Crush injuries occur whenever force or pressure is put on a body part. This can cause severe damage to the muscles, nerves, bones, internal organs and other tissues and can lead to life-changing consequences, such as the amputation of the affected area.
The most common types of crush injuries occur in road traffic accidents and accidents at work and usually affect the fingers, hands, legs or torso. If someone else caused your accident by acting negligently, you might be eligible to make a crush injury claim.
The amount you could claim depends on the severity of your injury and any financial losses and expenses you incurred. As a general rule, you must begin a crush injury compensation claim within three years of your accident, but there are some exceptions to the time limit, which are explained below.
If you want to find out if you have a valid claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser. If your case has merit, you will be offered a no win no fee service, so you will not lose a single penny if your claim is unsuccessful.
What is a crush injury?
A crush injury refers to trauma that causes compression of extremities or other body parts, leading to fractures, muscle swelling, nerve injuries and other soft tissue damage. Common causes include industrial accidents, road traffic accidents, building collapses and natural disasters.
Crush injuries can affect any part of the body and range from minor to very severe or life-threatening trauma. They can result in bleeding, bruising, swelling, nerve damage or organ injury and can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. Medical complications arising from severe crush injuries include:
Crush syndrome is a medical condition characterised by major shock and kidney failure after a crush injury to skeletal muscles. The crushing pressure leads to a lack of oxygen in the cells and a build-up of lactic acid and other toxins. Once the crushing force is released, these can travel into the bloodstream and cause acute kidney damage, which can sometimes be fatal.
This is a common complication of crush injuries where the pressure within a certain group of muscles increases, which may restrict the blood flow to the area and damage the nerves and muscle tissue. Symptoms of compartment syndrome include severe pain, numbness, poor pulses, and decreased ability to move, which may result in irreversible muscle cell death.
Degloving is a type of avulsion injury where the top layers of the skin are forcefully separated from the muscles underneath. It can affect any part of the body and can be open, exposing muscle, bone or connective tissue, or closed where the only visible symptom is a bruise. Degloving requires immediate medical intervention, or it may otherwise lead to severe tissue death and fatality.
Also called low-volume shock, it is triggered by significant internal or external bleeding and can lead to organ damage and failure. It typically occurs in the first few hours of a crush injury and can also be due to myocardial depression following the release of intracellular electrolytes. Recognising and treating the cause of shock is essential to prevent tissue ischemia and cell death.
Hyperkalaemia and electrolyte imbalance
The disruption of cell membranes in severe crush injuries can result in a significant release of potassium, a largely intracellular element, which can cause cardiac arrest. The injured tissue may also accumulate large amounts of plasma calcium, which could disrupt the blood’s ability to coagulate and lead to shock.
Severe crush injuries to the chest can lead to traumatic asphyxia due to the significant increase in thoracic pressure. Typical signs and symptoms include oedema, subconjunctival haemorrhage, and petechial eruptions on the face, neck, and torso above the injury site. It typically occurs within a few minutes of the traumatic occurrence and is often seen in trampling due to overcrowded events.
The treatment for crush injuries depends on how severe the damage is. While minor injuries that only cause some bruising or swelling may heal on their own, a severe accident will likely require immediate hospitalisation, surgery and reconstructive procedures.
If you suffered a crush injury due to the negligence of another party, you might be eligible to make a crush injury claim. You could recover damages for your pain, suffering and all the related financial losses and expenses you incurred.
Can I make a crush injury claim?
A free consultation with a legal adviser is the easiest way to find out if you could claim crush injury compensation. They will ask you a few questions about how your accident occurred and how it affected your life to determine whether:
- Your accident was due to the negligence of another person or entity who owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty by acting negligently
- You suffered a crush injury at work or in another place as a result of this breach within the last three years
You do not have to worry about proving a duty of care. Your solicitor will refer to the relevant legislation to show that the other side failed to fulfil their responsibilities or did something they should not have done, causing your accident.
Depending on the circumstances, you may also be able to make a crush injury claim on behalf of a loved one who cannot claim by themselves. To do this, you must file an application with the court to become their litigation friend, stating that:
- You can fairly and competently conduct legal proceedings
- You do not have any conflict of interest with the victim
As a general rule, you should also be eligible for crush injury compensation even if you were partially to blame for your accident. As long as the court rules that you held less than 50% of the blame, you could still receive a reduced compensation award that reflects your part of the fault.
What are the leading causes of crush injuries?
Crush injuries could be the result of many different types of accidents in which a body part gets compressed between two objects. As a general rule, if someone else caused the accident by acting negligently, you should be eligible to make a crush injury compensation claim.
