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Leep, Tescher, Helfman And Zanze

When do broken bones cause permanent disability for workers?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2020 | workplace injuries |

Most workers who get hurt on the job will have minimal need for workers’ compensation. In a lot of cases, the benefits someone can secure through California workers’ compensation after a workplace injury may only need to cover basic medical care immediately after the incident and possibly the loss of wages for a few days or a couple of weeks.

In rare, more severe, cases, an individual who gets hurt on the job might wind up with a permanent disability. In fact, even injuries that people sometimes think of as minor or at least easy to recover from, like broken bones, can result in a permanent disability that leaves someone unable to return to work and possibly reduces their quality of life as well, meaning they will need permanent disability benefits.

Certain severe fractures may not allow for total recovery

There are many different ways in which a bone can break. A simple fracture usually involves a single, clean break in the bone. A compound fracture is more dangerous because the bone will tear tissue and exit the skin. Not only is there a substantial risk of infection, but the trauma to the injury site is also worse.

There are also spiral fractures, which are the result of twisting pressure applied to a bone. A spiral fracture can produce many small breaks and leave the pieces of the bone improperly aligned. Even after surgery, those with severe fractures may struggle to regain their strength or flexibility in the affected area of the body, potentially preventing them from continuing in the same line of work that they once pursued.

Broken bones can sometimes lead to secondary medical conditions

While it may be rare, it is possible for someone to have the broken bone itself heal but still have the fracture produce a permanent, disabling injury. In some cases, a fracture can cause damage to the nerves nearby. It may be possible for people to experience worsening pain and new symptoms as the actual injury heals.

Deep, tingling pain, discrepancies in temperature when compared with other parts of your body, discoloration of the skin, hair or nails near the injury site are all potential signs of the debilitating and permanent medical condition known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

These are just two examples of how a broken bone could leave someone permanently unable to work and in need of disability benefits from workers’ compensation. Anyone with unusual or severe outcomes after a workplace injury needs to educate themselves about their right before they make decisions or accept offers related to their compensation.