A crushing injury often requires extensive medical treatment. Crushed blood vessels, nerves, and bones might require reconstructive surgery or even amputation.
You might suffer from permanent disabilities as a result of these injuries. These injuries could also interfere with your ability to work or engage in the activities you enjoy.
Here is a guide to crushing injuries and the compensation you can recover for their effects.
How Does a Crushing Injury Happen?
A crush injury happens when a force compresses a body part. The force could have a very short duration. For example, a hydraulic press could crush your finger in a construction accident. Alternatively, a car accident could smash your passenger compartment and trap your foot and ankle until rescuers cut you free.
The force could crush a large area, like a piece of a building falling on your chest. It could also crush a small area, like a heavy box dropped on your toe or foot.
What Are the Immediate Effects of a Crushing Injury?
Crushing injuries can result in severe tissue damage. At the cellular level, crushing forces increase the pressure inside cells and cause them to burst. The ruptured cells die.
Crushing forces can also stretch and tear muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This damage can result in bruising, pain, inflammation, and weakness.
Crushed nerves have reduced conductivity for nerve signals. This nerve damage can inhibit both sensory signals and motor signals and cause:
- Numbness and tingling
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of temperature sensation
Crushed blood vessels can rupture. You might experience bleeding and bruising from crushed blood vessels. You might also suffer from reduced circulation in the area served by the crushed blood vessels.
Crushed bones could require extensive reconstruction. A crushing injury can shatter bones into small fragments. Doctors might reconstruct the bone using plates, screws, and bone grafts. If doctors cannot reconstruct the bone, they may need to perform an amputation.
Crushing forces can cause organ damage. This organ damage can result from the object crushing you or bones fractured by the object. For example, a crushing injury can fracture ribs. These ribs can puncture the lungs, pericardial sac, or chest wall.
If the ribs puncture the pericardial sac, fluid can build up around the heart and cause an irregular heartbeat. If the ribs puncture the chest wall, air entering the chest cavity can compress the lung, causing it to collapse.
What Complications Arise from a Crushing Injury?
One of the most common complications from a crushing injury is compartment syndrome. The damage caused by a crushing injury can cause severe inflammation. Inflammation can constrict the blood flow to a limb. The lack of blood can starve the limb and cause tissue death if doctors cannot restore circulation.
When a crushing force ruptures cells and blood vessels, fluid will leak. The fluid loss can cause a drop in blood pressure and cause shock.
Kidney damage can also result from crushing injuries. The dead cells enter your bloodstream. The kidneys must work overtime to filter the dead cells from the blood. Sometimes, this will cause the kidneys to shut down.
Worse yet, the crushed cells can release waste products into your bloodstream. Some of these waste products include toxins. A condition called crush syndrome can result from these toxins in the bloodstream.
Crush syndrome can cause metabolic problems as the body tries to rid itself of the toxins. Crush syndrome can also lead to kidney failure.
What Are the Risk Factors for a Crushing Injury?
Almost any accident can result in a crushing injury. But some accidents have a higher risk of crushing injuries, including:
Workplaces can cause crushing accidents in many ways. Heavy objects can fall on you. Vehicles can roll over you. Machines can trap and crush you.
Car accidents involve powerful collisions. They can push the engine and steering column into the passenger compartment, crushing you. The roof can also collapse in a rollover accident and crush you.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Buildings can collapse due to negligence by owners, inspectors, and builders. Soil subsidence, defective building materials, and improper structural design can lead to unstable buildings.
When buildings collapse, tons of building materials, including concrete, pipes, and mechanical equipment can come down on you. These materials can cause all crushing injuries.
What Compensation Can I Recover for Crushing Injuries?
Compensation in injury cases includes both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages account for all of the ways your injuries affect your finances, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Diminished earning capacity
You can recover both past and future economic damages. For example, suppose that doctors amputated your hand after it was crushed in an accident. You can seek damages for your diminished earning capacity for the rest of your working life.
If you had to retire from your job or take different work, you could have substantial economic losses.
Damages also include non-economic losses. Your non-economic damages represent all of the ways your injuries affected your quality of life.
Some examples of non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain
- Mental suffering
- Loss of sleep
- Lost activities
When you claim non-economic losses, you will usually need some testimony from a mental health professional to explain how your injuries affected you. You may also need testimony from your doctor about the pain you endured.
Contact a Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
If you’ve been faced with a crushing injury, it’s important to have legal representation on your side. A skilled legal professional can fight for all of the compensation that you deserve from a negligent party. They can negotiate for a settlement or prepare your case for trial, if necessary.
Contact William G. Kolodner Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation. We’ll talk about the circumstances of your injury and help you to create an effective legal strategy to move forward. Call (410) 837-2144 today.