Crushing forces compress an area of your body. The resulting damage is so widespread that you may suffer serious injuries, like shattered bones, and life-threatening complications, like kidney failure.
Crush injuries can happen in almost any incident involving massive forces. When these incidents result from someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions, a crush injury lawyer from Neufeld Law Firm can help you fight the at-fault party and their insurer for fair injury compensation.
What Are Crush Injuries?
Crush injuries happen when pressure gets applied over an area of your body. These injuries can happen in a few ways.
Trapped Between Objects
A common cause of crush injuries occurs when your body gets trapped between objects. Some scenarios involving this type of incident include getting:
- Run over by a vehicle
- Caught under a falling or tipping object
- Pinned between a moving object, like a car, and a fixed object, like a building
If your chest gets trapped, you risk suffocation because your chest cannot expand to inhale oxygen. When a limb gets trapped, emergency responders may need to amputate your limb to release you.
Crush injuries can happen quickly due to impacts. For example, you could crush your foot when a heavy pipe falls onto it.
Caught in Machinery
Crushing injuries involving the fingers, hands, and arms often happen in workplace accidents involving machinery. Your hand could get smashed in a press or other machine designed to deliver compression forces. You could also get pulled into the moving parts of a machine that crushes your body.
Your body could get crushed when a structure collapses around you. Buildings, trenches, tunnels, and bridges can crush body parts when they lose their structural integrity and fall.
Examples of Crush Injuries
Compression forces can produce many types of injuries depending on the amount of force and where it is applied.
Powerful crushing forces can fracture bones. When the bone breaks into at least three pieces, you have a comminuted fracture, also called a shattered bone. These fractures require reconstructive surgery to reassemble the bone and secure it with plates and screws. If bone fragments are missing or too damaged to heal, doctors can replace them with bone grafts.
Comminuted fractures can take up to a year or longer to heal. Even after they heal, you may experience pain from the hardware used to rebuild the bone. The injury might also stress nearby joints, causing them to develop arthritis over time.
Nerve damage can happen when nerves get compressed, stretched, or severed. After your body experiences crushing forces, damaged nerves can produce symptoms such as:
- Loss of fine motor control
Unfortunately, nerves regenerate very slowly. As a result, nerve damage can cause long-term or permanent disabilities that interfere with your ability to control the affected body part.
Crushing forces can tear or collapse blood vessels. All body cells need oxygen to survive. Any injury that prevents blood circulation can cause the cells to shut down and die.
Doctors may be able to restore some circulation by replacing the damaged blood vessel with a graft. However, they might not be able to fully restore circulation, depending on the condition of the wound. For example, a dog bite may crush and tear flesh so severely that doctors cannot reconnect all the damaged blood vessels.
Complications From Crush Injuries
Doctors can repair many physical injuries. However, the extensive damage and tissue death caused by crush injuries can lead to serious complications.
If doctors cannot restore circulation to the crushed body part, they may recommend amputation. When cells die due to a lack of circulation, the dead tissue begins to decompose. The decomposing flesh can develop gangrene, a potentially fatal infection. Doctors will amputate to remove the dead and dying tissue to save your life.
Compartment syndrome happens when your tissues swell so much that they squeeze off circulation to other body parts. Thus, suppose your upper arm gets crushed in a car accident when another driver T-bones your vehicle, causing the door to collapse into you. As the upper arm swells, it can cut off circulation to your uninjured hand and fingers.
Doctors must act quickly to restore circulation to prevent tissue death. If they do not restore blood flow, they may need to amputate an otherwise uninjured body part due to the upstream circulatory problem.
Crushing injuries damage body cells over the entire area that was crushed. When cells get crushed, they may rupture or simply die. The waste products from the damaged and dead cells get carried away by your blood. The kidneys scrub these dead cells from your blood.
Crush syndrome happens when the kidneys get overwhelmed by waste products. They shut down, leaving the toxins in your blood. If your kidneys do not restart, you may need to undergo dialysis for the rest of your life or until you receive a kidney transplant.
How a Crush Injury Attorney Can Help You
Crushing injuries can produce widespread damage and tissue death. These injuries may cause long-term or permanent disabilities that prevent you from working or even caring for yourself.
When someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions caused your crushing injuries, you can seek financial compensation for your economic losses as well as your pain and suffering. Contact Neufeld Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss your crush injuries and the compensation you may be entitled to seek.