Orthopaedic Injuries in Personal Injury Claims

Car accidents, falls and sports activities are the most common causes of orthopaedic injury associated with accidents.

Orthopaedic (or ‘orthopedic’) injuries are injuries that affect joints, muscles and nerves. This often includes bone fractures and injuries to the tendon, ligaments, cartilage and muscles that support the bones. In the case of very serious orthopaedic injuries, the bone can sometimes become displaced, causing damage to nerves and surrounding tissue.

With regard to personal injuries, the most common orthopaedic injuries are sprains, muscle strains, fractures, spinal damage, joint damage and nerve pressure. While some of these injuries can heal quickly, such as sprains and strains, some can lead to more permanent problems, such as chronic pain and issues with mobility. The most common causes of orthopedic injuries are car accidents, sports injuries, slip, trip and fall accidents and physical assaults.

There are approximately 9.6 Million drivers in Ontario and given that Highway 401 is the busiest highway in North America, it is not surprising that car accidents are the leading cause of personal injury in Canada. In many of these collisions, the accident victims suffer orthopedic injuries of various severity. In 2013, almost 60,000 people were injured in car accidents in Ontario, 476 of them fatally injured.

The leading causes of car accidents in Ontario are as follows:

  • Impaired driving or driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Distracted driving and driver fatigue
  • Speeding and aggressive driving
  • Inexperienced (novice and young) drivers

Drinking and driving continues to be responsible for the most fatalities resulting from car accidents. Although not listed as a cause of collisions, a failure to wear a seatbelt also contributes to many fatalities (13 percent). Whatever the cause, orthopaedic injuries commonly resulting from car accidents include fractures to arms and legs, joint damage, sprains and spinal damage.

Another common cause of personal injury that often involves orthopedic injuries is slip, trip and fall accidents. The risk of slip, trip and fall accidents is fairly high and certainly not confined to the icy conditions common to Canadian winters. Slip, trip and fall accidents can occur in the home, workplace, parking lots, restaurants, stores, roads and sidewalks and public buildings. Some of the most common causes of these types of accidents include: wet or oily surfaces, clutter or debris, icy roads, loose or uneven flooring, poor lighting/visibility and stairways lacking proper handrails. Like car accidents, these types of accidents often lead to sprains, joint damage, fractures and other types of orthopaedic injuries. Many reputable organisations, such as the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, offer useful information on symptoms and treatments for orthopaedic injuries.

It is important to know that if you or someone you love has been the victim of a car accident or slip, trip and fall accident or any other type of accident that leads to orthopaedic injuries, due to the negligence of another, you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. You may have a case for a successful negligence claim.

This was the case when Marjory Cartner slipped and fell on the sidewalk on her way to work. Ms. Cartner suffered a severe fracture to her right femur as a result of the accident, which occurred after she slipped on some soft mud that had pooled on the sidewalk. Along with the owners of the property nearby, from which the substance was believed to have originated, Ms. Cartner also sued the city of Burlington for negligence in Cartner v. Burlington (City), 2008. The judge ultimately decided that both the owners of the property and the City were liable for the accident.

With regard to the City of Burlington, it was concluded that the sidewalk where the incident occurred was in a state of non-repair as defined by the Municipal Act and further, that this state of non-repair did contribute to Ms. Cartner’s accident and injuries. Ms. Cartner was awarded $121,000 in general damages and $171,000 in special damages for loss of past and future income.

Another incident of negligence leading to orthopaedic injury occurred when Andrea McIntyre, a first-year McMaster University student was struck down by a car while walking along the curb with friends. The driver of the ‘at fault’ vehicle was driving while intoxicated, with about three times the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream at the time of the accident. Ms. McIntyre, who was an inter-collegiate athlete at the time, suffered a number of injuries, including the fracture of her right femur. Six years after the incident she was still suffering from chronic pain, including lower back pain and numbness to her inner thigh. It was also noted by a medical expert that Ms. McIntyre would be unable to resume the level of athletic competition she once engaged in. At trial, the jury awarded Ms. McIntyre and her family damages in excess of $250,000.

Orthopaedic injuries can have a severe, permanent and debilitating impact on the lives of accident victims. If you or someone you love have suffered serious injury due to another person’s negligence, contact a personal injury lawyer to find out how we can help you get compensation that will ease the financial burden resulting from your injury.

At Injury Lawyers of Ontario, our knowledgeable and empathetic team of personal injury lawyers have supported and helped many families as they struggle with a severe injury or loss resulting from an accident. We understand how physically and emotionally draining the process can be. Our staff welcomes your questions and will update you on progress throughout the claims process, if you choose to make a claim for compensation, as our lawyers apply their extensive expertise towards achieving the best outcome for your case.

Please do not hesitate to call or visit us online. We invite you to a free initial consultation to advise you on your best legal options.


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