Crushing Injury

Crushing injuries cause devastating tissue and bone damage. As a result, you may suffer from long-term disabilities and complications. Your doctor might even need to amputate the crushed body part.

As a result, you could incur massive bills for surgery, physical therapy, and medication. You might miss months or even years of work while you recover from your crushing injuries. Your earning capacity may drop if you cannot return to the same job after your injury.

The Structure of Your Body and the Impact of Crushing Injuries

The Structure of Your Body and the Impact of Crushing Injuries

Your body has several layers, with each layer performing a different function. But when your body is crushed, and these layers suffer damage, it can result in a range of symptoms.

The outermost layer includes your skin, a barrier that keeps out pathogens, chemicals, and radiation. When a crushing injury tears your skin, it can expose you to infections.

A layer of connective tissues sits below your skin, supporting blood vessels and nerves. Blood vessels supply oxygenated cells to the rest of your body, while nerves transmit sensory signals to your brain. When blood vessels are crushed, they can no longer transmit oxygen, resulting in dead cells, and when a crushing injury damages your nerves, sensory signals are disrupted.

Your skeleton gives your body its structure, providing a rigid framework for your soft tissues and protecting your organs. For example, your ribcage surrounds the heart and lungs, while the skull encloses the brain. 

Like all cells, your bone cells are alive. Bone cells require a supply of oxygen from the blood to build new bone and repair damaged bone. When these cells are compromised, you risk integral damage to your skeleton and increased risk to your internal organs.

What Are Crushing Injuries?

Crushing injuries happen when pressure gets applied over an area of your body. This definition covers many types of tissue damage but excludes a few types of injuries, including pinches, lacerations, and some impacts. These injuries tend to happen over a small area of your body and do not produce many of the effects of a crushing injury. 

Instead, crushing injuries tend to happen due to the following types of traumatic incidents:

Falling Objects

Some of the most common construction accidents involve crushing injuries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), two of the most common types of fatal construction accidents involve getting struck by or caught between objects.

Falling objects fit both categories. For example, equipment could tip over, crushing your body. Similarly, a trench or earthen wall can collapse and crush you with dirt and other fill material.

This type of accident can also happen outside of a construction site. You could crush your foot in a workplace accident by dropping a computer on it.

Trapped Between Objects

Another of OSHA’s fatal four workplace accidents happens when you get caught between a moving object and another moving object or a fixed object. A common example of this type of accident occurs when a vehicle backs into you and traps you against an object like a wall.

This type of injury can also happen in traffic accidents. Your leg could get trapped and crushed under your motorcycle in a motorcycle accident. Likewise, a car could run over your hand after knocking you to the ground in a pedestrian accident

Caught In Objects

Crushing injuries can also happen when you get caught in something. You could get your hand caught inside the moving parts of a factory machine. But this injury can also happen when something collapses around you. For example, a head-on car accident could push your car’s engine into the firewall, trapping and crushing your foot.

Types of Crushing Injuries

Crushing forces can damage your body in many ways, including the following:


Suffocation happens when your body cannot get oxygen. If you remain trapped after getting crushed, the objects crushing you might prevent you from expanding your lungs. As a result, your body will get starved of oxygen. After just a few minutes without oxygen, you might suffer permanent brain damage. Brain death happens in just ten minutes without oxygen.

Comminuted Fractures

Comminuted fractures happen when a bone breaks into at least three pieces. These fractures, commonly referred to as “shattered bones,” require reconstructive surgery.

During this operation, doctors will rebuild the bone using plates and screws to hold the pieces together. If the doctor discovers missing pieces or pieces damaged beyond repair, they can use bone grafts to fill the gap. After surgery, you might need a year or longer to heal.

Nerve Damage

Your nerves must remain intact to carry sensory and motor signals. Crushing forces can damage your nerves by crushing them or smashing them into your bones and other tissues.

When nerves get torn, cut, or stretched, they might misfire or drop signals. As a result, you might experience the following symptoms:

  • Paralysis
  • Weakness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of sensation
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Pain

Your body does not regrow nerve cells, and doctors cannot heal them. Depending on the injury and the nerves involved, doctors may be able to replace a damaged segment of nerve with a healthy nerve graft.

Vascular Damage

Crushing injuries can damage your blood vessels. Since every tissue in your crushed body requires blood circulation, vascular damage can lead to tissue death. 

Doctors can repair some damage using grafts. But doctors might not be able to repair severe damage. For example, if your blood vessels get mangled due to a crushing injury caused by a dog bite, doctors might not have enough material to repair the torn blood vessels. Instead, they may need to amputate the crushed limb.

Crush Syndrome

Dead cells and the waste products released by them will get carried away in the bloodstream. The kidneys filter them from the blood so they can be released in the urine. However, the massive tissue death caused by crushing injuries can overwhelm the kidneys. With the kidneys unable to keep up, you suffer renal failure.

Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer After a Crushing Injury

You can seek compensation for work-related crushing injuries as well as injuries resulting from someone else’s behavior. You can seek workers’ compensation benefits for crushing injuries that occur during the course and scope of your job. You can pursue an injury claim if you got crushed due to another’s negligent or intentional acts.

Crushing injuries can produce both localized and systemic symptoms. Contact Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers to learn about the financial compensation you can seek for your crushing injury under Pennsylvania law.