Our Atlanta personal injury law firm handles serious hip injury cases. This Georgia legal article explains your rights to damages and compensation.
- Fractured or dislocated hip injuries from car, truck or motorcycle accidents are among the most expensive and life altering injuries that our personal injury lawyers see on a regular basis.
- The negligent person or company who caused the accident can be held responsible to pay for the costs of hip injuries, including surgical bills and physical therapy.
- Hip injury claims often involve future medical care and permanent injury, for which you may be due compensation.
- A car accident lawyer can help calculate hip injury damages, such as future lost earnings, damages for permanent impairment and future hip-replacement surgery.
Hip injury cases can be proven by the forces of impact and medical expert testimony.
Medical care for hip injuries is expensive. Who pays for it?
As you may know, hip injuries can mean expensive surgery, injections, physical therapy and an extended recovery period. Who is responsible to pay for your past and future medical care?
You might be surprised that it first falls to you to pay for this care — no matter how expensive — until you are later reimbursed by the at-fault driver and their insurance company. If you have health insurance, your company pays first, and is re-paid later.
But what if you do not have medical insurance? Medicare, Medicaid or legal financing that a car accident lawyer may be able to help coordinate may be available to pay for your care. You may be able to purchase medical insurance in the future from your injury settlement, to pay for future care or procedures. However, your injury attorney should take steps to recover as much money as may be needed to pay for future surgery or therapy, to the extent insurance or payment is available.
How Do You Prove Your Hip Injuries Was Caused in A Car Accident?
Insurance adjusters may sometimes argue that your hip injury was pre-existing, the result of arthritis, or that your hip is just “worn out.” How do you prove that the insurance company is wrong?
Blunt force is usually at fault when hips are fractured. When collisions occur, the laws of physics come into play. The energy from the moving vehicles is transferred to the people inside the vehicles when cars collide. The amount of physical injury to drivers and passengers depends upon the size and weight of the involved vehicles, and the speed at which the vehicles are travelling.
Sometimes it is obvious, based on the amount of damage and the force of the impact that your hip was injured in the crash. Still, insurance adjusters and personal injury lawyers will review the forces involved and the amount of car accident damage, your medical records, and how soon after the crash you reported injury.
Past medical records demonstrating that you never had complaints of hip pain or degenerative arthritis can also be used. If you were an athlete or an active person, friends, family or records of your recreation activities such as bowling, basketball, running or going to the gym can be used to prove you did not have prior issues.
How Much is a Georgia Hip Injury or Fracture Case Worth?
The value of a hip injury case is dependent both on the cost of past and future medical care, and the extent of the injury and recovery. Although no one ever suffers a “minor” (to the victim) hip injury, a case where the hip recovers quickly and fully, and the medical bills are $5,000 – $10,000 may be worth under $30,000.
Hip injury cases that require injections and physical therapy may be worth $20,000 – $100,000 depending on the level of severity and length of recovery.
Serious dislocations, fractures or hip replacement surgery cases typically are worth between $100,000 and $1,000,000. In the more serious cases, the settlement value of the injury claim may depend on the amount of available insurance, and may also be based on the cost of future care. For example, many people who need hip replacement may require another surgery in the future. This will mean that the amount of compensatory damages the person deserves is larger.
Other factors that control the value of a hip injury settlement or lawsuit are how easy or difficult it is to prove the crash caused your injury and whether a victim has pre-existing conditions such as arthritis or a prior hip replacement.
What is a Hip Fracture?
While we might think that a hip fracture involves the big, flat bones that flare out from the pelvis, the ilia, the sort of hip fractures most often seen occur at or around the head of the femur, the large thigh bone. It is important to note that there are actually three sections to the anatomy of the hip: the ilium as mentioned above, the pubis, and the ischium. If any of these bones is fractured, it is considered a hip or pelvic fracture since the bones all work together. Forceful impact in a fall or collision can fracture any or all of these bones.
