HIP INJURIES & FRACTURES - COMMON CAUSES - FRACTURE SEVERITY

Tryk Law - Fresno California Hip Fracture & Injury Attorneys
The body is a complex thing and this page aims to aid our current and potential clients with the information necessary to educate themselves about the injuries already diagnosed by treating physicians - Important Note - Our medical information by no means offers you medical advice. IMPORTANT NOTE - We are lawyers not doctors. We love the study of medicine as it is fascinating. Most importantly, we must know the medical side of your case and anatomy of your injuries to effectively represent you in your California Personal Injury Case. We gladly defer to your medical professional in this regard and they are always your first and best source for medical information.
FRACTURED HIP INJURIES
In order to better understand hip injuries in addition to how and why they occur, it is important to understand the hip, the anatomy of the hip and its functionality.

The hip is defined as the region on each side of the pelvis. The hip bone is made up of three sections, including the following:
  • Ilium - the broad, flaring portion of the hip bone (the crest of the pelvis).
  • Pubis - the lower, posterior part of the hip bone.
  • Ischium - one of the bones that helps form the hip.

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that allows motion and provides stability needed to bear body weight. The socket area, which is inside the pelvis, is called the acetabulum. The ball part of this joint is the top of the leg bone. It joins with the acetabulum to form the hip joint.

The hip is one of the most stable joints in the body. But, its function, bearing the body's weight, makes it susceptible to arthritis due to excessive pressure. Pain in the hip may involve injury to muscles, tendons, or bursae (small fluid-filled sacs that cushion and lubricate joints).
What are Some Common Hip Problems?
The following are some of the most common hip problems:
  • Arthritis - the most common cause of the breakdown of hip tissue.

There are three kinds of arthritis that commonly affect the hip, including the following:
  • Osteoarthritis - also referred to as "wear and tear" arthritis; this type of arthritis involves the cartilage that cushions the bones of the hip wearing away, letting the bones then rub together, causing hip pain and stiffness.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis - a disease in which, for unknown reasons, the synovial membrane becomes irritated and produces too much fluid. It damages the cartilage, leading to pain and stiffness.
  • Traumatic Arthritis - often the result of an injury or fracture, there are more than 300,000 hospitalizations for hip fractures in the United States every year.
  • Avascular Necrosis - involves the loss of bone caused by insufficient blood supply, injury, and bone tumors and may lead to breakdown of the hip joint.
  • Bursitis - in this condition, the bursa, a closed fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body, becomes inflamed.
There are two major bursae of the hip, both of which can be associated with stiffness and pain around the hip joint, including the following:
  • Trochanteric Bursa - the bursa located on the side of the hip and separated significantly from the actual hip joint by tissue and bone.
  • Ischial Bursa - the bursa located in the upper buttock area.
  • Hip pointer - a bruise or tear in the muscle that connects to the top of the ileum (the crest of the pelvis, just below the waist). Causes of a hip pointer may include a blow, a fall, or a quick twist or turn of the body.
Common Causes of a Hip Fractures
Most hip fractures occur in elderly persons in their own homes. Around three out of 10 people 65 years of age and older will have at least one fall a year. Half of all people 80 years of age or over will have at least one fall a year.

Falls are more common in elderly people because they are more likely to have other health problems that increase their risk of falling, such as:
 
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Problems with balance;
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension), which can cause dizziness and fainting;
  • Osteoporosis.
 
  • Reduced mobility (not being able to move as easily as a younger person);
  • Dementia;
  • Poor vision;
 
Our firm handles cases involving pedestrian incidents, premises liability incidents, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accidents, construction accidents and other types of incidents where a person sustains a hip fracture due to the fault of another person.

Premises liability incidents are one of the more common causes of hip fracture in the elderly outside of a fall in their own home. These incidents occur many times when elderly persons slip and fall on the premises of another person, business or property due to the negligence or failure of that entity to properly maintain the property. These cases largely occur at supermarkets, mini markets, department stores in addition to hotels and motels that fail to place proper matting inside and outside their restroom and shower areas.

