New York Attorneys for Crush Injuries from a Car Accident
One of the most potentially devastating injuries after a vehicle accident or industrial accident is known as a crush injury. This little-known injury results when a body part or the entire body of a victim is compressed by a traumatic mechanism, and then suddenly released. Waste products from the damaged cells flood into the rest of the body, and the victim can go into cardiac arrest and die. Other outcomes can include organ failure and loss of limbs.
If you or a loved one have suffered from such a traumatic injury, you need legal assistance in evaluating the causes and liability. Contact the New York car accident attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057 to learn more and have your case reviewed.
What Is a Crush Injury?
A crush injury happens when an extreme crushing force compresses part of the body, cutting off blood flow to the area. The tissues in that area are damaged, and the parts of the body below the compressed area lose their blood supply. The compressive force acts as a huge tourniquet, destroying the tissue directly beneath it, and also indirectly killing the limbs and organs beyond it by starving them of blood and oxygen.
For instance, if you are in a vehicle that rolls over, and you are partially ejected from the car, your leg could be caught under the body of the car. There would be damage to your leg at the point of contact with the car, but from that point down you would experience a crush injury as those tissues began to die from lack of blood flow.
Once the crushing force is relieved, when the victim is extricated from the wreck or collapse, the waste products from the damaged cells and the oxygen-deprived organs flow back into the liver and kidneys, at a rate much higher than the kidneys can handle. This leads to a phenomenon called “crush syndrome,” or in medical terms “rhabdomyolysis.”
Crush syndrome is the second leading cause of death in earthquakes after direct trauma from collapse and is implicated in deaths from multi-vehicle collisions and industrial accidents because of the extended time victims spend pinned in the wreckage.
Less Serious Outcomes of Crush Injuries
Less serious crush injuries can lead to loss of limbs and organ function. The most frequent outcomes of crush injuries are kidney damage and nerve damage. Infection, blood clots, and severe scarring can also happen.
- Nerve damage can occur in a very short period when the nerves are squeezed between two hard objects. As you know if you’ve slammed your finger in a car door, the pain is immediate, but then fades quickly. Once crushed, nerves are very slow to heal, if they ever do.
- The sudden flow of potassium, phosphorus, and other waste products can lead to kidney damage and renal failure. This damage may not become apparent for several hours or days after a victim is removed from a car crash or collapse, and it has become known as the “smiling death.”
- Blood clots, especially in the lower extremities, are common in the hours or days after a crush injury. This happens because of bleeding into the tissues that is confused with bruising. The damage caused by a crushing injury is more serious than a simple bruise.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a vehicle accident where there was any type of crush injury, it is imperative that you be assessed by a doctor, even if you believe you feel fine. The delay in treating the injury can be lethal.
When to Seek Legal Assistance
Any time you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should consider retaining an attorney. Determining fault in an accident is essential to pursue compensation for your injury and obtain full and fair recompense for your expenses and other losses.
New York follows a pure comparative negligence rule. This means that parties can recover damages, or compensation, in proportion to their degree of fault in an accident. If you are held to be 30 percent responsible for your accident, you can still recover 70 percent of your compensable damages from the other party.
This is especially important when talking about injuries as devastating as crush injuries and crush syndrome. The whole-body trauma you may suffer when you sustain a crushing injury is intense. Kidney failure may require years of dialysis or a transplant. Nerve damage can lead to a lifetime of physical therapy.
What You Will Need
To help your attorney assess a potential crush injury, you will need the police report and photographs of the scene, and also witness statements regarding the extrication. Crush injuries and crush syndrome result as much from improper removal from the wreckage as they do from the collision itself, so you may need evidence that the extraction was mishandled.
You may also have a claim against the fire department or rescue crew who removed you from the wreck if it was improperly done. Your attorney will review the reports to see if this is possible and advise you of the steps necessary to make a claim against the government agency. As far as the first responders are concerned, saving your life will always take precedence over saving your leg.
What We Can Do For You
At Hach & Rose, LLP, we will listen to your case carefully and give you the best advice we can regarding how to proceed. Remember that there is a statute of limitations to file your case, and the longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to successfully negotiate with the insurance company and other parties. If you allow the statutory time limit to expire before you file a lawsuit, the court will likely dismiss your case and you will lose your opportunity to pursue compensation through the court system.
Because the potential for long-term disability is so great in a crushing injury, as are the chances are that you or a loved one were hospitalized immediately after the accident, you should not wait to call us. We can get your claim or case filed right away, and start on the work of discovery and negotiation with the insurers and other attorneys.
Call the New York car accident attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057 today for a confidential consultation. Let us help you get the compensation you will need to fully recover from your injuries.