A number of bones often end up bearing the brunt of injuries during a crash as your body is forcefully moved during the collision. One of those is the collarbone (clavicle), which may break in a car accident and lead to weeks or months of downtime and difficulty going back to work.
Potential Symptoms With Car Accident Clavicle Injuries
These fractures in the shoulder area can heal naturally over time, but recovery often involves extended downtime to rest while healing. Physical therapy is often needed to increase mobility, as well. Surgery is less common with this type of collarbone fracture but not unheard of, and is typically needed if the collarbone suffered multiple fractures or broke through the skin.
Specific symptoms and complications of a collarbone fracture from a vehicle collision can include:
- Inability to lift the arm
- Nerve damage near the site of the broken bone
- Pronounced raised lump over the fracture site, which may become a permanent disfigurement in some cases
- Soft tissue injuries surrounding the clavicle
- Stiffness in the affected arm and shoulder
How Collarbone Fracture Occurs During a Car Crash
In some accidents, the collarbone is actually broken by the seatbelt as it prevents you from flying through the windshield. In other cases, the bone breaks when striking an object like the steering wheel. Due to various types of driver error or other negligent actions, collarbone injuries may take place during:
- Backup crashes
- Head-on car wrecks
- Hit and run incidents
- Multiple vehicle crashes
- Rear-end vehicle collisions
- Rideshare (Uber, Lyft, etc.) accidents
- T-Bone collisions
Of course, broken collarbones are also a strong possibility in commercial cargo truck wrecks, as well as accidents when a pedestrian or motorcyclist is struck by a vehicle on the road.
Protecting Yourself Financially After a Clavicle Fracture
Medical costs can balloon easily with a clavicle injury, which may become a disaster if you aren’t able to go back to work anytime soon.
Of course, your safety and physical condition are paramount in a car accident situation. Seeking medical attention for broken bones sustained in a car accident as quickly as possible following a crash is important, but there are actions to take at the scene if you are physically able, like:
- Calling the authorities so a local law enforcement officer can investigate the crash.
- Getting the contact details of anyone who witnessed the car crash that caused your collarbone injury.
- Pulling out your phone and take snapshots of the accident scene to begin collecting evidence for your case.
- Visiting a medical professional immediately. This step remains important even in situations where you don’t think you are badly injured. Symptoms of serious internal injuries are not always obvious in the hours after an accident.
After your physical health is taken care of, the next step is to find skilled legal representation. That step is critical to protecting you from common insurance tactics to pay less than you deserve. It's also important if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party responsible for your fractured clavicle.
In either situation, an experienced attorney can collect and then present all the evidence necessary to establish:
- How and when your injury occurred
- The effect that injury has had on your income, physical condition, and emotional well-being
- Who is liable for your damages and presents a good potential source of compensation
- Why that person is liable for your costs, such as negligent behavior like distracted or drowsy driving, failing to follow traffic laws, getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, or so on.
Compensation from insurance or a lawsuit could potentially cover costs like hospital bills, surgery expenses, lost income, as well as various non-economic damages for physical pain and other effects on your life.