What is a Crush Injury?
A crush injury takes place when compression happens to a body part, causing damage to nerves, blood vessels, muscles, the bone, or other tissues of the body. Forceful or prolonged compression can cause damage, with the majority of crush injuries involving the legs. Around 75% of crush injuries occur in the leg region, while 10% affect the arms. At Cueria Law Firm, we have handled many crush injury cases and find that such injuries can be caused by heavy equipment and typically take place in a work environment. A crush injury can result in disability or even death. Amputation may be needed if the incident results in the limb that was crushed being unusable.
Crush injuries can lead to other medical issues for the victim, including:
- compartment syndrome
- paralysis of the crushed limb
- physiological disorders
- amputation of a body part
Crush Injuries are Serious and Potentially Fatal
When a crush injury takes place, the compression is abnormal and will disrupt the normal function of the muscle cells. Cells are unable to receive calcium and potassium that they need, which leads to breakage. In the end, the muscles of the affected area break down and can release protein into the bloodstream. This is called myoglobin, and this protein can cause rhabdomyolysis, which leads to low blood pressure and vomiting.
If you suffer from rhabdomyolysis and are not treated as soon as possible, your crush injury may result in toxic shock, kidney failure, or fatal injury. Medical assistance must be provided to prevent the kidneys from being damaged and to stabilize the patient’s blood pressure. Surgery is often needed in order to repair any damage to the tissues. Amputation is often the only option to effectively repair the body due to crush injury and this condition.
The long-term impact of a crush injury is often devastating as it can lead to constant pain and emotional issues such as depression. Individuals who suffer from a crush injury may be unable to work due to a missing limb or the side effects of the body caused by the injury.
Common Causes of Crush Injuries
Crush injuries often happen in a work environment when heavy machinery or machinery with moving parts are used during the daily work schedule. Equipment used in the workplace needs to be well-maintained and operated by trained employees. Workers need to know how the machinery operates and be able to use the machine without harming themselves or others. Employers must ensure that training is provided, and all machines are kept up to date with maintenance to avoid unwanted injury.
A crush injury on the job will often involve the following components:
- A dropped heavy load
- Parts of moving machinery
- Powered doors
Industrial work environments are often the place where the crushing injury occurs. Even oil rigs can be subject to such injuries. At Cueria Law Firm, our New Orleans personal injury attorneys have been involved in cases where employees of oil rigs were injured on the job. Heavy machinery and equipment are used on an oil rig on a daily basis and can be the cause of injury. Unsecured drill pipes can roll near workers and cause a crushing industry or materials can be dropped, resulting in the injury or death of an employee.