Crushing injuries happen when something applies intense pressure to your body. From falling objects in a construction accident to a vehicle running over you in a pedestrian accident, there are many ways a person can sustain a crushing injury.
These injuries can cause excruciating pain, permanent disfigurement, and long-term disabilities. As a result, you might have substantial losses after you suffer a crushing injury.
Read on to learn about crushing injuries and what you need to prove to recover injury compensation.
What Are the Mechanics of a Crushing Injury?
Crushing injuries happen when your body gets compressed. This pressure damages your musculoskeletal system.
A layer of fat lays under your skin, and your muscles sit below the fat layer. You also have nerves and blood vessels running through and under the fat layer. Muscles surround your bones. Blood vessels run into and out of your bones since the bone marrow makes new blood cells.
When an object crushes your body, all of these structures get compressed and damaged. Blood vessels rupture and collapse. Muscle fibers tear. Bones fracture. Nerves get pinched or torn.
Worse yet, the damage continues to accumulate even after the crushing force is removed. The damaged blood vessels cannot deliver oxygen to your cells, and they begin to die.
The damaged and dying tissue inflames and swells as the body tries to protect and repair the injury. And if the injury broke the skin, you might experience severe bleeding from the ruptured blood vessels.
When the pressure gets applied to your chest or neck, it might also cause you to suffocate. A crushing injury to your abdomen could damage or rupture organs. If your head gets crushed, you could suffer permanent brain damage.
Are There Risk Factors for a Crushing Injury?
Some accidents have a higher risk of a crushing injury, including:
Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Pedestrian and bicycle accidents can lead to crushing injuries that result from getting run over by a vehicle after you get knocked down. The severity of these crushing injuries will depend on which body part gets crushed.
Many riders suffer crushing injuries after a motorcycle accident. A motorcycle can weigh anywhere from a few hundred pounds to over one thousand pounds. When a car collides with you, the force can tip your motorcycle onto your leg and foot, trapping and crushing them.
A car’s passenger compartment usually protects you from crushing injuries. But the compartment has a few weak spots in a car accident. If something collides with the windshield, engine firewall, or door, you could get crushed inside your vehicle.
Workplace accidents can cause crushing injuries in many ways, including:
- Vehicles running over you
- Machines or vehicles pinning you against or under something
- Objects falling or dropping on you
- Equipment trapping and crushing your body
In most of these situations, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim to get injury compensation for workplace accidents. But depending on the circumstances of your accident, you might have a third-party claim against the manufacturer of the machine or safety equipment that failed.
What Are the Effects of a Crushing Injury?
Immediately after a crushing injury, you will almost certainly feel pain. Your body part might look mangled or disfigured, and you may bleed. These effects come from the damage the crushing force has done to your nerves, bones, and blood vessels.
Rescuers will usually begin first aid immediately to try to save your crushed body part. The sooner you reach a hospital, the better the chances are that you can avoid amputation. But in some cases, rescuers might need to perform an emergency amputation to release you from whatever crushed you.
Blood will pool under your skin and in your muscles, forming bruises. The bruises will feel painful and make your skin appear discolored.
If the force crushed your bone, you might have a comminuted fracture. This type of fracture happens when your bone breaks into at least three pieces. Doctors will likely operate to reconstruct the shattered bone with screws and plates. If they cannot recover all of the pieces of bone, they may need to perform a bone graft.
Can Complications Arise from a Crushing Injury?
The effects of a crushing injury don’t end with the initial injury. As the crushed tissue inflames and dies, you can experience complications like:
When cells die, they release their contents into the bloodstream. Some of the chemicals in the cells can have toxic effects on the body. As a result, the kidneys need to filter those chemicals from the blood.
If you lose enough tissue, your kidneys will become overwhelmed. You may suffer from kidney failure if the organs can’t keep up with the filtering demand. Doctors refer to this type of kidney failure as “crush syndrome.”
The crushed tissue will inflame. But your muscles and skin can only stretch so far. At some point, the swelling will squeeze your blood vessels, cutting off blood flow below the injury. Without emergency treatment, the tissue below your injury will die from oxygen deprivation.
How Can I Get Compensation for a Crushing Injury?
You can recover injury compensation if you suffer from a crushing injury at work while performing your job. Almost all Florida employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance will pay you medical and disability benefits while you recover from your crushing injury.
If your crushing injury did not happen at work, you could attempt to seek injury compensation by proving negligence. This means you must prove that your injury happened because someone else failed to exercise reasonable care.
Thus, if a store employee pushed a pallet cart into you and crushed your foot, the store probably bears liability for your injury.
The one exception applies to car accidents. Florida has a no-fault system of auto insurance, so you may need to start with your insurer’s benefits before seeking compensation from the at-fault driver for any significant and permanent injuries.
A crushing injury can cause short- and long-term disabilities. Crushed bones can take up to a year to heal, and nerves and blood vessels might never recover. To discuss the compensation you can seek for the devastating effects of a crushing injury, contact now the Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.