

A large number of the injury cases handled by the attorneys at The Zinn Law Firm involve bone fractures and/or injuries to the ligaments of the soft tissue surrounding a joint.

Types of Bone Fracture Cases

With respect to bone fractures, our attorneys have handled bicycle, auto, pedestrian, and slip/trip and fall cases involving fractures to the: humerus, radius, ulna, scapula, clavicle, spinal vertebrae, ribs, femur, tibia, fibula, ankle, foot, acetabulum and other hip bones.

There are many factors we look at when evaluating and pursuing a fair recovery in a bone fracture case. First, we will start with what kind of fracture has occurred by reviewing the medical records. Here are some of the different types of fractures our clients have:

  • Non-displaced fracture: the broken ends of the bone line up and are barely out of place. These sometimes heal well in a few months on their own.
  • Displaced fracture: the bone snaps into two or more parts and moves so that the two ends are not lined up straight. These fractures can take longer to heal and may require surgery and open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) procedure involving making a surgical incision through the skin and soft tissue and applying and fastening a metal plate with screws across the fracture site to help the bone heal properly and obtain union.
  • Non-union fractures: the bone does not heal and fuse along the fracture site, often requiring surgery and placement of plates and screws, and in some cases autologous bone graft or cadaver bone graft material, to promote healing and achieving union.
  • Comminuted fracture: the bone shatters into three or more pieces, commonly requiring plate and screw application.

Another important question when an attorney evaluates a bone fracture case is to determine whether our clients will ultimately heal to the point of returning to their full ranges of motion and activities in the affected body parts, or if they will be subject to permanent restrictions or limitations of some type.

Joint Injury Cases

With respect to joint injury cases, our attorneys have handled multiple cases involving partial and full thickness tears to the soft tissues surrounding the knee such as the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), the Medial Cruciate ligament (MCL), and meniscus. Likewise, we have handled dozens of cases involving injuries to the ligaments and other soft tissue around our clients’ shoulders, including the rotator cuff and other structures, that have required surgical repair ranging from arthroscopic rotator cuff repair to complete open shoulder reconstruction. We have also had extensive experience handling bicycle and pedestrian accident cases involving injury to the ligaments and other soft tissue around the hip joint, including the bursa, the ligament of head of femur, the obturator nerve, and the extracapsular ligaments, including the iliofemoral, pubofemoral, and ischiofemoral ligaments.

Does the Injury Limit Future Activities?

Because we represent many athletic, fit bicycle riders and other active people, and because we are active athletes ourselves, we will always check to see if limitations that might seem minor to less active individuals might still impose restrictions on our more athletic clients in returning to long distance road or mountain biking, swimming, running, surfacing, skiing, basketball, tennis, or whatever other activities our clients presently enjoy. Further, for our many elder clients, bone fractures can also impair quality of life in a way that younger clients may be able to more quickly recover from, or at least compensate for.

Does the Injury Have Potential for Future Complications or Joint Replacement

To this end, another issue our attorneys will work with your doctors to determine is whether your particular bone fracture or joint injury may lead to early onset of arthritis that you would not have been subject to but for your injury. Certain types of fractures in certain parts of the body, and especially fractures close to or on joint spaces, such as the tibial plateau, frequently lead to early onset arthritis. If a bone fracture has compromised a joint, the next question we will ask your physicians and/or expert physicians we hire, is whether your fracture or joint injury will require joint replacement, either in the near, or more distant future.

In a civil case, the burden of proof for causation is a preponderance of the evidence, or whether it is more likely than not a future event will occur. It is therefore our job to determine what future medical treatment, including potential joint replacement, may occur with respect to our clients’ bone fracture or joint injuries. Further, most joint replacements have a finite lifespan. Therefore, depending on the nature of the joint replacement that may be required and our clients projected life expectancy, we will push in settlement or at trial to recover not only the cost of any future joint replacement that will be required. We will also seek to recover the costs for any revisions of the joint replacement our client may require in her lifetime. In some cases, multiple revisions in the client’s lifetime may be required.

When you settle or receive a jury verdict in a personal injury case, you cannot come back and ask for more money if the injury turns out to be more complicated, or require more treatment or surgeries, than you initially anticipated. You get one shot at your recovery. It is therefore imperative that when seeking an attorney to represent you in your bone fracture or joint injury case that you find an attorney that will take the time and spend the money necessary to make sure that the recovery you receive will be adequate to cover the future medical costs and procedures that your injury will more likely than not require. The attorneys at The Zinn Law Firm can provide this expertise and guidance in your bone fracture or joint injury case.

Please contact us to learn more: 415-292-4100.