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Understanding the Dangers of Crush Injuries After a Car Accident

Posted on behalf of Anderson Cummings on Jan 13, 2023 in Auto Accidents

crush injuries after a car accidentVictims who suffer crush injuries in a car accident need immediate emergency treatment and are also likely to need extensive and ongoing critical care. Accident victims with these injuries are also at risk for the many dangerous and life-threatening complications that may follow.

Learn more about the dangers of crush injuries after a car accident, including when you may need to seek compensation for your damages.

Need help after suffering a crush injury or other damages in a car accident? At Anderson Cummings, our legal team has a history of proven results, and we are ready to help. We want you to be able to focus on your health, so when we take on a client’s accident claim, there are no upfront costs or fees to pay. We also do not get paid for our services unless we win your case.

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What May Cause Crush Injuries After a Car Accident?

Crush injuries are the result of extreme, sudden and prolonged pressure on a victim’s muscles, nerves, blood vessels and other soft tissue. A victim's torso, hands, arms and legs could suffer a crush injury In any collision, including when:

  • Two vehicles collide at high-speed
  • One vehicle crashes into a stationary object, such as a utility pole, tree or even a stopped vehicle
  • A vehicle crashes into or slides under a truck
  • Drivers or passengers get ejected from a vehicle involved in a crash
  • Pedestrians get caught between a vehicle and another stationary object, such as a wall or another vehicle
  • Any crash victim becomes trapped under the wreckage of heavy vehicles following a collision

How Do You Know if You Have a Crush Injury?

After a car crash, victims may be completely unaware they are hurt, which is often due to being in shock. However, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are trained to spot early warning signs of a crush injury. This is one good reason not to refuse, delay or skip immediate medical attention after a serious traffic accident.

The type of crash, such as a head-on collision, or amount of damage to the vehicles involved may also indicate a crush injury. For instance, a victim is more likely to sustain a crush injury after being pinned under the heavy wreckage of a vehicle.

A crushing accident can cause many internal or external damages, including

  • Severe internal bleeding
  • Significant bruising over a large area
  • Multiple or compound fractures
  • Deep lacerations or other open wounds
  • Severe nerve injuries

In addition to these initial damages, severe and potentially life-threatening internal complications may folllow. EMTs and other first responders may be the first to catch the early warning signs of a crush injury, which could include:

  • Decreased pulse
  • Skin color changes
  • Swelling in the injured area
  • Hypothermia
  • Paresthesia
  • Paralysis

What Are the Dangers and Complications of Crush Injuries After a Car Accident?

Injury symptoms may initially seem mild after a collision, however, with a crush injury, the symptoms will quickly escalate. The time from when the injury occurs to when treatment begins can make a significant difference in a victim's outcome. In fact, after the first four hours following the initial injury, a victim's ability to fully recover is drastically reduced.

Common complications of a crush injury include:

Rhabdomyolysis (Crush Syndrome)

A crush injury causes muscle cells to immediately begin to break down. The body then releases the crushed muscle cell tissue into the blood stream, eventually cycling it through the kidneys. However, not only are these components toxic for the body, they may also be too much for a victim's kidneys to handle. In severe cases, the kidneys may stop functioning altogether. 

Limb Ischemia

A crushing injury to one or more hands, arms, feet, or legs may lead to limb ischemia. This is a serious medical condition that happens when there is a sudden reduction in blood flow to the affected limb, such as when a leg artery is blocked by the weight of vehicle wreckage. Without treatment, it could lead to cardiovascular issues, amputation of the affected limb or even death. 

Acute Compartment Syndrome

The pressure and force of a crush injury can cause muscles to swell in the damaged area. This cuts off blood to surrounding cells and nerves, causing injured victims to suffer from excruciating pain and paresthesia (pins and needles). Emergency surgery may sometimes be necessary.

Other complications victims may experience following a crush injury include hyperkalemia or hypovolemic shock. Hyperkalemia is a serious medical condition caused by so many cells suddenly dying off. This results in an excess of potassium getting released into the victim's bloodstream. For some victims, this could lead to a fatal cardiac arrest.

Hypovolemic shock can happen after a crush injury if a victim's heart is unable to pump enough blood throughout the body. If this occurs, it could cause a victim's organs to shut down altogether.

How Are Crush Injuries Treated After a Car Accident?

 EMTs and other trained first responders may start treatment at the scene of the crash. Initial steps may include ensuring a victim is able to breathe. However, EMTs who recognize what is happening may begin fluid resuscitation of the affected extremity at the crash site. Taking these initial steps early on may prevent or reduce the risk of severe complications. 

Treatment may vary depending on the extent of the crush injury and how many hours since the initial injury. Traditionally, treatments may include:

  • IV Therapy to gradually replenish and resuscitate fluids to the area
  • Closely monitoring the patient for any signs of cardiac arrhythmias
  • Using electrolytes to replace any electrolyte abnormalities that may occur
  • Hemodialysis as needed to reduce the risk of renal failure
  • Mannitol therapy or forced alkaline diuresis, which is used to flush the toxins out of the kidneys

Why Seek Legal Help for a Crush Injury After a Car Accident?

Crush injuries require extensive and ongoing treatments. Victims often undergo a lengthy recovery and may also require surgery and other costly medical interventions. Once a victim's injuries are stabilized, contacting an attorney to discuss your situation may help to ensure you recover the maximum compensation possible for your damages. This critical step can help to ensure your legal rights are protected so you can continue to focus on your health.

Victims who suffer a crush injury after a car accident may be eligible to receive compensation for:

  • Emergency transportation and treatment
  • Surgical interventions that may be required
  • Ongoing ICU care
  • Prosthetics if an amputation is required
  • Physical therapy once injuries are stabilized
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity
  • And more

Contact Our Trusted Law Firm to Discuss Your Situation

The legal professionals at Anderson Cummings are prepared to hold the at-fault party fully accountable for his or her actions. We always seek the maximum possible compensation, and we are always ready to go to trial should it become necessary.

Learn more about your legal options after a car crash that leaves you injured. Our experienced auto accident lawyers in Fort Worth are here to help and have staff available to take your call 24/7. Your initial consultation is completely free and there is nothing to pay us up front or while we work on your case.

Proven Results. Millions Recovered. (817) 920-9000