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Crushing Injury

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Crushing Injury

Crushing Injury

Crushing injuries can take years to heal. Even after they do, victims might still experience ongoing physical issues like arthritis and nerve damage.

Worse yet, crushing injuries can cause life-threatening complications. Crush syndrome could even lead to permanent kidney failure.

Learn more about crushing injuries and what you need to prove to get compensation for a crushing injury.

What Are the Differences Between Crushing Injuries and Other Injuries?

What Are the Differences Between Crushing Injuries and Other Injuries?

Crushing injuries result from intense, direct pressure over a large area of your body.

This pressure causes some distinct forms of tissue damage, including:

  • Shattered bones
  • Collapsed blood vessels
  • Torn nerves
  • Crushed muscle fibers

Crushing forces can act quickly or slowly to produce these injuries. For example, if you drop a heavy object on your foot in a workplace accident, you might experience these injuries almost the instant the object lands on your foot.

In other cases, a crushing force might happen slowly. If you get caught in a factory machine, it could slowly pull you into the machine, pulverizing your trapped body. This slow-crushing accident can cause the same types of injuries as a rapid-crushing accident.

A few more characteristics that distinguish crushing injuries from other injuries include:

Amount of Tissue Damage

Crushing injuries cover a large area of your body, while impact injuries usually cover a smaller area. The site affected by a crushing injury often experiences massive tissue damage and even death.

Ongoing Tissue Damage

Crushing injuries often damage or destroy the structures needed to support tissues. For example, a crushing injury can cause blood vessels to collapse. Even when the crushing force ends, the injured area might not receive enough blood flow due to the damaged blood vessels.

In an impact injury, the force is applied quickly and to a smaller area. As a result, you’ll often suffer less damage to the supporting structures like blood vessels and nerves.

Healing Time

Because of the massive tissue damage from a crushing injury, doctors often need to perform extensive reconstruction of the injured area. Therefore, healing times for crushing injuries can be much longer than those for impact injuries.

For example, the average healing time for a simple fracture is six to eight weeks, while a shattered bone can take up to a year to heal.

What Are Some Risk Factors for a Crushing Injury?

Crushing injuries can happen in almost any accident. But a few types of accidents have a higher likelihood of causing a crush injury, including:

Construction Accidents

According to OSHA, “caught by/between” is among the four most common construction accidents.

In this type of accident, a construction worker is crushed by:

OSHA provides guidelines to reduce the risk of these accidents. However, these accidents can still injure workers even on a compliant job site.

Car Accidents

Crushing injuries frequently result from car accidents. A collision force can cause the passenger compartment to collapse and crush the occupants. And in a rollover accident, a roof collapse can result in crushing injuries.

What Types of Crushing Injuries Can Occur?

Crushing injuries can damage many structures in your body, leading to injuries such as:

Comminuted Fracture

A comminuted fracture happens when a bone breaks into at least three pieces. Doctors treat comminuted fractures by reassembling the broken bone using screws and plates. If pieces are missing or too damaged to reuse, doctors can perform a bone graft using a donor bone from elsewhere in your body or a cadaver.

Soft Tissue Damage

Crushing forces can tear apart your soft tissue or squeeze the cells in delicate tissues to the point that they rupture. As a result, you might continue to experience tissue death even after you’re rescued from whatever caused the compression injury.

Nerve Damage

Nerves can’t function if they become stretched or torn. A crushing injury can severely damage nerves, leading to paralysis, numbness, and loss of dexterity.

What Are Some Complications of a Crushing Injury?

Crushing injuries cause a few complications that can threaten your life or limbs.

Crush Syndrome

When cells die, they empty their contents into your tissues. Your blood carries these dead cells to your kidneys, which filter them and any toxins they’ve created out of your blood. Since crush injuries affect a large area of your body, the number of dead and dying cells delivered to the kidneys can overwhelm them.

Crush syndrome occurs when you suffer kidney failure due to massive tissue death. Your kidneys can suffer permanent damage, and you may need dialysis or a kidney transplant if doctors can’t restore kidney function.

Compartment Syndrome

Compartment syndrome happens when an injury causes such severe muscle swelling that the swollen muscle cuts off the blood supply downstream of the injury. For example, a crush injury to your forearm can cause so much swelling that blood is unable to reach your hand or fingers.

Compartment syndrome requires immediate treatment to relieve the pressure. Without treatment, the blood-deprived tissue will die. Doctors may need to amputate the dead tissue to prevent gangrene if this happens.

How Do You Get Compensation for a Crushing Injury?

If you’ve suffered a crushing injury during the course and within the scope of your employment, you might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Most New York employers are required by law to carry workers’ comp insurance, entitling you to seek medical benefits and partial disability benefits after an on-the-job crushing injury.

If your crushing injury resulted from a car accident, your New York no-fault car insurance should compensate you for your medical expenses and lost income. If it resulted in serious injuries, like kidney failure, you could also pursue a claim against the at-fault driver by proving the driver’s negligence.

A crushing injury can cause permanent disabilities. Consequently, you might have significant limitations placed on your ability to work or perform your daily tasks after suffering a crushing injury.

To discuss the compensation you can seek for these and other losses stemming from your crushing injury, contact the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at (212) 564 2800 for a free consultation.

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