The range of injuries that can be expected when you become involved in a car accident is vast. A typical crash includes many of the following injuries including, broken bones, bruises, cuts, whiplash, and a sore back. What few people consider are the unpredictable injuries like those that come from being crushed.
Car accidents under the right speed and force can crumple motor vehicles with even the strictest of safety ratings. These collisions can cause catastrophic injuries and even death depending upon how quickly you can be rescued and the location of the injury you sustain.
What is considered a crushing injury?
Crushing injuries occur when excessive pressure is placed on an extremity or the whole of your body causing severe, sometimes permanent trauma. These injuries often happen when smaller vehicles are involved in truck accidents due to the size and weight difference between the vehicles when they collide. These injuries can also occur from natural disasters such as high wind causing a roof collapse, or even construction accidents.
Effects of crush injuries a victim may experience include:
- Crush syndrome
- Nerve injury
- Limb loss
When vehicles make contact at a high rate of speed, the likelihood of crush injuries occurring increases. The force of the impact can send engines into passenger compartments or flip vehicles over causing occupants to become wedged under twisted metal. Even backup accidents can pin a pedestrian against a wall or object when a driver is careless in checking blind spots before putting their vehicle in reverse.
What is crush syndrome?
Crush syndrome is a condition that occurs when there has been prolonged, continuous pressure exerted on large muscles that have become crushed. During the compression, muscle tissue is deprived of blood and oxygen causing damage. Once that pressure has been relieved, blood and oxygen begin returning to the area causing an inflammatory chemical reaction. This can present itself as tissue injury, organ dysfunction, and metabolic abnormality.
Crush syndrome can cause certain complications such as:
- Cardiovascular instability
- Hypotension and hypovolemic shock from fluid shifting back into damaged cells causing blood loss
- Renal failure
- Metabolic acidosis with lactic acidosis
- Skin injury and swelling
- Paralysis and paresthesia
- Compartment syndrome
- Acute lung injury
What is compartment syndrome?
Compartment syndrome occurs when any portion of your body has been constricted within a smaller space than necessary for proper blood flow to maintain healthy tissue. This deep tissue injury causes swelling and bleeding and can turn into necrosis (death of cells). Another condition that can result from this syndrome is rhabdomyolysis. This is where dead muscle tissue releases its contents into the bloodstream, which may cause kidney failure. Because of the risks of compartment syndrome, it can lead to the necessity of amputation to prevent the victim’s death.
How are car accident crush injuries treated?
Because there are different levels of severity when it comes to crush injuries, there are various forms of treatment that may prove to be successful in minimizing the accident trauma. Minor crush injuries may heal on their own but that is unlikely when dealing with auto accidents.
Some methods of treatment include:
- Gradually adding fluid through intravenous access to resuscitate the crushed area before relieving the pressure
- Alkaline diuresis, which helps the kidneys rid the body of toxins
- Surgery to deal with necrosis or compartment syndrome
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Car accidents cause devastating injuries that you may be forced to work through for the rest of your life. Crush injuries are unpredictable and can either heal completely in time, or cost you your life or a limb. Our attorneys know that you will need support to ultimately recover. The results-oriented Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP will be here when you are ready to schedule your free case evaluation in our office by calling 310-474-1582, or by reaching out to us through our contact page to tell us your story.
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With more than 25 years’ experience as a trial lawyer, Partner Patrick McNicholas exclusively represents victims in personal injury, product liability, sexual assault and other consumer-oriented matters, such as civil rights, aviation disasters and class actions. Learn more about his professional background here.