Why Are Crush Injuries From Traffic Accidents So Dangerous?

ambulance responding to accident afternoonA crush injury is a serious and potentially life-threatening injury that happens when extreme force is placed on one or more extremities or the entire body. There are many accidents that could cause this type of injury, but it often happens in car crashes.

Greg Coleman Law discusses the risks of crush injuries, including dangerous secondary conditions that can lead to serious or fatal outcomes without prompt medical attention.

For victims who survive a crush injury, the recovery is long, painful and expensive. While we understand that compensation cannot change what happened, it could help you with your medical costs and moving forward with your life. Our Knoxville-based car crash lawyers are ready to work tirelessly to hold the at-fault party accountable and recover the maximum compensation possible. We are here to help.

FREE Case Review: (865) 247-0080

How a Crush Injury Happens in a Car Crash

In a traffic accident, the likelihood of sustaining a crush injury increases when a motorcycle or smaller car is involved in a collision with a larger vehicle or truck. Victims may also suffer a crush injury if they get thrown from their vehicle or their vehicle hits a wall or other hard object.

Initial Effects of a Crush Injury

The initial effects of a crushing injury alone are quite serious and may include:

  • Severe bleeding
  • Nerve damage
  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Bruising
  • Severely crushed muscles

Even when victims survive the initial damage, crush injuries are often catastrophic. Time is not on the victim's side. The damaged tissue quickly begins to deteriorate due to the sudden and severe reduction in blood flow and loss of oxygen. 

Secondary Conditions That May Be Life-Threatening

After suffering a crush injury in a collision, victims are often in shock and may be unaware of their injuries. Some victims may even refuse treatment and insist they are not badly injured. However, you can only know for certain what injuries you may or may not have sustained after being examined and diagnosed by a medical professional. Unfortunately, waiting to seek medical treatment could cause you to rapidly decline in the process and significantly impact your ability to recover.

In addition to the extensive initial damages of a crush injury, there is also a high risk for developing debilitating or life-threatening secondary conditions, including:

  • Limb ischemia: This condition occurs when there is a sudden reduction in the blood flow to the affected limb. Patients with limb ischemia have a high risk for amputations, or, left untreated, serious cardiovascular complications or death.
  • Acute compartment syndrome: This condition may occur following a crush injury as dangerous levels of pressure build up in the affected muscles or muscle groups, causing a sudden and drastic reduction in blood flow. The affected muscles may feel tight, accompanied by a burning or tingling sensation of the skin. If acute compartment syndrome occurs, emergent surgery may be required.
  • Rhabdomyolysis (also known as crush syndrome): Crush injuries may severely damage skeletal muscle tissue, causing its cellular integrity to break down. When this happens, the body releases multiple toxins, including myoglobin (a protein), into the victim's bloodstream. This protein, along with other toxins, can quickly build up in the bloodstream and, without prompt medical care, can lead to kidney failure and death.

Depending on the severity of the injury and other factors, the body may start releasing these toxins within four to six hours after the injury, but it could begin in as little as 60 minutes. 

Red Flags That May Indicate a Crushing Injury

Since crush injuries are internal, the severity of the damage may not be immediately obvious – even to first responders, which can delay a victim getting the lifesaving care they need. Early warning signs doctors and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) look for in a patient with a crush injury include:

  • Changes to skin color
  • Swelling
  • Hypothermia
  • Paralysis
  • Paresthesia (tingling, burning)
  • Decreased pulse

Call Our Law Firm for Legal Help After a Crush Injury

Once your injuries are stabilized and you are out of danger, we strongly recommend that you seek legal representation with a qualified attorney. 

There is no cost for an initial consultation at Greg Coleman Law. If you cannot come to us, we can come to you or speak to you via phone or video conferencing. While you are under no obligation to hire our firm, if we do represent you, there is nothing to pay upfront or while we work on your case. We do not get paid unless you do.

Experienced. Local. Lawyers. (865) 247-0080