Skull Fracture Settlements
A skull fracture is an injury involving a break in the cranial (skull bone), commonly resulting from a violent blow to the head. Skull fractures may come with other head injuries, such as brain injuries and concussions.
As you can probably expect, a skull fracture is a severe injury that can lead to debilitating symptoms and even life-long complications. If you have been a victim of someone else’s negligence and sustained a skull fracture from the incident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party.
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC have dealt with skull fractures and other related injuries for years. If you want to seek financial compensation for the damages you have suffered due to another’s negligence, start a free consultation with one of our experienced brain injury attorneys by calling (888) 424-5757 or answering this online contact form.
What Is a Skull Fracture?
The skull comprises 22 bones, subdivided into 14 facial bones and eight cranial bones. Only the jawbone or mandible moves on its own. The rest of the bones are immobile.
The skull’s cranial (frontal bone, temporal bones, occipital bone, ethmoid bone, parietal bones, and sphenoid bone) and facial bones protect and provide structure for the brain and orbits of the eyes. They also serve as anchors for muscular and tendinous attachments of facial and scalp muscles.
The foramina (opening inside the body) in the base of the skull allow entry to vessels and nerves, including the optic nerve and internal carotid artery.
Since the brain and the nerves surrounding it are responsible for most of the body’s physical function, a skull fracture can have devastating consequences.
Types of Skull Fractures
There are four different types of skull fractures, ranging from mild to severe. These are:
Linear Skull Fracture
A linear skull fracture is a break in the cranial bone, but the bone remains in place. It resembles a thin line without distortion or splintering of the bone.
A linear skull fracture is less severe than other types of skull fractures. Typically, someone who sustains a linear skull fracture undergoes an observation period in the hospital before being discharged.
Basilar Skull Fracture
Basilar skull fractures, also known as skull base or occipital bone fractures, occur at the bottom of the skull. A basilar skull fracture is often accompanied by bruises behind the ear and around the eyes. If a clear liquid (cerebrospinal fluid) runs from the patient’s ears or nose, it may indicate a tear in the brain’s covering.
Patients with basilar skull fractures must undergo close observation in the hospital to watch out for deterioration.
Depressed Skull Fracture
A depressed skull fracture occurs when trauma collapses part of the skull, sometimes accompanied by a scalp laceration. Most patients require surgery to put the bone fragments back into place and close up the wound.
If the depressed part of the skull damages the brain tissue, it can lead to brain damage. Depressed skull fractures that expose the brain to the outside can also lead to infections and abscess formation.
Diastatic Skull Fracture
Diastatic skull fractures occur along suture lines in the skull where the bones close in childhood. A diastatic fracture causes these suture lines to widen. Infants and young children are the frequent victims of this type of fracture.
Skull fractures can also be classified as compound skull fractures if the skin is lost or torn and simple fractures (also known as closed skull fractures) if there is no break in the skin.
Causes of Skull Fracture
Skull fractures occur due to severe injuries to the head. Common injuries that lead to skull fractures include:
- A severe fall
- A car accident
- Being hit with an object
- Physical assault
- Sports injuries
Symptoms of Skull Fracture
The severity of skull fracture symptoms depends on the seriousness the head trauma. Symptoms of skull fracture injuries may include:
- Bleeding from the wound, ears, nose, or around the eyes
- Bruising around the eyes or behind the ears
- Changes in pupils
- Drainage of cerebrospinal fluid from the ears or nose
- Balance problems
- Loss of consciousness
- Stiff neck
- Slurred speech
- Restlessness or irritability
- Visual disturbances
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor memory
In infants, the symptoms include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty nursing
- Light or sound sensitivity
- Abnormal eye movement
- Swelling or lump on the head
- Bruising around the eyes
- Fluid from the ears or nose
Sometimes, the sole symptom may be a head bump or bruise. Some people even experience no symptoms after the initial trauma. However, this does not always mean no severe injury is present.
If a head trauma victim exhibits any symptoms mentioned above--or suffers a severe blow to the head but exhibits no symptoms--take them to the hospital for closer examination.
Giving immediate medical attention to a skull fracture victim increases their recovery rate and reduces the risk of severe complications.
Emergency First Aid for Skull Fractures
It’s crucial to treat any head injury seriously, even if the victim shows no symptoms of a skull fracture. If you suspect that someone has a skull fracture, here are the following steps to take:
- Check the victim’s airways, breathing, and circulation. Administer CPR if needed.
- Call 911. Avoid moving the victim unless it is vital. Moving an injured individual could make the injury worse.
- If the victim must be moved, stabilize their head and neck. Do not let the head bend forward or backward, twist, or turn.
- Check for bleeding on the injury site. If there is bleeding, apply firm pressure on the wound with a clean fabric to suppress the blood flow. Apply another cloth on top of the first one if the bleeding soaks through. Do not probe the injury site with your hands or a foreign object.
- If the victim is vomiting, carefully turn their head to the side while stabilizing the head and neck. Do not leave them facing the sky to prevent them from choking on vomit.
- Do not allow a victim to resume what they are doing even if they look fine. Keep a close eye on them and insist that they visit a doctor.