About 90 percent of hip fractures fall into one of the two following categories:
- Fracture of the Femoral Neck: This break occurs in the femur and is found an inch or two from the place where the round head of the bone meets the socket of the hip. This kind of break can involve torn blood vessels, stopping or impeding the blood flow to the femur.
- Intertrochanteric Fractures: Intertrochanteric hip fractures are located several inches more distant from the joint.
Most hip fractures require surgical repair or replacement so they can be both expensive and require long-term medical treatment. Some hip fractures heal in a matter of weeks or months. Others may never be the same.
Hip Fractures Can Change Lives
When hip fractures happen in the elderly, they can complicate life and even bring on an early death in some patients. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states that the impact of a fractured hip, especially in the case of older adults, can include these serious complications:
- Higher rate of mortality,
- Inability to maintain independence and prior living conditions
- Increased need for care and supervision
- Decreased quality of life
- Compromised mobility
- Greater risk for infections
- Greater likelihood of blood clots as a result of limited mobility
At particular risk are elderly females who may suffer from bone density issues like osteoporosis are at greater risk for hip fractures and the complications associated with them. Since an accident that causes a hip fracture may well change your life forever, it’s important that you seek medical care quickly.
If You Experience Hip Pain After A Car or Truck Accident, Seek Medical Attention.
Following an accident, you are wise to seek medical care immediately. Even if you think you’re fine, it’s a good idea to get checked out. Know that if you have any of the following symptoms, you may have sustained a hip fracture and may need surgical intervention.
- Severe pain in the lower back or hip
- Pain in the groin at the point where the leg attaches to the torso
- Being unable to stand up
- Being unable to move your lower body
- Inability to put weight on the injured leg
- bruising and swelling around the hip
- stiffness and pain of the leg or the side injured
- Unnatural positioning of the leg or hip
What if the Other Driver Has No Insurance?
Even though Georgia requires liability insurance, not all the drivers on the road today are insured. And it often, the policy limits for these policies are sometimes insufficient to pay for the damages. In such cases, your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage may help compensate you after an accident.
Can Pre-Existing Conditions Hurt My Case?
It depends. In Georgia, the at-fault driver or other negligent individual responsible for the accident is liable for the injuries suffered by other drivers and passengers. When someone else’s carelessness or negligence causes injury to others, the law is on the victim’s side.
Even so, that does not guarantee that the insurance company for the at-fault driver or negligent property owner will be eager to pay your claim. Some pre-existence of conditions like osteoporosis which may have made your injury worse should not hurt your case. Your hip was not broken or fractured before the accident, not it is. This is not your fault.
However, some other conditions such as arthritic changes may make it harder to prove your hip was injured, particularly if there is not major visible damage showing on an x-ray or MRI after your crash.
Fortunately, the law in Georgia is that an injured party be taken as he or she is at moment of the accident. In other words, any pre-existing conditions that were aggravated by a crash are still compensable.
Evidence of Fault of the Negligent Party in a Hip Injury Case
As in any other type of car accident claim, you will need to prove the negligent party was, indeed, the cause of your injury. This can be done through evidence such as:
- Police Reports
- Eye Witness Testimony
- Photos and Videos from the Scene
- Expert Medical Testimony
- Accident Reconstruction Experts
Begin gathering important documents and evidence as quickly after the accident as possible. Other records including cell phone records and data plan records can also be subpoenaed in order to prove that the at-fault driver was using a cell phone or distracted by other devices at the time of the accident.
Which Atlanta Injury Attorneys Are Qualified to Handle Hip Injury Claims?
As you consider hiring an attorney, be sure to ask him or her to explain their experience in handling cases like this. Seek out a law firm that offers a free consultation and case evaluation and ask for examples of past cases the attorney and law firm have handled and settled successfully or tried to a jury verdict.
The Millar Law Firm offers free consultations in hip and other serious injury cases. We can be reached at 770-400-0000. (dial “770-Four Million”).
I would highly recommend this firm and staff to everyone, they were great with my case.