In a work environment that involves heavy equipment or complicated machinery, crush injuries are one of the many hazards to employees.
A crush injury occurs when a body part, usually a hand or an arm, is compressed to the point where blood flow is compromised. This will cause a serious and sometimes fatal injury to the worker. If you have suffered a crush injury in the scope of your employment contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at our law office. Rehabilitation will most likely be needed in order for you to gain full use of the extremity again. An attorney will make sure that ongoing treatment is a part of your compensation package.
How Crush Injuries Happen
A crush injury can occur from a variety of different types of workplace accidents. You may be hit by a heavy falling object that pins you to the ground. You can also be crushed between two objects, such as vehicles or the wall and a heavy box. Machinery can also cause a crush injury, either by having a limb caught inside or by its falling over onto you. If an employee is unable to be freed in time the extremity may need to be amputated. If the object is crushing the chest, serious injury could affect the heart and lungs or even cause death. The second that blood flow stops to an area of the body, the cells inside the muscles begin to die.
An injury from a crush accident can be so severe that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recently penalized a factory for safety violations. They decided to investigate this plant after a machine turned on during set up, crushing a workers hand and wrist. A crush injury damages the skin tissue, then the nerves and the muscles of the patient. This could result in a limb needing to be amputated. OSHA’s thorough inspection of this plant was made in accordance with their emphasis program on amputations. They are striving to prevent disabling injuries to workers in every field. At this factory they came across 12 serious violations and 3 repeat violations.
How severe a crush injury is depends on the location, the actual force of the crush and how long the worker was left waiting until his body part was able to be freed. Even after the body part is removed from the immediate threat, the body’s muscles are still being affected by the dying cells. At first appearance the injury may not seem catastrophic, but it will begin to deteriorate quickly.
A Missouri department store conceded to paying lifetime benefits to an employee after an accident in their store crushed his hand and shoulder. Proving the employers negligence is never an issue with workers compensation, as it is a no-fault insurance. What the insurance adjustors will try and argue is usually the extent of the injury and whether or not an employee can return to work.
St. Louis Workers Compensation Attorney
If you have recently been in an accident at work and suffered a crush injury, consult with a workers compensation attorney before accepting any offers from your employer. If ongoing therapy will be necessary in order for you to regain full use, an attorney will help ensure that that medical care is part of the settlement.
At the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann we have over 20 years of experience fighting for the rights of injured Missouri workers. Each case is different and we treat them as such, giving personalized attention to each case. To speak with a Missouri workers compensation attorney at our law office, call (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
photo credit: ChazWags