In most head-on collisions the crash is sudden, but the driver and passenger(s) sometimes see the other car coming. Our body’s natural reaction is to press our foot to either the brake pedal or the floor in anticipation of a collision. Two cars colliding head-on can be devastating and often result in debilitating injuries to the ankle.
Ankle injuries, similar to knee injuries, are among the most common injuries in severe car accidents and head-on collisions. The ankle is a complex structure of bones and ligaments that provide stability to our everyday activities and even a minor ankle injury can result in loss of activity and pain and suffering.
The ankle is made up of three bones that come together: the tibia, the fibula, and the talus. The tibia is the main bone of the lower leg and makes up the medial, or inside, ankle bone; the fibula is a smaller bone that parallels the tibia in the lower leg and makes up the lateral, or outside, anklebone; the far ends of both the tibia and fibula are known as the malleoli. Together they form an arch that sits on top of the talus, one of the bones in the foot.
In a severe car accident the ankle bones are sometimes broken. There are different kinds of breaks or fractures and they are diagnosed by x-rays. If the bone is not displaced or only slightly displaced and the ankle is stable, doctors are able to use non-surgical treatment, such as, a cast. In these situations, broken ankles do not require surgery, but are still painful and affect our daily activities.
If the fracture is displaced or unstable, surgery is required to repair it. Ankle surgery is serious. Most often, bone fragments need to be realigned and metal screws and plates used to hold the fragments together. In more severe cases, metal screws or rods may be placed inside the bone to keep the fragments together during the healing process.
There are also a number of ligaments and tendons that hold the ankle bones and muscles together. The ligaments of the ankle hold the ankle bones and joint in position. They protect the ankle joint from abnormal movements. In a serious car accident our ankles sometimes twist or roll unnaturally with such force that our ligaments stretch, tear or rupture. The result is a sprained ankle. Usually, ankle sprains cause pain, swelling and bruising. The amount of force that caused the sprain determines the grade of the sprain. A mild sprain with some ligament stretching is a Grade 1. A moderate sprain with partial ligament tearing is a Grade 2. A severe strain with a complete tear of the ligament is a Grade 3.
A doctor will conduct a physical exam of your ankle, which may be painful, to diagnose your ankle injury. In more serious cases, the doctor will order an MRI to diagnose severe ligament injuries to the ankle. As with broken bones, there is non-surgical treatment and surgical treatment. Although, surgical treatment is somewhat rare with ankle sprains.
The Value of Ankle Injuries
Any type of injury to the ankle, being a weight bearing joint, is significant. The value of an accident case in which a broken or sprained ankle is sustained can vary. This depends on the severity of the injury, the extent of treatment (surgical vs. non-surgical), amount of medical bills and the time it takes to heal. The pain and suffering is usually substantial with broken or sprained ankles. This is especially so where the ankle injury affects your daily activities, such as, driving and walking around. We have seen verdicts and settlements range from $20,000 to $100,000 from ankle injuries suffered in car accidents.
If you suffered a serious ankle injury because of someone else’s negligence, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Please contact us for free information on accident claims.