The skull is made up of eight different bones which form the main part of the skull, protecting the brain. The other part of the skull (the face and jaw) consists of 14 bones. A fractured skull, generally caused by a blow to the head or impact from a fall or road traffic accident, could lead to injuries to the brain that could change the rest of your life. These types of injuries can often be difficult to diagnose, as you may have no visible physical evidence on your skin.
You may be able to claim compensation for a fractured skull if your accident was caused by somebody else. For example, if another driver was speeding and hit your vehicle on the motorway, or if you fell from a faulty ladder at work, somebody else’s negligence has caused your accident. You could even make a claim on behalf of a family member who has been seriously injured, for example your child or partner.
What is a skull fracture?
A skull fracture is defined as any break to cranial bone, generally resulting from a blow to or impact to the head. This type of injury is often (but not always) accompanied by a brain injury. Symptoms of a skull fracture can include:
- Tenderness and swelling at the point of impact
- Facial bruising
- Bleeding from the ears or nostrils
Symptoms are not always obvious, which is why it is so important to get checked out after suffering any type of head injury. You may also suffer from confusion, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting or drowsiness. Never leave a person with a suspected head injury alone until they have sought medical attention – they could have suffered a severe brain injury. Skull fractures are actually fairly common and approximately 42,409 people a year suffer from a fractured skull in the US.
Types of skull fracture
There are various different types of fractured skull that you could suffer:
- Closed fracture, also known as a simply fracture
- Open fracture, where the skin is broken and bone pokes out
- Basal fracture, where the floor of the skull is fractured around the eyes, nose, ears or near the spine
- Depressed fracture, where the skull is indented or extends into the brain cavity
Skull fractures can also be classified as a linear (straight line) fracture, a comminuted fracture, where the skull has broken into three or more sections, and a greenstick (incomplete) fracture.
How is a fractured skull diagnosed and what is the treatment?
It is important to go to A&E to have any kind of head injury checked out, especially if you think you may have suffered a fractured skull. You’ll normally undergo a physical exam and then an x-ray, MRI or CT scan to assess your injuries. The treatment you will receive will depend on how severe your injuries are. Most simple skull fractures will heal by themselves and you may be sent home with pain relief. For depressed skull fractures you may need to have surgery, whilst open fractures may need sutures or stitches. The type of treatment you receive and your recovery time can impact the amount of compensation you can claim for a skull fracture.
How much compensation could you get?
The amount of compensation you could get for a fractured skull varies greatly and will depend on a variety of different factors. For example, if you have suffered a traumatic brain injury or permanent damage to your skull or brain that will affect you for the rest of your life, you could expect to receive a substantial personal injury settlement. For a simple skull fracture which will heal with a few weeks or months of rest at home, you may receive a smaller sum in compensation.
However, it is always worth taking the 30-second test™ on our website, to see how much compensation you could be entitled to, as it may be more than you expected. The amount you could receive will also take into account other things such as any loss of earnings you have suffered, if you have taken time off work after your accident, or future loss of earnings, if you are unable to return to work (for example if you have suffered a brain injury).
How common are skull fractures?
There are around 255 hospitalisations for traumatic brain injury every year in the US, many of which happen as a result of a fractured skull injury. Whilst road traffic accidents in a car remain the leading cause of a fractured skull, there are plenty of other ways that you could suffer a skull fracture, from an assault to a nasty slip, trip or fall from height. Cycling accidents are also a leading cause of skull fractures, and children aged five to 14 have the highest rates of injury in cycle accidents, with head injuries accounting for 75% of deaths. You’re more likely to sustain a fractured skull in a road traffic accident than you are in any other type of accident, and if somebody else was responsible for your accident, Accident Advice Helpline could help you claim personal injury compensation. The other driver may have been speeding, failed to stop at a red light or even driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and you could be entitled to compensation as a result.
Claiming compensation after your accident
With head injuries seen in over 50% of road traffic accidents, a fractured skull or brain injury is not an uncommon injury, and Accident Advice Helpline has over 16 years’ experience handling claims relating to these types of injuries. If you think you may be eligible to claim compensation after your accident, or if you are not sure and simply need some more advice, you can turn to us. Our trusted advisors offer no-obligation advice, and you can call us at any time on 0800 689 5659 to talk through what’s happened to you. We provide a no win no fee service, so if you decide to proceed with a claim, you won’t need to worry about how you will afford to pay expensive upfront legal fees.