A woman came into my office in a sling with her hand all wrapped up. She wanted to know if I could help her receive compensation for her injuries. I asked her what happened?
She explained, that she was driving on 20 and a car pulled out in front of her. She couldn't stop in time and crashed into the other vehicle. I asked her how she fractured her thumb? She said that she drives a stick shift and she was shifting when the other car pulled out, she attempted to put her hand back on the steering wheel and the crash happened, jamming her thumb and wrist against the steering wheel. She felt immediate pain at the base of her thumb.
The lady went to the hospital and the ER doctor x-rayed her hand and wrist. The doctor told her that she had a fracture/dislocation at the base of her thumb and he was calling in a hand surgeon to take a look. The surgeon came in and told the woman that she had a Bennett's fracture.
The plan was to reduce the fracture and place her in a simple short arm cast. The doctor explained that she could perform surgery but she was hoping that the area would heal without surgery.
A Bennett's fracture is one of the most common fractures of the thumb. The break also has a component of dislocation (displacement).
The mechanism of injury for a Bennett's fracture is well know. The thumb gets jammed when it is partially bent (flexed). This causes the metacarpal to be jammed into the joint with the carpal (wrist) bone.
The type of treatment offered to patients depends on the nature and extent of the fracture and dislocation of the bone. Here a few types of treatments:
Closed reduction: the doctor puts the bones back in place and puts the patient in a short arm cast to immobilize the joint.
Pinning: If there is a good bit of dislocation, the doctor may choose to use pins to put the bone(s) back to together. Nowadays, the doctor doesn't have to open up the joint to put the pins in.
Open Reduction Internal Fixation: This is the most invasive treatment. The doctor opens up the joint and uses hardware to approximate (reduce) the bones.
The prognosis, the chance of healing, will depend on the nature and extent of the injury, the location of the fracture, the degree of dislocation, and whether any of the wrist bones are involved.
Some of the long term consequences can include:
Deformity of the bone;
Loss of motion;
Non-union of the bone; and/or
I explained to the woman, that she will be entitled to compensation for her injuries, if we can show that the other vehicle is responsible, at fault, for the accident. If the other party is at fault, she would be entitled to the following:
Past medical and hospital expenses;
Future medical and hospital expenses;
Lost wages; and
Pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering damages depend on the nature and extent of the long term consequences and how the injury impacts her quality of life.