A broken arm can be diagnosed in varying degrees of severity, from a small fracture to a complete break of the humerus, ulna, and radius. No matter how or why an arm breaks, the truth remains that the injury could become effectively permanent if the healing process does not go smoothly. People who do not receive the correct medical treatment in the hospital and who do not follow proper aftercare may debilitate the arm that was broken for the rest of their lives.
You can only trust your medical provider to do what is best to help your broken arm heal while you are in their care. But aftercare is something that is largely under your control. To give your arm the best chance of a full recovery and the lowest chance of becoming a permanent disability or source of pain, you must take your own aftercare seriously. Not only is this best for your health, but it will also bolster the validity of any personal injury claim you intend to file against the party that caused your injury.
Basics of Broken Arm Aftercare
Typically, aftercare for a broken arm will include:
- Collect and study any aftercare instructions from your medical provider. Ask for clarifications about any instructions you do not fully understand.
- Wear a splint, brace, or sling as much as instructed. It might feel awkward or itchy after a while, but you should not remove it on your own outside of aftercare instructions.
- Do whatever you can to keep your arm’s support clean and dry. If possible, take baths so you can easily keep that arm out of the water.
- If your arm is not fully wrapped in a brace, then you will likely be instructed to ice the injury site several times a day. Some breaks may require ice application for up to 3 hours a day across 6 to 12 intervals.
- To reduce swelling to the injury, which will only further cause discomfort in a sling, support, or brace, try to elevate your arm above your heart. Be mindful to not rotate your shoulder to elevate your arm if this compromises your shoulder or causes pain.
- Take any prescribed medications like painkillers as closely to your doctor’s instructions as possible. Set alarms to sound whenever you are supposed to take a dose.
- Call your medical provider or seek urgent medical care if the pain becomes significantly worse, your hand or fingers become blue or feel cold, or if you experience numbness in your arm. Any of these signs could be symptoms of a serious complication.
Why Aftercare is Important for Your Claim
The insurance company defending the party that caused the accident that broke your arm will be looking for ways to try to punch holes in your claim. By not following your aftercare instructions, you will be handing them tools to use against your argument.
A defendant can only be ordered to provide for damages they caused. If your broken arm worsens because you did not follow aftercare instructions correctly, such as engaging in strenuous activities that require your arm, then the responding insurance company will try to refuse to pay for your medical bills. They will make the argument that your failure to follow aftercare instructions implies that it was your own negligence that contributed to your broken arm in the first place. Or, they might say you have exaggerated the severity of your injury, reducing or eliminating their liability.
While you might know that the insurance company’s perspective is more or less nonsense, the court might not see it that way. It is best to not take any chances and not give any benefits to the defendant. Keep yourself and your injury claim strong by following your aftercare instructions closely. Getting the help of an experienced catastrophic injury attorney on your side early is also a good idea.