Car crashes generate a tremendous amount of force. If enough of that force transfers to vehicle occupants, they could suffer crush injuries that cause severe damage. Some crush injuries lead to life-threatening complications.
Crush injury victims should consider experienced legal representation. Insurers often try to deny or underpay claims, even when the victim has suffered catastrophic damage. Crash victims who hire attorneys often recover more compensation, especially if their attorney has a history of results.
Galloway Jefcoat offers a free legal consultation and has obtained millions on behalf of crash victims in Lafayette and throughout Louisiana. Our Lafayette vehicle accident lawyers also charge no upfront fees.
Call us today. We are ready to assist you: (337) 984-8020.
What Are Crush Injuries?
Crush injuries are those that result from body parts getting pinned or crushed by intense and prolonged pressure. For example, these injuries could happen to those who work with heavy machinery, such as factory or construction workers.
Crush injuries could also happen in car accidents, as the impact of a collision can transfer a significant amount of force throughout the vehicles.
The prolonged compression of the body can result in injuries to muscles and other soft tissues, along with nerves. Sometimes the damage to these tissues occurs during the compression itself. There are other times when damage is a result of ischemia.
Symptoms Associated With a Crush Injury
Some of the symptoms associated with a crush injury include:
- Internal bleeding
- External bleeding
- Deep cuts, also called lacerations
- Swelling at the site of the injury
- Severe bruises
- Broken bones, including compound fractures
- Crushing of soft tissues
- Burn injuries
- Damage to nerves
- Amputation of a limb
- Damage to the lungs
- Injury to your internal organs
How a Louisiana Auto Accident Can Cause a Crush Injury
Crush injuries could occur in many types of auto accidents, such as:
- High-speed crashes
- Collisions involving large and small vehicles
- Rear-end collisions
- Rollover accidents
- Pedestrian crashes
- Bicycle crashes
- Motorcycle collisions
- Collisions with fixed objects
Crush injuries could occur in high-speed collisions, particularly those that result in significant vehicle damage.
For example, a person’s legs may get pinned under the dashboard if the engine gets pushed through to the car’s interior. Victims’ chests or arms could also get pinned in place and compressed by vehicle wreckage or structural damage.
Collisions Involving Large Vehicles and Small Vehicles
Crush injuries may be more likely to occur in collisions between smaller and larger vehicles. This is because the larger vehicle can inflict serious structural damage to the smaller vehicle.
If a crash results in one of the vehicles rolling over, an occupant could get pinned to the pavement by the vehicle.
When a commercial truck is involved in a collision with a much smaller passenger vehicle, the passenger vehicle could get run over and potentially stuck under the truck or one of its many wheels. If a commercial truck hits a passenger vehicle from behind, it could easily push that vehicle into another and compact the first vehicle.
Make sure to keep your distance when following a commercial truck, as the bumper of the trailer could come up through your windshield if you were to rear-end the trailer. This could cause your chest to sustain a crush injury.
Motorcycle, Bicycle and Pedestrian Crashes
While passenger vehicles offer some protection from severe injury in a crash, pedestrians, bicyclists and those on motorcycles do not have the amount of protection. In a collision, bicyclists and motorcyclists could easily get thrown from their bikes and get pinned between vehicles or between a vehicle and the ground.
Collisions With Fixed Objects
Some collisions involve buildings, guardrails, trees, road signs or other fixed objects. If a vehicle occupant gets thrown out of his or her vehicle, he or she could get pinned between the vehicle and one of these fixed objects. This could also happen to pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcycle riders.
Why Are Crush Injuries So Dangerous?
Crush injuries are not going to get better simply because body parts are no longer being subjected to intense pressure. The damage may already be done.
The problem is there are times when the damage is not apparent, as it is often internal. First responders might not see the damage your body suffered from the crush injury.
Crush Injuries Destroy Cells
It is important not to dismiss symptoms of a crush injury. Crush injuries can destroy a lot of cells, which could release a toxic amount of potassium and other substances into your system. This is called hyperkalemia and could result in life-threatening medical issues, like kidney failure or cardiac arrest.
Treatment Should Begin Immediately
Victims need treatment right away, as a delay could result in escalating complications. In fact, treatment should start at the scene of the crash. Such immediate treatment could greatly reduce the risk of serious medical issues.
Immediate treatment may allow doctors to save a limb, whereas if victims wait for treatment, the damage may be too much to repair. Doctors may need to amputate the limb to save the patient’s life.
Area That Was Crushed and Force at Impact
Typically, crush injuries that involve your torso carry a greater risk of serious or life-threatening complications. The larger the area that is put under pressure, the greater the risk to the victim. The force generated from the collision is also a factor in the severity of the injury – the greater the force the worse the injuries may be.
What Are Potential Complications From a Crush Injury?
When a body part gets crushed in a car accident and is subjected to prolonged and continuous pressure, muscle tissue is deprived of blood and oxygen, which can cause serious damage. Unfortunately, once the pressure is released there is an inflammatory response as blood and oxygen return to the muscles.
The deprivation of blood and oxygen followed by the inflammatory response after the return of blood and oxygen to the muscles is also referred to as crush syndrome. The prolonged pressure causes cells to die, and this results in toxins being released into the bloodstream.
Some of the complications associated with crush syndrome include:
- Cardiovascular problems, including cardiac arrest
- Kidney failure
- Injury to the lungs
- Lactic acidosis
- Metabolic acidosis
- Hypotension or low blood pressure
- Hyperkalemia, or the release of unsafe amounts of potassium in the body
If one of your body parts is constricted in such a way that tissues are not getting enough blood, cells begin to die. This is because tissues are not getting enough blood to stay healthy.
Compartment syndrome may result in rhabdomyolysis, as dead muscle tissues empty themselves into your bloodstream. This is a lot for your kidneys to handle and it could result in kidney failure.
Compartment syndrome is highly dangerous, and it might result in the need for amputation to save the victim’s life.
Your body can go into shock if you lose more than 15 percent of your blood supply. Your heart cannot pump enough blood through your body, which could cause organ failure.
Treatment for Crush Injuries From a Car Crash
Immediate treatment of a crush injury is vital, as it may reduce your risk for severe complications. First responders may be able to start fluid resuscitation at the crash scene. Doctors can continue adding fluid intravenously to the affected area to help resuscitate tissues.
Other treatments doctors may use include:
- Alkaline diuresis and mannitol therapy, as it helps to flush toxic substances from the kidneys
- Watching the patient for numbness or tingling in the affected extremity
- Keeping a close on the patient’s heart rhythm to proactively spot arrythmia
- Surgery to remove dead tissue
- Hemodialysis to reduce your risk of kidney failure
- Watching the patient’s electrolytes to make sure there is no abnormality
- Putting the patient in a hyperbaric chamber for oxygen therapy
- Antibiotic medications to prevent infections
Were You Injured in a Louisiana Car Crash? Call for Assistance
The most important thing to do after suffering a crush injury in a car crash is to get to the emergency room so doctors can identify and stabilize your injuries.
However, crash victims are also faced with another important decision: Who should I hire to handle my car accident lawsuit?
The attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat have been fighting for crash victims in Louisiana for decades and have established a record of success. We have recovered hundreds of millions on behalf of our clients and there are no upfront costs for our services.
Call Galloway Jefcoat: (337) 984-8020 Licensed Attorneys. Proven Results.