When to Go to a Doctor
In some cases, a victim might not feel any symptoms even after significant head trauma. If you are experiencing the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:
- A stubborn headache
- Other symptoms that won’t go away
Call emergency services if you experience the following after a blow to the head:
- A severe headache
- Extreme fatigue
- Weakness or numbness
- Leaking of clear liquid (cerebrospinal fluid) from your nose or ears
- Loss of consciousness
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury symptoms are similar to that of a skull fracture. In any case, seek medical treatment as soon as possible after receiving a significant blow to the head.
If you were in a motor vehicle collision, your doctor also must check for spinal injuries.
Ignoring a skull fracture can lead to severe complications, such as permanent brain damage and disability. Do not ignore a suspected skull fracture under any circumstances, even if the symptoms seem mild.
Diagnosing Skull Fractures
When you get to the hospital, tell your doctor about the accident, your health history, and your symptoms. Let your doctor know if you are taking blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin.
For a suspected skull fracture, the doctor will conduct a physical examination.
Your physician may also order tests, such as:
- CT Scan uses X-rays and computer technology to create detailed internal images of the body. It can show broken bones, brain hemorrhage, and signs of brain traumatic brain injuries.
- MRI: This test uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to obtain detailed images of body tissues.
- X-Ray is a standard test for broken bones. It provides a clear picture of what a person’s bones look like and can help doctors determine where skull fractures are.
- Blood Tests: Your doctor may order blood tests to check for signs of infection and brain or spinal cord leaks.
Treating Skull Fractures
Skull fracture treatment depends on the severity of the fracture. Mild fractures typically do not require any treatment, only monitoring until the doctor deems it safe to discharge the patient. Moderate to severe fractures may require surgery, depending on what type occurred.
Generally, a skull fracture requires surgery if:
- The depressed area is moe prominent (≥ 8-10 mm)
- The patient has a scalp cut
- The patient is exhibiting brain function problems
- There is a spinal fluid leak
Severe skull fractures that require surgery typically take months or years to heal. Moreover, patients may be left with permanent scars on the injury site.
Filing a Skull Fracture Lawsuit
Skull fracture injuries often result in tremendous pain, massive inconvenience, and even life-long complications. Any victim who sustains skull fracture injuries due to another person’s negligence has the right to seek fair compensation.
Skull Fracture Settlements
The first thing you can do is agree to an injury settlement made by the negligent party or their insurance company. However, a skull fracture injury settlement can be diminished if you played a part in the accident.
For example, suppose you sustained a linear fracture from a motor vehicle collision that was partially your fault. In that case, the other party may offer a lowball settlement since you were also responsible.
Moreover, insurance companies tend to offer settlement values that are lower than victims deserve. With that in mind, it’s best to avoid signing any settlement document without consulting your lawyer first.
You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party if you don't want to accept the settlement. Here are common damages associated with skull fracture personal injury cases:
- Medical care: A skull fracture typically requires a hospital stay and medical treatment. Even if it is just a linear skull fracture (the least serious of all skull fractures), the number of days you stay in the hospital can vary, especially if you don’t have health insurance. The cost of medical care can also include emergency transportation, medication, and psychiatric therapy.
- Future medical costs: If the accident results in a brain injury that requires long-term care, you can also include anticipated medical expenses as part of your damages.
- Lost wages: A skull fracture can result in permanent physical impairment, which may affect your future earning potential. Therefore, you can sue for lost income(including future income) and commissions and bonuses that you lost due to your injury.
- Permanent disability: A traumatic brain injury resulting from a skull fracture can render you permanently disabled, damage that you can include in your lawsuit.
- Pain and suffering: Head injuries can cause immense pain and suffering, both physical and mental. Psychiatric evaluations, pictures of your skull fracture injuries, medical prognosis, and medical records can help prove pain and suffering.
- Psychological trauma: An accident involving a skull fracture can be particularly traumatic. You can seek compensation for the trauma the accident has caused, including the symptoms that get in the way of everyday life, such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
- Physical disfigurement or scarring: If your skull fracture came with a noticeable scar, you might also be able to claim damages for the distress the scar has caused.
Example of a Fractured Skull Lawsuit
On April 6, 2022, Annie Shea Wheeler (22) fractured her skull after being hit by falling concrete from a vacant building in Chicago. Aside from the fracture, she also had a brain hemorrhage and a spinal fluid leak. She had to undergo emergency surgery to survive.
Now, Wheeler is forced to re-learn how to read and write while dealing with constant pain. She also has to leave the community she loves and return to her hometown to recover.
The tragic accident is the result of negligence. The scaffolding company failed to secure the concrete blocks “as large as couch cushions,” which are large enough to cause severe skull fractures.
Seek The Best Legal Counsel for Your Skull Fracture Case
In mild cases, a fractured skull can heal on its own without treatment. On the other hand, moderate to severe skull fractures can lead to critical complications like permanent brain injury, permanent brain damage, and sometimes even death.
Either way, victims of skull fractures can sue for the unnecessary suffering they have endured. The personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC have dealt with thousands of head injury cases over the years and understand the immense tragedy that a skull fracture can cause to someone’s life.
If you sustained a skull fracture or other severe injuries in an accident resulting from someone’s negligence, call (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation today.