Crush injuries occur when heavy machinery, machinery, cars, or other comparable conditions crush a hand, limb, or another bodily part. These injuries may be severe, resulting in limb loss, amputation, deformity, and other related issues.
Crush injuries are typical in the following situations:
- Accidents in motor vehicles
- Injuries caused by things falling from above and striking a person
- Workplace injuries, particularly those involving machinery
- Contact with conveyor belts, rotating components, and other objects moving portions
Workplace injuries are also a common source of crush injuries. In a single year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 73,740 occupational crush injuries necessitating days off work.
Several work-related mishaps may result in crush injuries, especially in the construction sector.
Here are a few examples:
- A falling weight strikes a worker.
- Someone’s hand becomes entangled in machinery.
- A car collides with a worker’s foot.
- A person has been crushed between the loading dock and a tractor-trailer.
- Heavy items fall on a worker during loading or unloading.
- A farmer becomes entangled between a giant animal and a fence.
- A building falls on top of employees.
Crush Injuries Caused Damage
Symptoms might vary depending on the degree of the crush injury. Minor crush injuries, such as a finger caught in a vehicle door, may cause discomfort, bruising, and lacerations. Serious crush injuries may be excruciatingly painful, debilitating, and even fatal.
One of the hazards of crush injuries to legs or arms is that they do not seem life-threatening but end in renal failure and death days later.
The following are the general effects of crush injuries:
- Wounds that won’t heal
- Painful swelling within an enclosed area that causes serious soft tissue damage)
- Damage to the nerves
- Infections that develop later
How Are Crush Injuries Managed on the Spot?
People suffering from crush injuries are often trapped at the site. Individual patients or small groups of injured people may be extricated by professional rescuers or pedestrians and get first-aid treatment from emergency medical services.
Large-scale mass casualties, such as catastrophic building collapses caused by man-made catastrophes or natural disasters like earthquakes, may trap hundreds of people.
This may necessitate the use of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) squads, which collaborate with community fire departments, law enforcement agencies, local and federal governmental organizations, and commercial firms in the United States.
Extrication time has a substantial relationship with earthquake-related death. Kids and the elderly are particularly susceptible. Entrapment for more than 24 hours is substantially connected with death. From 48 hours to 14 days later, a limited number of survivors may be extricated.
Survivors are often discovered in cavities in the collapsing building. Most fatalities occur when individuals are buried under debris and are subjected to too much pressure for their bodies to bear.
Additional reasons for death include dust inhalation, brain damage, asphyxia, dust inhalation, or multiple other injuries.
Furthermore, rescuers in many incidents may constitute a considerable proportion of the victims, if not the majority. Extrication of people from fallen buildings is dangerous, and there is a high chance of further collapse.
What Is “Confined Space Medicine?”
Because rescuing victims may require tunneling, and victims might be physically trapped, “scoop and run” is often not feasible, necessitating initial crush injury care and crush syndrome treatment to be provided by rescuers inside the building, a practice known as “confined space medicine.”
Are Terrorist Attacks Sources of Crush Injuries?
While earthquakes are the most common source of mass crush injuries, terrorist attacks are becoming a common cause of structure collapse. Crush injuries may accompany blast damage, toxic inhalation, or fire hazards in certain situations.
Can Crush Injuries Cause Respiratory Failure?
Crush injuries to the chest are a leading cause of respiratory failure and mortality.
Patients may need oxygen, portable ventilators, nasal and oral airways, and intubation (sometimes a surgical airway).
Inhalation damage caused by dust or hot gases, such as in a bombing or fire, may also need sophisticated airway treatment.
Some people may need chest decompression through a chest tube during extrication treatment.
What Causes Hypovolemia?
Hypovolemia may occur for a variety of causes.
Dehydration is a prevalent cause of hypovolemia in individuals with protracted entrapment and is a primary cause of mortality.
Hypovolemia may also be caused by hemorrhage and burns.
Hemorrhage from acute injuries may be delayed until after extrication owing to wound compression or organ damage.
Rapid access with large-bore IV catheters and delivery of isotonic saline is required to immediately treat hypovolemia and avoid crush syndrome and mortality from post-release hyperkalemia.
EMS should avoid using potassium-containing solutions. Crush syndrome arises when a crush injury is not treated with proper fluid resuscitation.
During extended field care, urine output is also observed.
What Are the Steps for Treating a Crush Injury?
The following are the steps for treating a crush injury as first aid:
- Apply direct pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding.
- Cover the affected area with a damp towel or bandage. Then, if feasible, lift the region above the level of the heart.
- If a head, neck, or spinal injury is suspected, immobilize those locations if feasible and then restrict movement to the crushed area.
- Contact your local emergency number (911) or a local hospital for further information.
Crush injuries are often treated in a hospital emergency room. Surgery may be required.
Who Is Responsible for Crush Injuries?
Many parties may be held accountable for crush injuries depending on the circumstances.
For example, in circumstances where a person was crushed by a falling item, the owner or maintenance of the premises may be held accountable if they failed to make the environment safe.
In other situations, an employer may be held accountable for a work-related crush injury.
One example is when an employer fails to provide safety equipment for heavy machinery employees.
Finally, certain crush injuries might occur as a consequence of a mechanical or other similar malfunction with equipment.
Under a defective product theory of law, the product’s maker may be held accountable to equipment users in such instances.
What Legal Remedies Are Available for Crush Injuries?
Crush injury claims may be complicated, and legal action may be required to settle the many issues involved.
In such circumstances, the remedy will almost always involve monetary damages.
Damages often cover expenditures such as hospital bills, costs of surgeries and other medical procedures, prescription prices, missed job income, loss of future earning potential, and pain and suffering.
A class action lawsuit may be launched in certain circumstances if numerous people suffer similar crush injuries due to comparable causes.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Represent Me in a Crush Injury Lawsuit?
Injury laws might be difficult to understand. If you need help with a case, it may be in your best interests to consult a personal injury lawyer in your region. Your attorney will be able to explain your legal alternatives to you and will represent you in court. If you have any specific questions during the process, your lawyer can address those in detail as well.
Use LegalMatch today to find the right lawyer for all your legal needs. You don’t have to go through the court system alone. Submit your case to a lawyer for free with LegalMatch.