Crush Injuries From Maryland Car Crashes: How They Happen and Why They Can Be So Dangerous

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on March 21, 2024 and updated on April 10, 2024.

damaged cars after serious accidentDid your arm, leg, torso or another body part get crushed in a car crash?

If so, you need to go to the hospital without delay. Crush injuries need immediate treatment to help prevent dangerous complications that could result in cardiac arrest or organ failure.

After doctors stabilize your injuries, consider reaching out to an experienced lawyer. Medical treatment for crush injuries is not going to be cheap, especially since these injuries often have an extended recovery period. A Maryland auto accident lawyer can negotiate your settlement with the insurance company on your behalf. Our law firm is prepared to seek full compensation for the medical care and other damages caused by the at-fault party’s negligence.

At The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl, there are no upfront costs or legal obligations. We do not get paid unless our clients receive compensation. Review our case results page to see how we have helped other crash victims in Maryland.

Call to schedule a free legal consultation. Phone: 410-297-0271.

What Are Crush Injuries?

Crush injuries are caused by excessive force or pressure on a body part. The affected body part is often compressed for a prolonged period, damaging blood vessels, muscles and other soft tissues, and potentially internal organs. Some victims may have additional injuries to deal with, such as multiple severe fractures.

The initial sudden pressure causes serious damage, often restricting blood flow to the area as well. This sudden lack of blood quickly destroys cells and triggers chemical reactions that could put the victim’s life at risk.

It is important to note that the degree of crush injuries vary. Some people may only have minor bruising or lacerations.

However, you should never assume a crush injury is minor. You need to get medical attention right away to diagnose whether you may have potentially serious complications.

Numerous body parts could get crushed during a Maryland car crash:

  • Arms
  • Legs (thighs or below the knees)
  • Feet
  • Toes
  • Fingers
  • Torso, including your chest or abdomen
  • Head
  • Knees

How Crash Victims Could Suffer Crush Injuries

Crush injuries are more likely to happen in severe collisions, especially collisions that occur at high speed or involve vehicles of varying sizes. High-speed, multi-vehicle crashes often cause catastrophic damage to the vehicles involved, which can trap victims inside. If this happens, the prolonged pressure on a victim’s body could put his or her life at risk.

For example, a head-on or side impact collision may cause severe damage to the frame of your vehicle. Body parts may get pinned in the wreckage, exerting extreme pressure on the victims. Your legs could get pinned under the dashboard or your torso could get pinned between your seat and the crumpled car door.

Rollover collisions can also cause serious damage to your vehicle, pinning occupants in uncomfortable positions, resulting in life-threatening crush injuries.

Pedestrians who get hit by cars could get pinned between vehicles or between a vehicle and fixed object, like a guardrail, tree or utility pole.

In car crashes, these injuries often result from parts of the vehicle collapsing onto the occupants. Crush injuries can vary in severity from minor bruises and lacerations to serious, even life-threatening conditions, involving broken bones, organ damage, and in severe cases, crush syndrome.

Recovering Compensation for a Car Crash Crush Injury

If the collision that caused your crush injury was caused by a negligent driver, you may be able to seek compensation from his or her insurance. Your claim could include various damages you suffered, such as:

  • Medical expenses: You can seek compensation for emergency care after the crash and ongoing treatment and rehabilitation. Medical recovery from a crush injury can be particularly expensive, so it is vital you work with an experienced lawyer. Insurance companies try to lowball victims who seek compensation on their own.
  • Lost wages: You may be unable to work for days, weeks or months after your injury. Lost wages refer to the wages you lost because you were physically unable to work or missed work because you needed medical care.
  • Pain and suffering: This is compensation for the physical and emotional toll of your crush injury.

In Maryland, crash victims have the burden of proof in an injury claim. That means they must provide evidence of the other driver’s negligence. You also cannot be even one percent at fault. You must prove the other driver is 100 percent to blame.

Given these challenges, hiring an experienced lawyer is a critical step. The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl has decades of experience recovering compensation for those injured by negligent drivers.

What Happens When Crash Victims’ Body Parts Get Crushed?

It depends on the amount of force and where it is applied. Sometimes the pressure breaks or shatters bones. The pressure can damage muscle tissue, blood vessels, nerves and possibly internal organs. If the pressure is significant enough, it may result in other serious side effects and complications as well, like crush syndrome.

What Is Crush Syndrome?

Crush syndrome is what happens when cells die because tissues are being crushed. This can happen quickly, with cells beginning to die off after just one hour. Cell death triggers the body to release toxins into your bloodstream.

If you do not get treatment right away, you could go into cardiac arrest. You could also suffer kidney failure, as the body cannot handle the restoration of blood flow to your muscles.

Other Side Effects of Crush Injuries

Crush injuries can also result in the following conditions that need to be treated immediately:

Hypovolemic Shock

Your body goes into hypovolemic shock if you suddenly lose more than 15 percent of your blood. If this happens, multiple organs may fail or shut down because they are not receiving enough blood.


Cell death causes the release of an excess of potassium, which could cause you to suffer a heart attack.

Limb Ischemia

If blood flow to a limb is severely restricted or completely cut off, the limb may suffer catastrophic damage. The reduced blood flow increases the risk of an infection, which is why doctors may end up needing to amputate the limb.

Compartment Syndrome

Increased pressure can cause the affected body part to go numb or become paralyzed. Intense pressure on your chest could slow your heart rate.

Crash victims should take note of the following symptoms, as they may indicate a severe crush injury:

  • Numbness in your arms or legs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Discoloration of the skin from severe bruising
  • Stomach pain and nausea
  • Burning sensation in your muscles
  • Pain when you make small movements
  • Severe bleeding

When EMTs arrive at the scene, they will look for other signs of a serious crush injury, such as:

  • Severe fractures
  • Low blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Signs of internal bleeding
  • Change in the victim’s skin tone

Medical Care for a Crush Injury

When EMTS arrive, they may start IV therapy right away to help with rehydration and replenishing electrolytes. Other treatments that may be used for crush injuries include:

  • Hemodialysis
  • Mannitol therapy
  • Forced alkaline diuresis

Doctors need to carefully monitor crush injury victims for signs of serious complications, like cardiac arrhythmia or organ failure. They also need to watch for signs of an infection.

Victims may need physical therapy to help regain mobility and function in the affected area.

Contact The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl Today

Calling a lawyer early in the process can make it easier to preserve important evidence and accurately document injuries. Early intervention may even speed up the legal process, allowing victims to receive compensation sooner than they otherwise would.

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl are committed to providing compassionate, competent, and comprehensive legal support after an auto accident. We have obtained millions for crash victims, and we work on contingency, which means there are no upfront costs for you to pay.

Call today to schedule a free, initial legal consultation. Phone: 410-297-0271.