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Crush Injuries

When a heavy object lands on a person’s body, they can suffer a crush injury. These injuries are very dangerous—particularly in the moments after the heavy object is lifted from the body. After the weight is lifted, a person can suffer kidney failure, coma, and amputation.

If you have suffered a crush injury, then you need immediate medical attention. At Slappey & Sadd, we have seen crush injuries in motor vehicle crashes, workplace accidents, construction accidents, and more. We are available to help if you call 404.255.6677 or contact us online.

Crush Syndrome

After skeletal muscle is crushed, a person can suffer renal failure of the kidneys and major shock. This type of syndrome affects the entire body, regardless of where the specific crush injury is located. Many of the problems associated with the syndrome occur when a limb has been crushed for a length of time only to be released.

Crush syndrome can occur when a limb has been crushed for as little as fifteen minutes. To rescue people, first responders often need to apply a tourniquet and release the pressure only slowly, so that the patient’s body can recover. In some situations, a limb might need to be amputated.

Rhabdomyolysis

This confusing name refers to a process where any skeletal muscle that suffers damage ends up breaking down rather quickly. As a result, many people experience the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Muscle pains
  • Abnormal heart rate or rhythm
  • Coma

This condition occurs when fluid from the bloodstream moves rapidly into the damaged muscle after it is released from under the crushing object. The tissue can break down under electrolyte disturbance. Your kidneys can also be damaged in the process.

Compartment Syndrome

Related to rhabdomyolysis is “compartment syndrome.” Compression on surrounding tissue leads to a reduction of its blood supply and the loss of function of the affected body part. As a result, the tissue can die if the compression is not relieved. Compartment syndrome most frequently affects the arms or legs. To treat compartment syndrome, a person often needs surgery to open up the area that is being compressed.

Fractures

A weight that is sufficient to damage skeletal muscle can also break a bone. Many victims suffer fractures or soft-tissue injuries to connective ligaments or tendons. A doctor will need to set a broken bone and, if it protrudes out of the skin, clean the wound so that infection does not develop.

Common Causes of Crush Injuries

Any accident involving heavy objects can lead to a crush injury. Among the more common causes of crush injuries are motor vehicle accidents and workplace accidents.

Motor Vehicle Collisions

Motorists can suffer crushed limbs in collisions with other vehicles and commercial trucks. Depending on how the accident unfolds, motorists can be trapped in their vehicles. Sometimes, the weight of the vehicle that struck them is also resting on a limb. Someone might be trapped for a considerable amount of time as emergency responders need the jaws of life to remove the person from their vehicle.

A person could also crush a limb by landing on it awkwardly. For example, a person’s arm could be pinned entirely under their body weight in a rollover. Doctors will need to identify whether a limb has been crushed before removing the victim, but sometimes events do not allow them sufficient time. As a result, it is not unusual for a person to slip into shock because of crush syndrome.

Workplace Injuries

Anyone who works around heavy equipment or materials is at risk of either being pinned by the equipment or having material land on them. It is very easy to suffer a crush injury, especially if no coworker can quickly pull you out from the heavy load.

In construction, a worker can develop a crush injury after poor scaffolding collapses on him or, even worse, if a building partially collapses. If the worker is not immediately killed, then crush injuries are another complication.

Treating a Crush Injury

Perhaps the most important moment in treating a crush injury is releasing the crushed limb from underneath the burden resting on them so that they do not develop crush syndrome or rhabdomyolysis. If the release is successful, then a doctor will need to assess how to deal with any complications, such as compartment syndrome or fractures. It is not unusual for a victim to need surgery.

Afterward, rehabilitation can help a victim regain the use of their affected limb. If crushed limbs had to be amputated, then rehab will help people learn how to perform simple tasks like cooking, getting dressed, and bathing, all with the hope of increasing independence.

One repercussion of crush injuries is emotional distress, especially if the crush injury leads to a change in physical appearance. Victims might need to undergo counseling to help them deal with the traumatic event. Medication might also be necessary to treat depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness.

Compensation for Crush Injuries

The compensation available will depend on who caused the accident and where you were injured. If you were injured on the job, then you could qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. These no-fault benefits pay for reasonably necessary medical bills and can replace a portion of your lost wages if you are disabled. Unfortunately, workers cannot sue their employers except in very limited situations. But if another party was responsible for the accident, then you might be able to bring a lawsuit against them.

Those injured in motor vehicle accidents will probably make a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Compensation can cover economic losses, like medical bills and wages, as well as intangible harms like pain and suffering or emotional distress.

Speak with an Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney

The attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have helped thousands of people hold someone accountable for their injuries, but we need to hear from you first. If you have suffered a crush injury, you are not required to bring a legal claim all by yourself. Instead, let us handle the legal aspects for you. We can meet with you to discuss your case and advise you about your legal rights.

Call right away. You have a limited amount of time to bring a lawsuit, and it is very possible that you will lose your right to sue if you delay. Pick up the phone and call or send us an online message.

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