Did you break your elbow in a slip and fall accident?

You were walking in a parking lot with terrible lighting and the next thing you know you’re on the ground. You look down and you tripped over a parking bumper that you couldn’t see. Your elbow is burning. The ambulance takes you to Leesburg Regional Medical Center. The emergency room doctor evaluates you, takes x-rays, and tells you that you injured the have a broken elbow. She called it a “terrible triad” injury. The doctor wraps the elbow in a bandage and sets you up to see an orthopedic surgeon the next day. You left the hospital with a lot of questions like:

  • What exactly is going on?
  • What is the fix?
  • Do I have to worry about anything in the future?
  • Can I receive compensation for my medical expenses and injuries from the owner of the parking lot?

Here are the answers to your questions:

Terrible Triad Elbow Injury

It is a fracture of two bones with dislocation of another. The bones that are broken are in the forearm. Technically, it’s a fracture of the radial head and coronoid process of the ulna, and because these bones break and separate, the humerus (big bone of the upper arm) can dislocate.

What is the fix?

Typically, this condition is treated by fixation of the bones so they can be put in a position and hopefully heal so the elbow can function.

Do I have to worry about anything in the future?

Because of bones are displaced and dislocated there are two common complications that can occur. The first is nerve damage. There are three main nerves that travel down the arm and into the hand. These nerves are the radial nerve, the median nerve and the ulnar nerve. Any or all of these nerves can be damaged with the fractures and/or dislocation.

The second complication is heterotopic ossification, which is abnormal calcium growth in the soft tissues (muscles) surrounding the elbow. If the calcium deposit develops, the elbow can lose motion and function. The calcium deposits can also injure the nerves in the area.

The treatment for heterotopic ossification include surgery and radiation therapy, which helps somewhat but most people continue to have calcium deposition. This complication makes a pretty devastating injury even more devastating.

Can I receive compensation for my injuries?

Yes, if you can show that the owner or occupier was negligent. In Florida, the owner or occupier of a piece of property owes a duty of reasonable care to keep the property free of dangerous conditions and to warn of any dangerous conditions. If the lighting was improper and because of the lighting you fell, arguably the landowner will be responsible for your injuries. The difficulty with trip and fall injuries over parking bumpers or stops is that they are open and obvious, so it will be very important to adequately document what the area looked like at the time you fell.

If you are able to prove liability for the injuries, Florida law allows compensation for:

  • Past and future medical expenses;
  • Lost wage; and
  • Physical and mental pain and suffering;

Conclusion

These injuries can have devastating consequences and if they were caused by the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation. If you have any questions about a Florida slip, trip and/or fall injury Call, Guy S. DiMartino at (352) 267-9168.