There are many car crash injuries that can make everyday life much more difficult, but hand and wrist injuries do not get as much attention as things like traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord damage. We use our hands for countless tasks each day, and an injury that causes pain or limits mobility can be incredibly disruptive.
Our experienced attorneys discuss some of the most common hand and wrist injuries that often occur in car crashes, how and why they often happen and validating claims for compensation for wrist injury damages.
If you have questions after suffering a car crash injury, give us a call today to learn how we may be able to help you to secure compensation. There are no upfront fees for our services and our Lafayette car crash attorneys do not get paid unless our clients get paid.
Common Hand and Wrist Injuries from Car Accidents
You could divide hand and wrist injuries into two main categories, bone injuries and soft-tissue injuries. Soft tissues are things like muscles, ligaments and tendons, and they can be strained or torn when exposed to blunt force trauma.
The human hand has five fingers with 14 bones, also called phalanges. Each finger is connected to the rest of your palm by an individual metacarpal bone. There are also eight small bones, called carpals, that connect your hand to your wrist.
Your carpals connect with the radius and ulna, which form the wrist. There are also three joints in your wrist:
- Radiocarpal joint
- Distal radioulnar joint
- Ulnocarpal joint
Any of these bones could suffer a complete or partial fracture in a car crash. For example, many crash victims suffer what is called a scaphoid fracture, which is a fracture in the wrist. Others may suffer a distal radius fracture, which is a break in a large bone in the forearm.
Crash victims could suffer a broken phalanx, or broken finger. Blunt trauma from an auto accident could also break the carpal bones connecting the wrist and hand.
Some crash victims suffer crush injuries, caused by extreme pressure on the hand or wrist. These injuries could cause fractures and damage to muscles and tendons.
Even if bones do not break, they could become dislocated. For example, a joint could shift out of its usual place. When a joint becomes completely separated, it is known as a luxation. Partial dislocation is known as a subluxation.
Your hands contain many soft tissues, including:
These tissues can easily be damaged, particularly in a car crash. Soft-tissue injuries can be divided into four categories:
The impact from a car crash and/or hitting your hand or wrist on the steering wheel or something else inside your car could cause a bruise, also known as a contusion. Many of these will heal on their own, but a bruise may accompany another more severe injury.
Crash victims could suffer serious cuts, called lacerations, puncture wounds or scraping of the top layer of the skin, also known as an abrasion.
If a laceration goes deep enough, the damage may be catastrophic, and it could lead to an amputation.
If the muscles or ligaments in your hands and wrists get stretched too far, they could tear. Even if a tear does not occur, there could be significant pain and inflammation. This is known as a grade one sprain and is often treated with ice and heat.
A grade three sprain is the most serious, which occurs when there is complete tearing. The tear could bring with it small pieces of bone, known as an avulsion fracture. Victims likely need surgery to repair the damage.
A grade two sprain occurs when there is a partial tear that could limit the function of your hand and/or wrist. You may need to immobilize the area for a time to let it heal.
Damage to Tendons
Tendons are often damaged when there is a fracture in the wrist or hand. When tendons become swollen or inflamed, it is known as tendinitis. This is a condition that can severely limit the range of motion in the wrist or hands.
Bones are connected to joints by ligaments, and they may get damaged when a joint is dislocated. When wrist ligaments tear, they can cause severe inflammation that can press into the median nerve, which may result in carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a condition characterized by numbness or tingling in your hands or fingers.
Common Symptoms Indicating a Wrist or Hand Injury
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you need to seek medical treatment right away to diagnose and treat the problem:
- Weak grip
- Stiff joints
- Bruising or redness
- Difficulty or inability to move or straighten the fingers, hands or wrists
- Burning sensation in your wrist or hand
- Warmth in your hands or wrists
Sometimes symptoms are severe right away. However, there are times when symptoms are delayed. You may not notice them for days or weeks after the crash. It is important not to wait to seek treatment, as the injury could get much worse. Waiting to seek treatment can also make it harder to link an injury to a car crash.
Doctors can do an X-ray to diagnose injuries to bones or joints or an MRI to discover soft-tissue damage. Doctors may recommend a CT scan to try to find injuries to nerves, soft tissues or even blood cells.
It is also important to be detailed in discussions with doctors. Explain what is hurting, how severe the pain is, and explain how mobility or range of motion in your hands or wrists have become limited.
Why do Hand and Wrist Injuries Occur in Car Crashes?
Hands and wrists often get injured because drivers get a strong grip on the steering wheel when bracing for a collision. This is bad because it allows the force of the crash to be channeled right into the driver’s wrists and hands. This could lead to fractures or soft-tissue injuries.
Tensing up is a natural response to a dangerous situation, and your hands and wrists may be the first body parts to get tense.
Hands and wrists could also be injured during impact. You could hit your hand on the steering wheel or the dashboard. The crash could jostle you around, causing your hand to hit the inside of the door. One of your hands could also hit the airbag.
Your hands could get injured by something that comes through the window or windshield. It is possible for your hand to hit a passenger or for them to get jostled around and hit your hand by accident.
Validating a Claim for a Hand or Wrist Injury
Immediate treatment is vital, as it helps to link your injury to the crash. If there is a gap in time between the crash and your first meeting with a doctor, the insurance company is likely to be suspicious about the cause of your injury.
If you know how you hit your hand during the crash, tell the doctor so it will be noted in your medical records. This could go a long way in helping to validate your claim.
Call to Discuss Your Accident and Legal Options
Crash victims are often unsure about their legal options and what they may be eligible to recover in an insurance claim. During this difficult time, talking to a licensed attorney can be an important step.
At Galloway Jefcoat, we have obtained millions on behalf of car crash victims in Louisiana, and we are ready to help you determine possible legal options. An initial consultation is free, and you do not have any obligation to hire our firm after meeting with us. If you do decide to work with us, there are no upfront fees.
Free consultation. Millions Recovered. Call today: (337) 984-8020.