Orthopedic Injury Lawsuit
Injuries to the bones and muscles (orthopedic injuries) can be a common occurrence, especially as we get older. Sometimes these injuries are a result of our lifestyle, like an old sports injury; sometimes these injuries are due to no fault of our own, such as a slip and fall from a careless puddle of water.
These injuries can often result in surgical interventions using prosthetic implants to alleviate pain and attempt to fix the problem. In the case of negligence, such as slip and falls or defective medical devices, these injuries may lead to a personal injury lawsuit against a business, hospital, or medical device manufacturer.
Causes of Orthopedic Injuries
Injuries to the bones, muscles, tendons, and joints can be caused by many factors. Everyday activities like exercise and contact sports and accidental falls and accidents can put you at risk for injury. This type of injury causes pain and can often require a person to have surgery, increasing their risk for additional health problems.
Common orthopedic injuries are usually caused by everyday life and activities. A fall on an outstretched hand can lead to wrist fracture, while activities like contact sports can put a person at risk for many orthopedic traumas—knee injuries, ankle and foot sprains, meniscus tears, and more.
Even though everyday activities put the body at risk of orthopedic injuries, it shouldn’t stop you from getting out and moving. Exercising and building strong bones and muscles can prevent injuries from happening in the first place. But you should always talk with your doctor before starting any type of exercise or program.
Most Common Orthopedic Injuries
There are many different types of orthopedic injuries, just as there are many different bones, muscles, tendons, and joints in the body. Some orthopedic injuries, however, are more common than others.
When it comes to the bones and muscles in the body, the most common injuries include:
- Stress fractures
- Foot and ankle sprains
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Shoulder dislocation
- Rotator cuff tear
- ACL tear
- Plantar fasciitis
- Tennis elbow
These are tiny cracks in the bone caused by overuse of muscles. When muscles become fatigued, they no longer absorb shock and transfer that shock to the bone. This creates a small fracture that is treated with rest and sometimes surgery.
Foot and ankle sprains
Foot and ankle sprains are extremely common—an estimated 2 million people sprain their ankle each year. Usually, rest and compression take care of the injury in time, but some sprains may require surgery.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when one of the main nerves to the hand is squeezed and compressed. It is common in people who work long hours in an office typing at a computer or making a repetitive motion with their hands for long periods of time such as on an assembly line. The injury causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm that typically gets worse over time; therefore, early detection and treatment are essential.
A dislocated shoulder is often the cause of a sports-related injury or other trauma. One dislocated shoulder means another dislocation is likely.
Rotator cuff tears
The rotator cuff is located in the shoulder and allows the joint to move in a circular motion. Stress on the rotator cuff increases the risk for tears, which cause severe pain and limited mobility. Depending on the severity of the injury, rest and a shoulder brace may be the only treatment required, but some tears do require surgery.
The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is the main ligament on the knee and it can tear when making any sudden or abrupt movements. ACL injuries are a common injury among athletes and frequently require surgery.
Plantar fasciitis is the leading cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the ligament that attaches the toes and heel of the foot and can cause severe pain and swelling when it is stressed. Rest, better shoes, and decreased activity are the first line of treatment when addressing plantar fasciitis.
When tendons around the elbow are stressed, it can cause severe pain. This injury is known as “tennis elbow” and is caused by repetitive, weight-bearing motions of the wrist and arm. Rest is usually the best option for treatment.
Treatment Options and Risks
Treatment of orthopedic injuries will depend mainly on the kind of damage and the overall health of the patient. Most often treatment will include a variety of different methods; these can include rest, surgery, physical therapy, and pain management.
Your doctor or orthopedic surgeon will discuss your options with you. Together, you should make an informed decision about your treatment. It is essential to know the risks and benefits of each treatment option as some can put patients at increased risk for some other issues.
Surgical treatments can mean the use of prosthetic implants. There are many lawsuits now pending in state and federal courts across the country against various manufacturers of knee and hip implants. In addition to the risks of surgery, which include infection and adverse reactions to anesthesia, faulty implants may put patients at risk for device failure and the need for a second surgery.
Pain management using opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin put patients at risk for opioid abuse and overdose. The opioid epidemic in the United States paints a clear picture of the potential danger involved with taking these kinds of prescription drugs for chronic pain.
Personal Injury Orthopedics
Depending on the cause of an orthopedic injury, a person may choose to take legal action against a doctor, hospital, or medical device manufacturer. Typically, lawsuits against medical device manufacturers are personal injury cases in which a person (the plaintiff) accuses the company of manufacturing a defective product and failing to warn about its risks.
In the context of orthopedic personal injury cases, an orthopedic specialist is sometimes brought in on behalf of the plaintiff and their attorney to determine the extent and potential cause of the injury. Attorneys use these doctors on liens to help identify the severity of the injury, and they may even perform surgery to correct the patient’s lingering injury.
These types of doctors are an essential part of orthopedic personal injury cases, and these types of personal injury lawsuits are an indispensable tool for people harmed by negligent medical device manufacturers.