A broken collar bone is a painful injury that can leave you out of commission for an extended period. Suppose your broken collarbone results from another driver’s negligence. In that case, it makes the matter that much more difficult, but obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled is critical to your journey toward healing. Fortunately, a dedicated car crash lawyer in South Carolina can help you with that – every step of the way.
The Mayo Clinic reports that your collarbone connects the upper portion of your breastbone to your shoulder and breaks very common in serious car accidents. Suppose you think your collarbone may be cracked or broken. In that case, you need immediate medical attention to help ensure that you reach your fullest recovery and regain your complete range of motion in the shoulder area. If your break is complicated, surgery – in which a plate, screw, or rod is implanted to help hold the bone together while healing – is likely in order.
Is It a Broken Collarbone?
Some of the telltale signs of a broken collarbone include the following:
- Swelling, tenderness, or bruising in the shoulder area
- A grinding or cracking noise when you attempt to move your shoulder
- Pain that intensifies when you move your shoulder
- A noticeable bulge on or near your affected shoulder
- Stiffness in your shoulder or an inability to move your shoulder altogether
Delays in treatment can lead to inferior health outcomes, so if you think you may have broken your collarbone, it’s time to seek medical care.
Will I Need Surgery?
Surgery for a broken collarbone is usually reserved for severe breaks that require stabilizing forces to heal appropriately. During surgery, a fixation mechanism, such as a plate, rod, or screw, will be used to help ensure that the bone remains in the proper position as it heals.
What Are the Most Common Complications?
When a broken collarbone fails to heal correctly or otherwise leads to complications, they tend to fall into one of the following classifications:
- Damage to a Nerve or Blood Vessel – If the jagged edge of your collarbone damages nerves and blood vessels that are nearby, it can lead to coldness and numbness in your hand or arm, and you need immediate medical attention.
- A Lump in the Collarbone – As your collarbone heals, the two pieces will knit themselves together, which can lead to a bony lump that is easy to see due to its proximity to your skin. The more serious the break, the larger the lump is likely to be.
- Osteoarthritis – A fracture, such as a broken collarbone, can increase the risk of developing arthritis in that area in the future.
- An Inadequate or Delayed Healing Process – If your collarbone suffers a severe or complicated break, it can heal very slowly and incompletely. When the bone pieces fail to join together properly, it can leave your collarbone shorter than before the accident.
Your Car Accident Claim and the Insurance Company
Your car accident claim will move through the claims process of the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and while the insurance company is responsible for covering your losses, it won’t make obtaining just compensation an easy process. The insurance company is, first and foremost, a for-profit company, and just like other for-profit companies, it puts those profits first. In other words, if the insurance company can find a way to reduce your settlement, it will do so. This can play out in a variety of ways, but some of the most common include:
- Making an early settlement offer that does not begin to cover your losses
- Attempting to prolong and complicate the claims process to the point that you give up
- Shifting blame towards you
- Minimizing the severity of your damages
The insurance company will also be watching and waiting for you to say something or do something that jeopardizes your claim. Insurance companies are masters at twisting the words of claimants to their purposes, so the less raw material you give them, the better. All of the following can help ensure that you don’t inadvertently damage your car accident claim:
- You are not required to make a formal statement about the accident, and this is something that is best left to your South Carolina car accident lawyer.
- Stay away from social media until your case is finalized. The insurance company can get very creative when it comes to interpreting your posts.
- Seek the medical attention that you need and follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. This is not only the best course of action for your health but is also the best course of action for your car accident claim. The insurance company is on the lookout for evidence that undermines the serious nature of your broken collarbone, and failure to follow through with medical care may suffice.
Your skilled car accident lawyer knows how to deal with the insurance company, and this important matter should be left to them.
Will My Claim Go to Court?
Your car accident will begin as a claim, and your focused car accident attorney will skillfully negotiate with the insurance company for compensation that fairly addresses your complete range of physical, financial, and emotional damages. The vast majority of car accident claims settle before they ever get near a courtroom. Suppose the insurance company, however, is not negotiating in good faith. In that case, your lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit, which the insurance company may find highly motivating and may be more inclined to settle somewhat. Ultimately, your South Carolina car accident attorney will advise you regarding what direction your claim should move in.
The damages associated with your broken collarbone are likely to be extensive and can include all of the following:
- Your medical damages, which can range from emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, treatment from doctors and specialists, and much more
- Your lost earnings, which can evolve into lost earning potential if your break is complicated and quite serious
- Your physical and emotional pain and suffering, which can prove especially burdensome
It’s essential to keep in mind that a broken collarbone can lead to complications that require ongoing healthcare needs and that incorporating the full range of your losses is critical to your ability to fully regain your health and well-being (to the best of your ability).
It is very common for insurance companies to push blame toward the claimant and away from their client (the negligent motorist involved). Unfortunately, far too many claimants are discouraged by this tactic and simply give up. While blaming ourselves for accidents is human nature, this does not mean that you are at fault in the eyes of the law. However, if you share part of the blame, this shouldn’t stop you from pursuing compensation covering the percentage of your damages that the other driver is responsible for (as long as you are not more than 50 percent at fault). Let’s consider an easy example that helps make this clear. If a driver who is distracted by his smartphone causes an accident that leaves you with a broken collarbone, your claim will proceed through the following steps:
- You will file your car accident claim with the distracted driver’s car insurance provider.
- If it is determined that you were driving 10 miles over the speed limit and, therefore, share fault in the accident that left you injured, your fault will be assigned a percentage.
- If that percentage is 50 or less, your compensation will ultimately be reduced by that percentage.
- Let’s say you are determined to be 10 percent at fault and that your compensation is calculated at $10,000 (for an easy example). This means that you will receive $9,000 in compensation (because the $10,000 will be reduced by 10 percent, which is $1,000).
Affording an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in South Carolina
Many accident victims worry about how they are going to afford a car accident lawyer. After all, you’re facing massive medical bills, and your earnings are likely declining. Fortunately, this isn’t a concern that you need to let worry you. Most reputable car crash attorneys work on what is known as a contingency basis. This means that your lawyer’s pay is contingent upon your compensation, and if your claim doesn’t settle (or there is no compensation awarded by the court), you won’t owe your attorney anything.
Don’t Wait to Consult with an Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Attorney
If another driver’s negligence leaves you with a broken collar bone, the car accident lawyers at David Aylor Law Offices in South Carolina are committed to your claim’s most beneficial resolution. Please don’t wait to contact or call us at 843-733-7662 today to schedule your free case evaluation.