The pelvis is a ring made up of two bones joined at the back of the sacrum (tailbone) and the front of the pubis symphysis. The pelvis is extremely important, as it protects the bladder, bowel, sexual organs, as well as the blood vessels and nerves that go to your legs.
When the ring is “disrupted” due to trauma, the integrity of the pelvis is altered and may require surgery, or several surgeries, to fix.
Pelvic fracture injuries are most commonly seen in pedestrian accidents, but that’s not to say they can’t happen in any type of motor vehicle collision. In fact, pelvic injuries occur in about 10 percent of all pedestrian accidents.
Pedestrians and Pelvic Fractures
While traffic safety advocates continue to preach pedestrian safety, these type of accidents continue to occur. Pedestrians are most often struck or clipped while crossing the street, but they may also occur on sidewalks, road shoulders, parking lots, etc.
While crossing the street, pedestrians are at a disadvantage. Speeding motorists have a size advantage and may not be able to stop if they are drunk, distracted, tired, or high on drugs. Studies have shown that 71 percent of pedestrian accidents with a pelvic injury involved a hit from the side.
It’s easy to see why pedestrians suffer these injuries. The height of the front of most vehicles reaches an adult’s thigh or hip area, striking a pedestrian in the pelvic region. When the thigh makes contact with the hood, the femur (thighbone) bends. The further it bends, the more likely it is to fracture.
The shade of a car’s hood also affects the likelihood of a pelvic fracture occurring. A rounder hood means the impact is distributed across more of the thigh, creating a rolling motion that lessens the impact. Older vehicles with a more square design are more dangerous for pelvic injuries.
And as bumper height increases, pelvic injuries increase. A higher bumper lessens the likelihood of a thigh injury, but the pelvis is more exposed to damage. Studies done on SUVs, which have high bumpers relative to smaller passenger cars, have a 12 percent increase in pelvic injuries.
How Pelvic Fractures Develop in an Accident
As stated above, pelvic injuries are almost always the result of significant trauma. Collisions with a motor vehicle as a pedestrian, falls from height or crush incidents may result in these type of injuries.
There are four types of pelvic injuries:
- Anterior-posterior (AP) compression fracture: This type of pelvic fracture involves a widening of the pelvic ring. This may cause internal bleeding.
- Lateral compression injury: This type of injury occurs when an impact from the side creates lateral compression of the pelvis. This may result in broken bone causing damage to the organs.
- Vertical shear injury: This type of injury comes from high-force impact, and may cause major injuries to the pelvic ring, the SI joints, ligaments and blood vessels. This may result in major pelvic instability and internal bleeding.
- Complex pattern injury: When any of the above pelvic injuries happen in conjunction, it is classified as a complex pattern injury.
Complications from Pelvic Fractures
If a victim suffers nerve damage in a pelvic injury, there is the real possibility that there could be permanent damage. It’s important that pelvic fracture patients do rehabilitation to prevent the permanent damage.
And just like with any other surgical procedure, there is always the possibility of infection. Pelvic injuries routinely go along with other fractures to the legs and torso, extending the rehab timeline. Many patients need to re-learn to walk after these serious incidents.
The long-term prognosis for severe pelvic injuries is a case-by-case situation.
Contact an Attorney After a Pelvic Injury
If you or a loved one has suffered a pelvic injury in any type of accident, it’s important that you are fairly compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, future rehabilitation costs, as well as pain and suffering. Cases such as these can be complex and time consuming, and the team at Davis Law Group, P.S., believes victims should focus on their healing while we work for you.
For a free case evaluation with a Washington state injury attorney, contact Davis Law Group today. We are available 24/7 and work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t owe us anything unless we win a settlement for you.
Call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page to get started.