Crush Injury Lawsuit
Many types of injuries can be painful and life-threatening, but some of the worst traumatic injuries are caused by extreme pressure on the body for an extended period of time. Often called crush injuries, these can happen in all types of situations — whether it’s a work-related incident or a car crash.
Suffering a severe crush injury is usually just the tip of the iceberg. A crush injury can lead to other serious conditions, such as broken bones, crush syndrome, compartment syndrome, and even death.
Find out more about these specific injuries and how a lawsuit may be able to help you get your life back on track.
Crush Injury Definition
According to the American College of Emergency Physicians1, a crush injury is the compression of a limb or other part of the body that causes muscle swelling and/or neurological disturbances in the areas of the body affected. The compression most often comes from two objects squeezing the body on either side.
The vast majority of crush injuries happen to the lower extremities, such as the knees, hips, feet, and legs. The upper extremities are the next most common site of crush injuries. Finally, the trunk, which goes from the neck to the start of the limbs, is the third most common area affected by a crush injury.
Results of Crush Injuries
When a person suffers from a crush injury, there can be several types of consequences resulting from the damage.
Also known as traumatic rhabdomyolysis or Bywaters’ syndrome, crush syndrome is a more localized crush injury that could lead to the breakdown of muscles and the release of toxins into the bloodstream. This condition can cause even worse issues, such as tissue injury, organ failure, and other metabolic abnormalities.
Although a relatively rare injury, crush syndrome can be deadly and difficult to treat.
Compartment syndrome is another possible injury that stems from pressure on the body, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons2. This condition develops when there is swelling or bleeding within a muscle compartment of the leg or arm. As a result, blood flow can be disrupted, causing damage to the nerve and muscle cells of that compartment. If the pressure is not relieved quickly, tissue death and permanent damage can occur.
Symptoms of acute compartment syndrome are pain, tingling, a tight feeling of the muscle, and numbness or paralysis.
When the damage to the extremity becomes too severe, doctors may opt to completely remove the entire affected area. Amputations can also be used to prevent more severe conditions from developing, such as crush syndrome.
Fractured bones are among the most common results of a crush injury. Pressure against the bones can cause the bone to break. A broken bone can also lead to a host of other issues, such as lacerations, tissue damage, and compartment syndrome.
Common Causes of Crush Injuries
Crush injuries can happen in all types of situations. Here are some of the most common causes of crush injuries.
A car crash can be sudden and devastating to everyone involved. When large pieces of steel and other components are traveling at high speeds, anything can happen. A driver could become trapped beneath a car or a pedestrian could have his arm trapped between the front of a car and a building.
Industrial workplaces are rife with dangers and large machinery. Crush injuries can happen at construction sites, storage facilities, supermarkets, and other work sites. An employee can suffer a crush injury from an improperly stored package falling down, moving parts of a machine, forklift crashes, collapsed structures, and more.
Disaster is a catch-all term for catastrophic and unexpected situations, including terrorist attacks and hurricanes. In fact, crush syndrome is the second most common cause of death after an earthquake3. Other examples include mine cave-ins, war, and bombings.
Crush Injury Treatment Options
The type of treatment for a crush injury depends on its severity. In cases of minor injuries, wounds may only be external and require cleaning to avoid infection and ice to alleviate any pain.
If the injury is major, it is paramount to receive treatment as soon as possible. Removal of the crushing force that is causing the injury is typically the highest priority. Then, there is a careful evaluation of the extent of the injuries to detect whether more serious complications like crush syndrome or compartment syndrome may develop.
If acute compartment syndrome develops, surgery is the only treatment option. A surgeon opens up the muscle to relieve the pressure within the compartment.
In some of the most severe cases where tissue damage is beyond repair, amputations may be required to treat crush syndrome or compartment syndrome.
Crush Injury Lawsuits
Those who have suffered from crush injuries may have a few options, depending on the cause of their injury. For example, if you were crushed against your car during a car accident caused by the negligence or recklessness of another driver, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries.
Workers who suffered a crush injury on the job may also be eligible to file a lawsuit. Although workers’ compensation is the typical path for workplace injuries, a crush injury at a job site in which a party other than your employer was involved could allow you to pursue additional damages to cover medical bills and lost wages.
Those who have experienced a crush injury caused by someone else should contact an attorney to find out whether they have a case.