How Serious is a Crush Injury From a Car Crash?

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on April 27, 2022 in Car Accidents
Updated on April 24, 2024

ambulance crush injuries from crashCar crashes often lead to serious injuries, from fractures and deep lacerations to organ damage, head traumas and more. No one involved in a serious traffic accident should put off getting a proper medical examination. For victims who suffer crush injuries from a car crash, however, emergency medical treatment is critical. Yet often, these victims may not know how badly they are hurt. Crush injuries are often deceiving, and without treatment, victims could quickly suffer irreversible damage or even death.

At PKSD, we are very familiar with the catastrophic injuries caused by car crashes. We have also seen the devastation that victims and their families face afterwards. Our Milwaukee-area car crash lawyers cannot change what has happened. However, we are prepared to help you seek the compensation you need so you can focus on your recovery. Your initial consultation is free, and there is nothing to pay up front or while we work on your case.

We fight for maximum compensation. 414-333-3333

How Do Crush Injuries Happen in a Car Crash?

A crush injury happens when an object strikes a body part with extreme force or pressure. Many types of accidents could cause this type of injury. However, crush injuries from a car crash are more likely if one vehicle hits another vehicle or object at high speed. If the collision involves a passenger car striking a van, SUV or commercial truck, the risk of a catastrophic or crushing injury is greater. Smaller vehicles are less able to withstand an impact against a much larger and heavier vehicle.

Motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists could also suffer crush injuries in a crash, even if they are hit by a smaller car. Unlike drivers and passengers inside a vehicle, these victims have little to protect them. They could get thrown at impact or pinned against another object, such as a vehicle or wall.

What Types of Injuries Are Caused By a Crush Injury From a Car Crash?

Symptoms, even immediately after the crash, may vary. They could be visibly life-threatening or, at least on the surface, less severe.

Crush injuries from a car crash may cause immediate damage, such as:

  • Bleeding – internal or from an open wound
  • Multiple compound fractures
  • Crushed muscles and soft tissue
  • Nerve damage
  • Deep lacerations
  • Severe bruising
  • Swelling
  • Burns
  • Crush syndrome
  • Infection

Why Are Crush Injuries From a Car Crash So Dangerous?

Crush injuries resulting from a car crash or any accident are often deceiving. While on the surface, even trained first responders may not always see the immediate danger. Yet despite what is visible, the damage could be significant. If treatment is delayed, a crush injury can lead to the loss of a limb, kidney failure or death.

Victims who suffer a crush injury of a larger body area, such as the torso, have a higher risk for developing severe complications.

Other factors that affect the extent of the injury include:

  • The general health of a victim, including age – both older victims and younger children are more fragile
  • The area of the victim’s body that was crushed and how much overall tissue was damaged
  • The force at impact and how long the victim remained trapped under the vehicle
  • How soon after the injury the victim began receiving medical care

Crush injuries require aggressive medical intervention right away. Emergency treatment should begin immediately, even before a victim is removed from the wreckage and transported to the hospital.

How Are Crush Injuries From a Car Crash Treated?

At the scene, EMTs may primarily focus on a victim’s airway, breathing and circulation. Medical responders may also start fluid resuscitation of the extremity at the scene. This early treatment could help to reduce the severity of the crush syndrome. Sometimes, amputating a limb may become necessary. However, this is likely only if extracting the victim from the wreckage is impossible to do otherwise.

Once at the hospital, other emergency treatment may include:

  • Adding fluid gradually through an IV to help resuscitate the crushed area
  • Forced alkaline diuresis and mannitol therapy to help flush toxins from the kidneys
  • Hemodialysis to help prevent acute renal failure
  • Carefully monitoring the crushed extremities for “pins and needles” and other symptoms
  • Monitoring the patient for electrolyte abnormalities and cardiac arrhythmias
  • And more

Sometimes surgery may be necessary if necrosis occurs. This can happen if blood supply to the injured area is cut off for too long.

Complications That Can Result From Crush Injuries

Secondary complications of a crush injury may be more dangerous than the initial injury. Even if victims receive emergency care right away, their recovery still carries a lot of risks, including:

  • Hyperkalemia – This is caused by the extreme and sudden pressure to a body part. The damaged cell membranes release an unsafe amount of potassium into the body. This could cause victims to suffer cardiac arrest.
  • Hypovolemic shock – This occurs after a sudden and significant loss of more than 15 percent of the body’s blood supply. If the heart is unable to pump enough blood, it could cause multiple organ system failure.
  • Compartment Syndrome – The refers to the death of cells in the muscles, nerves and tendons after being constricted in too small a space without proper blood flow. Acute cases may require emergency surgery.
  • Crush Syndrome – After a crush injury, cells may begin to die off in as little as an hour. During this process, the body releases toxins into the bloodstream. This can result in multiple metabolic disorders, cardiac arrest, acute kidney failure and death.

After the first four hours of a crush injury, optimum recovery becomes less possible, and the risk of complications increases.

Seeking Legal Help After a Crush Injury

If you or a loved one suffered a crush injury in a car crash, getting the medical care you need is an urgent priority. Unfortunately, medical care will be expensive and costly. Seeking legal help as soon as possible can help you to get the compensation that you need.

At PKSD, we have a team of dedicated and experienced attorneys who are ready to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. We have the resources and staff to fully investigate your claim, gather supporting evidence and build a solid claim on your behalf.

Call today to learn about your legal options for seeking compensation. If you have a valid claim and choose to hire our firm, it does not cost you anything up front. In fact, there are no fees for our services unless we win compensation for you through a settlement or verdict.

PKSD. Trusted. Local. Lawyers. 414-333-3333

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