Falls are one of the leading causes of injury in the United States and one of the more common injuries sustained by the elderly in a fall are hip fractures. Companies have a duty to maintain their property in a manner that is safe for all persons, especially the elderly.

As explained, a fall can lead to a hip fracture if bones are weak due to a condition called osteoporosis. From about 35 years of age, you gradually lose bone density (how solid the bone is). This is a normal part of ageing, but for some people it can lead to osteoporosis. Many people wonder, why it should be a property owner’s problem or responsibility when a person sustained a hip fracture because their bones are more brittle. CACI Instruction 3928 sheds some light on this subject.

Judicial Council of California Jury Instruction 3928 - Unusually Susceptible Plaintiff”, means that businesses and other entities or defendants are responsible despite the condition Plaintiff was in, prior to an incident. If the Plaintiff had a similar condition which was made worse, we often stress the importance of Judicial Council of California Jury Instruction 3927-Aggravation of Pre-Existing Condition or Disability. Often times, one of our clients has one or more pre-existing conditions and an accident makes it worse. Many of them think because they had a similar condition prior to the accident, that they cannot recover for their injuries now that the condition is worse. You can and we will help you just like we have helped others and continue to do on a daily basis.

Healthy bones are very dense, and the spaces inside the bones are small. In bone affected by osteoporosis, the spaces are larger.

This makes the bones:
 
  • Weaker;
  • Less elastic (flexible);
 
  • More likely to break;
  • Learn more about osteoporosis.
 
Hip Fractures in Younger People
Hip fractures that occur in younger people are most often due to a serious traumatic incident, such as a fall from height, construction accident, car wreck, motorcycle wreck, or a sporting injury. Hip fractures in younger persons are less common because the general rule is that, a youthful person has stronger bones.

A Verdict Search California Report came out recently with a new statistic on the trial and settlement value (they are lumped together) of fractured hip cases. The median settlement values for fractured hip cases are:

  • 2011 - $160,000
  • 2010- $200,000
  • 2009- $115,000
As a point of comparison, Jury Verdict Research last year provided the following data on hip fractures:

  • Award Median: $175,000
  • Award Mean: $435,581
  • Probability Range: $80,978-$382,500
  • Award Range: $1,690-$7,888,900

In this data, the gap between the median and the mean is striking. Nine percent of Hip Fracture awards are over $1 million, which certainly inflates the average.

After handling a number of hip fracture cases, I was surprised at the value these cases can reach, either by settlement or verdict. This can likely be attributed to fractured hips often occurring in the elderly population, which leads to significant trauma. For an elderly person, a hip fracture can be utterly debilitating. This is because they become bedridden for a substantial amount of time and the exercise and mobility that once kept them healthy has vanished, causing their health to further deteriorate.

If you are injured in a car, truck accident or motorcycle accident, there is rarely a legitimate pre-existing condition argument that can be made. A hip fracture from auto and truck accidents can be a permanent, life altering event for some patients, often leading to impaired balance and gait and loss of functional independence. The value of a hip fracture case may also depend upon the type of hip fracture, which directs the type of intervention that is required. Only one-third of fractured hip cases require surgery, but that number is much higher for hip fractures suffered in car and truck accidents.

Insurance companies will often seek to settle a hip fracture case quickly, knowing a re-fracture or a secondary hip fracture is a good possibility in these cases. The client has to make the call, but client must understand that a settlement is final and while the expectation of potential future injury may be factored into the settlement, the value of a hip fracture case will increase if there is a re-fracture or secondary fracture.

Contact Tryk Law Today for your Hip Fracture Injury
If you have sustained a hip injury or fracture due to a car accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident, slip and fall, construction accident, or other traumatic accident, Call Tryk Law – Accident Injury Attorneys today at 888-655-1358 or locally at 559-840-3240 and speak to a lawyer about your case. You can also complete our Online Questionnaire by Clicking Here.