Crush Injuries

Crush injuries are a terrible consequence of many railroad accidents. When a railroad worker is crushed by a heavy object (such as falling machinery, part of a building or train, or other structures), the physical damage can be extremely serious. The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) protects the legal rights of railroad workers who have had the misfortune of suffering a crush injury due to negligence.

If you or a loved one has suffered any type of railroad worker injury, contact a FELA lawyer today.

What Exactly Is a Crush Injury?

When one or more of a person's body parts are subjected to a high degree of weight, pressure, or force, a crush injury is likely. The body part may be as small as a finger or as large as a limb or the lower or upper body, or the entire body. No parts of the human body can withstand being severely crushed; the blood vessels, nerves, muscles, fascia and bones are all vulnerable. Moreover, in some crush injury scenarios, the victim is pinned under the object for a long period of time, exacerbating the damage.

The specific types of physical damage related to crush injuries are:

  • bleeding
  • bone fractures
  • bruising
  • compartment syndrome (a serious complication involving severe muscle, tissue, nerve and blood vessel damage)
  • lacerations (open wound)
  • nerve injuries
  • secondary infections

Symptoms of Crush Injuries

Although it's usually known when a crush injury occurs, in some cases the symptoms of a crush injury appear fairly long after the crushing incident happened. Such symptoms include:

  • weakness
  • severe pain that gets worse, especially when the affected body part is moved
  • paleness of skin
  • swollen and shiny skin
  • decreased sensation
  • hyperkalemia: dangerously high levels of potassium in the blood
  • paralysis
  • paresthesia (tingling, "pins and needles" feeling), numbness
  • myoglobinuria: the patient's urine is dark red or brown

The hallmark symptom of compartment syndrome is severe pain that doesn't lessen with the use of pain medication.

Treatment for Crush Injuries

The treatment modalities for crush injuries include both emergency measures and later treatments aimed at saving the crushed body part(s) and restoring function. The treatment options depend on the specific crush injury, and may include:

  • amputation
  • fasciotomy
  • hyperbaric oxygen
  • hyperkalemia treatment
  • intravenous fluids
  • intravenous mannitol
  • use of a pneumatic anti-shock garment (PASG)
  • wound care

Talk with a FELA Attorney about Crush Injuries

If you or your family member suffered a crush injury while working for a railroad, talk with a FELA lawyer today about legal options.

Learn more about other types of railroad injuries and dangers: