Suffering a fracture to the pelvis can be a life-altering injury. The pelvis is a pivot point for most of our daily movements, and a fracture can significantly hinder your mobility. At The Sevey Law Firm, we have made it our mission to help people who have suffered a pelvic injury in an accident understand their rights and get the help and compensation that they need.
If you’ve suffered a pelvic fracture, you likely have many questions about the injury and your legal options, including “How serious is this injury?” and “How will I pay my medical bills?”. We are always here to help answer your questions and help you get the fair compensation for your injury. Read more about pelvic fractures below, or call one of our knowledgeable attorneys at (916) 788-7100 today.
What is a Pelvic Fracture?
The pelvis is located at the base of the spinal column, and it is comprised of three major bones: the sacrum, coccyx, and hip bones. The hip bones are actually made up of three bones are separate in our early lives and fuse into one as we reach adulthood. These bones form the “ball and socket” joint for our leg bones. Ligaments keep our pelvis in place, and the pelvis serves as a highway for major blood vessels and nerves. The bowels, bladder, and reproductive organs also rely on the pelvis for protection, and the pelvis anchors the muscles for the thigh and abdomen.
Like all of our bones, the pelvis can easily fracture in an accident like a car crash, or a slip and fall. Pelvic fractures usually fall into one of two categories: stable or unstable. With stable fractures, the bones remain in place and are still aligned. These types of fractures are the result of low-impact injuries.
Unstable fractures are usually the result of two or more breaks in the pelvis. Unstable pelvic fractures most frequently occur because of a high-impact injury, such as a severe collision or a fall from elevation.
Symptoms of Pelvic Fractures
A fractured pelvis is usually extremely painful because the bone is so central to our skeletal health. Mobility is usually severely compromised, and pain may be exacerbated by sudden movement or attempts to walk or use your core.
As a result, bending at the knee or hips may be used to compensate and to alleviate associated pain. Furthermore, patients may experience swelling, discomfort, and bruising in the affected area.
Diagnosing Pelvic Fractures
As with most traumatic injuries, your doctor will first assess your overall health, including breathing and circulation. Your nerves are then examined to see if any injury has been sustained, including tests to determine your range of motion for ankles, toes, and feet. After those tests have been administered, the doctor will likely turn to imaging tests, which include the following:
- X-ray: Multiple pictures of the pelvis will be taken to determine displacement, if any, of the pelvic bones.
- CT Scan: This test can provide a more thorough look at the fracture. Any associated and additional injuries may be revealed, and surgical plans may be derived from this procedure.
- MRI: An MRI is an even more effective scan that will identify pelvic fractures that may not be detected by other tests.
Treating a Pelvic Fracture
Treatment for a pelvic fracture may include both surgical and non-surgical procedures, depending on the severity of the injury. Non-surgical treatments may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Walking Aids: Walkers and crutches may be recommended for a period of up to 90 days. If the pelvic fracture is severe, a wheelchair may be necessary to alleviate the pressure of the patient’s weight on the pelvis.
- Medicinal Treatment: Your doctor may prescribe pain medication and an anticoagulant to prevent potential blood clots in your lower body.
Surgery may also be necessary when the fracture is more severe. Several common procedures include:
- External Fixation Procedure: This procedure involves making incisions into the skin and muscle that surround the injured pelvis. After the incisions are made, metal pins or screws are inserted and then attached to an outer frame which holds the fractured pelvis in place to allow for stabilization and healing of the fracture.
- Skeletal Traction: A system of weights and pulleys aid in the alignment of the fractured pelvis. Often this option is implemented right after the injury and is removed before any subsequent surgeries. Pins are inserted into thigh or shin bones and weights are then attached; the weights help keep the fracture in a normal position, thus alleviating pain and discomfort.
- Open Reduction/Internal Fixation: In this procedure, the internal fracture is stabilized first, and then pins, screws, or plates are attached onto the pelvis itself to promote healing.
As with any surgery, risks are involved and must be addressed if any complications arise using the post-operative phase of recovery. Complications that may arise following treatment of a pelvic fracture include the following:
- Complications with the wounds, including possible infection
- Nerve or blood vessel damage
- Blood clots
- Pulmonary embolism, which means a blood clot may form in the lungs
Careful monitoring during the post-surgery phase is critical to avoid further injuries.
Recovery and Prognoses
After surgery or other procedures are performed, there will be a certain amount of pain that must be managed. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to help reduce pain and assist with the healing process. We feel it is our duty to warn of the dangers of opioid use, and any opioid prescriptions should only be used for short-term pain management.
Your doctor will likely recommend that you begin therapy and will want you to start moving again as soon as possible. Foot and leg exercises often precede walking and will help you regain confidence and strength. Flexibility exercises will follow, with additional exercises to build strength and endurance. After roughly three months, you should be able to walk without aid (depending on the severity of the injury).
Contact The Sevey Law Firm
The Sacramento and Roseville personal injury lawyers at The Sevey Law Firm understand that pelvic fractures can affect your ability to work and support yourself and your family. You may notice the medical bills and other expenses piling up, and you may be concerned about how you will pay them.
We’re here to tell you that you are not alone. Our team of attorneys has the experience and resources that you need to make sure that the responsible party pays for what they’ve done. We will aggressively fight on your behalf to get you the financial compensation you need to pay your bills and help you through the recovery process, no matter how long that might be.
As with any injury claim, time is limited to take legal action. Don’t wait until it is too late to get the money you are owed.
Contact The Sevey Law Firm today by calling (916) 788-7100, chatting with us live on our website, or filling out our quick contact form. We are here to listen to you and stand up for you when you need us most.