Traffic accidents can result in crushing injuries to the legs. Trips or slip and fall accidents around your home can hyperextend the ankle, knee, or hip joints. Offices, warehouses, and construction sites are filled with hazardous conditions that can injure your legs and feet, from falling boxes to collapsing scaffolding. To put it very simply, leg injuries happen often.
If you suffer a leg injury, you may experience significant limitations on your mobility — even a strained muscle might take a month or longer to heal. And during your recovery, you may miss out on work and the paychecks you would have earned as a result.
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What Can Cause a Leg Injury?
Your legs comprise everything below your hip joint. As they are responsible for carrying and moving your body weight, they include some of the most powerful structures in your body. That being said, your legs also include two of the body’s most used — and most injured — joints.
Many types of trauma can injure these tissues and joints, but some of the most common causes of leg injuries include the following:
Your ankle is designed to bend quite far to protect the leg above it. But bending it too far can damage the joint. Hyperextension occurs when trauma stretches, twists, or bends your leg unnaturally.
A hyperextension injury can also happen when your leg moves in the wrong direction. Your ligaments hold bones together at joints like the ankle and knee, providing support and guiding the movement of the joint. An injury results when joints bend in a way not permitted by the ligaments. Thus, bending your knee sideways, even a little, could result in a knee injury.
Penetrating injuries occur when an object tears through the skin, muscles, blood vessels, and nerves of your leg, piercing its tissues and producing an open wound. Since the skin protects the body from microorganisms, a penetrating injury can quickly become infected.
An impact injury does not produce an open wound, but it can still damage the skin as well as the underlying soft tissues. An impact that is powerful enough can even fracture the bones inside your legs.
What Are the Risk Factors For a Leg Injury?
The kinds of accidents and other traumatic incidents that can injure your legs include the following:
Falls may not seem like traumatic events, but nearly 45,000 people died as a result of falls in 2021, and several hundred thousand more suffered injuries. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, about 20% of falls cause a serious injury.
As mentioned above, your legs carry all of your weight when you stand, walk, or run. As such, should you unexpectedly lose your footing, your weight can hyperextend your legs and their tissues. The impact that occurs at the end of a fall can also cause blunt-force injuries that break bones, and if you fall on something sharp, like a protruding bolt or rebar segment, the object could cause a penetrating injury.
It’s also important to know that falls can be categorized into two groups: elevated falls and same-elevation falls. Same-elevation falls include slip and fall accidents, which happen when your feet lose traction, causing you to slide forward while you fall back. Trip and fall accidents occur when your footing is unexpectedly obstructed, with the momentum you’re carrying causing you to fall forward.
Elevated falls happen when you fall down from one level to another, such as when you fall down a flight of stairs due to poor lighting on someone else’s premises, such as in a store or in someone’s home.
Traffic crashes cause many leg injuries. During a car accident, your leg could hyperextend from the impact force caused by a collision, or it may get trapped in the wreckage, crushing and lacerating your leg tissues.
You could also injure your legs in a pedestrian accident or bicycle accident, both from the initial impact with a vehicle that strikes your leg and as a result of the subsequent impact on the ground after the vehicle knocks you down.
Workplaces contain many risks to your legs. Your leg could get caught in a machine or trapped between two heavy objects. Workplace accidents can also involve falls or motor vehicle collisions that injure your legs.
What Are Some Examples of Leg Injuries?
Some of the most common leg injuries include the following:
A burn happens when a chemical reaction damages your skin.
Some common causes of leg burns are as follows:
- Hot objects, liquids, or gases
- Caustic chemicals
- Electric currents
The symptoms of a burn depend on its severity. First and second-degree burns cause pain, swelling, and redness, but third-degree burns destroy the full thickness of the skin, exposing you to severe infections, dehydration, and permanent scarring.
Sprains and Strains
Sprains happen when you hyperextend your ligaments. They typically affect the ankle or knee, but any ligament in your toes, feet, and hips can suffer a sprain.
Sprains cause symptoms such as:
- Joint pain and inflammation
- Limited range of movement
A strain causes muscle pain and swelling, weakness, and muscle spasms. Mild strains and sprains heal in four to six weeks with home care. A full-thickness tear in a ligament or tendon may require surgery and months of rehabilitation.
Broken or Displaced Bones
Although the bones in our legs are some of the longest and strongest bones in the body, they can break when they experience forces that overcome their inherent strength. Doctors stabilize fractures using a cast or brace, and they typically heal in six to eight weeks. If your accident causes your bones to move out of place, you may need surgery to realign them.
How Can You Seek Compensation For a Leg Injury?
You can often pursue financial compensation for a leg injury that resulted from the actions of another. That said, you must typically prove that your injuries resulted from someone else’s negligent or intentional actions.
Work-related injuries often fall under workers’ compensation; you must simply show that your injury happened in the course and scope of your employment.
Traffic-related injuries fall under Florida’s no-fault insurance system. Minor injuries are covered by the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage of your auto policy. However, leg injuries may fall outside of that range of coverage if they require expensive treatment, such as surgery, or if they have a significant and permanent effect on your body and way of life. In these cases, you can pursue a claim against the at-fault driver.
Ultimately, a leg injury can have a profound effect on your life, keeping you from working and robbing you of your independence. Contact Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your leg injury and the financial compensation you can seek under Florida law.