A crushing injury results from tissue damaged by a compression force on your body. A crushing injury can happen in almost any kind of accident, from a falling object to a rollover car accident.
Crushing injuries can include extensive damage to the crushed part. They can also cause systemic problems due to massive tissue death. These systemic problems can lead to permanent or chronic conditions like kidney failure.
Here are some facts about crushing injuries and what kind of compensation you can get for them.
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What Are Crushing Injuries and How Do They Happen?
Your musculoskeletal system includes:
- Muscles and tendons
Tissue gives your body structure and strength. Bones provide the scaffolding to hold your body up. The system helps you to move by linking parts together at joints.
Ligaments hold the bones together. They give joints their flexibility and strength. Without the ligaments, your skeleton would collapse.
The muscles move your body. They do this through the tendons that anchor muscles to bones. As your muscles flex and extend, they exert leverage on your bones to move your body.
Fascia surrounds your muscles. This thin membrane holds the muscle fibers together. They also provide leverage against the bones when you flex and extend your muscles.
Cartilage sits inside of joints. It provides a smooth bearing surface, so the bones do not grind against each other. This reduces the amount of wear in your joints.
When you experience a crushing force, these structures get mashed together. Your muscles get squeezed between bones and the crushing object. Bones fracture and can even shatter. The force can stretch or rip tendons, ligaments, fascia, and cartilage.
More importantly, the crushing force can squeeze and tear the nerves and blood vessels running through the area. Nerves carry motor and sensory signals. A crushing force can damage or sever nerve cells. This will inhibit the nerve cells’ ability to carry nerve signals. It can also cause the nerve cells to misfire and send erroneous signals.
Blood vessels are tubes that carry oxygen-rich blood to your body and carry oxygen-depleted blood back to the lungs. When blood vessels get crushed, their ability to carry blood becomes compromised. They may leak blood, causing internal bleeding, bruising, and blood clots.
How Do Doctors Treat a Crushing Injury?
Treatment for a crushing injury will depend on the location and extent of the injury. For a minor crushing injury, you might only need first aid to stop any bleeding. Over time a few weeks, any bruises will heal, and any pain in the crushed muscles will subside.
More severe crushing injuries might require surgery to repair bones and soft tissue. For example, if a crushing injury shatters a bone, you may need reconstructive surgery to rebuild the bone.
Doctors will operate to find all of the pieces of bone. They will use screws and plates to hold the pieces of bone. If the bone fragments are too small to reconstruct or are missing, doctors can use bone grafts from you or a cadaver to rebuild a bone.
In extreme cases, doctors might not have enough material to rebuild the bone. The damage to the bone might, in other cases, be too extensive to restore the supply of blood to the bone. In these situations, doctors might recommend amputation rather than reconstruction.
If blood vessels and nerves were damaged by the crushing object, you might lose circulation, sensation, and movement in the crushed body part. Doctors can repair larger nerves and blood vessels by removing the crushed section and either attaching the loose ends or replacing the crushed section with a graft.
But doctors might not be able to repair smaller nerves and blood vessels. And doctors might not have enough healthy tissue to repair blood vessels and nerves in large crush injuries.
What Complications Can Arise After a Crushing Injury?
Large crushing injuries can produce complications. A large crushing injury can result in massive tissue and organ damage. As a result, you might suffer from serious complications as the body tries to repair the tissue or the tissue dies.
Some common complications from crushing injuries include:
Compartment syndrome happens when damaged tissue swells and squeezes blood vessels. Blood cannot circulate to the area below the injury, resulting in tissue death.
When nerves get crushed, the damage to the nerve cells may permanently inhibit their ability to carry nerve signals.
As a result, you might experience:
- Numbness or tingling
- Loss of sensitivity to hot or cold
- Loss of dexterity
These symptoms might occur chronically. Or they might come and go periodically.
Crush syndrome happens when you experience massive tissue death. The dead and dying tissues release chemicals into your bloodstream. Your kidneys get overwhelmed by the volume of waste chemicals and shut down. About 50% of patients who survive a severe crushing injury experience crush syndrome.
What Are the Risk Factors for a Crushing Injury?
Crushing injuries can happen in almost any accident, including:
Car accidents can cause a crushing injury when the passenger compartment gets deformed. The engine might push through the firewall and crush your legs. A collapsed roof could crush your upper body. A deformed door could trap your shoulders and arms.
Workplace accidents pose many risks for a crushing injury. Moving machinery can crush a finger or hand. Vehicles can run over your foot or pin your body. Falling objects can crush you.
What Compensation Can I Recover for a Crushing Injury?
Your economic losses due to a crushing injury could be substantial. You might need several surgeries to repair the injury. Your injuries might prevent you from working. They might even force you to quit your job.
You could also face substantial non-economic losses. Crushing injuries can cause severe pain and even lead to permanent disfigurement. If they cause kidney failure, you could experience symptoms of your crushing injury for the rest of your life.
Contact a Boca Raton Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
Crushing injuries can cause massive damage to your body. To discuss the compensation you might seek for your crushing injury, contact our Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers offices to schedule a free consultation.
Our Boca Raton personal injury lawyers are standing by.