What is a Crush Injury?

what is a crush injury

Crush injuries are some of the most debilitating injuries to the human body. Damages caused by a crushing injury may last a lifetime, changing our ability to function normally. It is not uncommon for death to occur as a result of these injuries because of the level of severity.

Surviving a crush injury may come with years of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and monitoring by medical professionals. Workers in Texas are often the victims of crush injuries; and, the financial hardships resulting from the costs associated with this type of injury and the need for continual care add even more stress. An experienced crush injury attorney in Texas will have the experience and knowledge needed to properly determine compensation for crush injuries.

Crush Injuries

Crush injury occurs by applying extreme force to a part of the body. Crush injuries occur when any part of the body is crushed between two objects. These injuries can be devastating because of the lasting effects on the body. Treatment can be complex and ongoing.

Jobs and Crush Injury Incidents

Your choice of occupation may put you more at risk for crush injuries. Knowing how these injuries occur on the job and following safety protocols can help prevent crush injuries.

  • Oilfield workers exposed to the mechanics of pumps, jacks, and machinery such as excavators and loaders are at a heightened threat of crush injuries and fatalities resulting from accidents involving this equipment.
  • Industrial workers often perform tasks in areas with many moving parts. Conveyor belts, compression machines, and other industrial mechanics present the potential to trap particular parts of the body, such as hands and arms, leading to crushing injuries.
  • Equipment operators navigate substantial pieces of machinery, sometimes in unstable settings. Failure to apply proper braking systems before exiting equipment can lead to pinning the torso or any body part between the equipment and another fixed object. Equipment rollovers can pin the operator, leading to severe injury and death.
  • Garbage truck operators work with equipment specifically designed to crush its contents.
  • Firefighters work in and around structures that fall due to fire damage. In addition to burns, crush injuries can happen quickly with unstable structures.
  • Construction builders often work with hazardous materials in outdoor environments with wind, ice, and rain compounding safety issues. These materials have the potential to crush when not appropriately secured or accidentally dropped before being fitted in place.
  • Auto mechanics perform a majority of their tasks under an automobile. Improper stabilizing jack placement can shift the vehicle’s weight, causing the object to crush the person beneath.

Common Damages Caused by Crush Injuries

The weight and the force of the crushing objects determine the resulting severity of the injuries from a crush. How long this force lasts also plays a part in the seriousness of the injury. Injuries related to crushing can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Laceration
  • Fracture
  • Nerve damage
  • Infection

The Severity of Crushing Injuries

Debilitating syndromes can affect the body following a crush injury. These types of damages will likely need ongoing treatment and can lead to death:

  • Compartment syndrome: A syndrome affecting a more localized part of the body, particularly the muscles and nerves, resulting in swelling and compromised circulation to the affected area. Lack of proper fluids and circulation nourishing the tissue results in cellular death in the damaged area of the body. Emergency procedures to restore the tissue are required.
  • Crush syndrome: The body and its organs can be severely damaged by crushing. This syndrome creates a series of metabolic changes due to injury of the skeletal muscles with enough severity to disrupt cellular integrity, releasing its contents into circulation in the body. This release of contents can affect organs.
  • Hyperkalemia: This is a direct result and most acute symptom of crush syndrome, leading to high levels of potassium in the body, disrupting organ function.
  • Amputation: The damaged limb is removed from the body when muscle tissue death occurs and nerve function no longer exists.
  • Organ failure: High potassium levels resulting from crush syndrome can lead to kidney failure and respiratory distress.

Causes of Crush Injuries

Crush injuries are not isolated work events. They can happen suddenly, changing lives in seconds. Important safety missteps a company can make which impact worker safety include:

  • Lack of appropriate training in specific tasks, tools, and equipment
  • Insufficient planning of necessary steps for completing work safely
  • Inappropriate clothing, including sleeves that are too long or loose, allowing the material to be pulled into moving parts of a machine
  • Movement of vehicles, powered doors, and machinery such as forklifts that have not been appropriately tagged out or blocked
  • Failure to create and train employees in appropriate safety guidelines
  • Equipment failure or operator error

Prevention is Key

Preventing crush injuries is crucial. Contractors and other works on a jobsite often get in a hurry, but the trauma that results from crush injuries can last a lifetime. All team members should:

  • Dress appropriately for the job they perform, remembering that loose or ill-fitting clothing has the potential to become entangled in machinery
  • Be fully present when performing a task as multitasking can lead to mistakes
  • Read operations manuals and pay attention to warnings placed on machinery or household items
  • Maintain any equipment used on the job or at home to ensure it functions properly
  • Never park equipment in a raised position, and consistently lower buckets, booms, forks, and arms when they are not in use
  • Follow lockout-tagout procedures on the job site

Competent Representation for Crush Injury Victims

Workers in Texas perform difficult jobs on demanding schedules. They know how to get a job done. Inflated industry standards can often compromise the safety of the people who are the driving force in production.

Sustaining a crush injury on the job can be devastating. Recovery can be a slow, ongoing process, limiting the type of work you can perform and activities you can enjoy, often leading to emotional and financial stress.

Part of your recovery strategy should involve working with a dedicated legal team to advocate for results that will help you rebound physically, emotionally, and financially from a crush injury. The work injury lawyers of Liggett Law Group provide passionate service while helping injured Texans reclaim their lives. Contact us to see how we can help you.