The most common causes of crush injuries include:
Accidents at work
Most crush injuries happen in the workplace; being trapped by something collapsing or overturning is the fourth most common cause of fatal injuries at work. Employers must follow the strict health and safety guidelines dictated by legislation to prevent accidents among employees. If you were injured because your employer breached their duty of care towards you, you might be entitled to take legal action. The most common accidents leading to a crush injury at work claim include the following:
- Building site accidents
- Machinery accidents
- Forklift truck accidents
- Farm accidents
- Falls from a height
- Factory accidents
Road traffic accidents
Unfortunately, road accidents are common and can sometimes lead to severe injuries and permanent disability. If a vehicle is badly crumpled during a collision, a limb or another part of your body could get compressed and suffer a crush injury. All types of road users are at risk of crush injuries, including car drivers, pedestrians, motorbike riders and cyclists.
Trampling due to overcrowding
The last thing you expect when attending a social or public event is for it to be unsafe. Crowds are to be expected when attending a concert, sporting event or shopping sale, but they should not pose a threat when properly managed and controlled. If the organiser of an event fails to protect your health and safety, you might be entitled to crush injury compensation.
Terrorist attacks, violent assaults and other interpersonal crimes can also be a cause of severe crush injuries. In the case of violent crimes, the culprit is often unidentified or does not have the means to pay compensation to victims. However, you could still claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) within two years of the incident and after filing a police report.
Building collapses can lead to catastrophic crush injuries. Anyone who builds, designs, maintains or provides materials for the construction of buildings is responsible for keeping occupants and other members of the public safe. Several entities could be liable in a crush injury claim following a building collapse, including the architects, property owners, material manufacturers or contractors.
Horse riding and other sports accidents can also cause crush injuries. Organisations that provide sports training of any kind or organise sporting events are responsible for ensuring that people understand the risks and are provided with appropriate equipment and facilities. You might be eligible for compensation if you suffered a crush injury due to negligence.
Crush injuries in direct combat or during military training can have severe consequences, such as amputations, organ damage and even death. As Ministry of Defence employees, military personnel are entitled to a safe working environment and reasonable safety precautions. Anyone injured in the line of duty could claim crush injury compensation through the AFCS, regardless of liability disputes.
No matter what accident you had, if you feel that it was due to someone else’s negligence, you should contact a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. They will let you know if you can make a crush injury claim and guide you through the claiming process.
How do I make a crush injury claim?
If you believe your crush injury was due to someone else’s negligence, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. A personal injury solicitor will ask some basic questions about your circumstances and how the events unfolded to determine whether you could claim crush injury compensation.
If your claim is valid, your solicitor will further investigate your case and gather relevant evidence to support it. Depending on your circumstances, this could include:
- Photographs of the accident scene, capturing the exact cause of your crush injury before anything is moved, repaired or replaced;
- Pictures of your injuries and damage to your personal property;
- Medical records detailing the type and extent of your injuries, the treatments received and recovery prospects;
- A medical report from an independent professional stating the long-term or permanent effects of your injuries;
- Witness statements from co-workers if you suffered a crush injury at work; if you were injured in another setting, try to get the names and contact details of anyone who saw how the events unfolded;
- Your detailed notes about what you were doing before the incident, what you think caused it and how it affected your life;
- Financial records such as receipts, bank statements, and pay slips as proof of the economic losses and expenses you incurred because of your injuries.
After your crush injury compensation claim is ready, your solicitor will contact the person or entity you hold responsible for your accident and inform them of your intention to take legal action. The defendant has three months to investigate your allegations of negligence and provide you with a response.
If they admit liability, you can begin negotiating your crush injury compensation. If they deny any responsibility for your accident, you may have to issue court proceedings and argue your case before a judge.
If your claim is successful, you will be awarded compensation minus solicitor fees and any other expenses you may need to cover. Usually, the legal fees are paid by the defendant’s insurer, so your expenses will be minimal.
How much is a crush injury compensation claim worth?
There is no fixed crush injury compensation award; the amount you could receive depends on several factors, such as:
- The extent and severity of your injury
- The circumstances of your accident
- Whether you were partially responsible for your accident
- The long-term effects of your injuries
- The financial losses and expenses you incurred
At the beginning of your crush injury claim, your solicitor will consider all you have been through to ensure you are fully compensated. They will contact the other side afterwards and negotiate the best settlement on your behalf.
In every personal injury claim, you could receive two types of damages:
Special damages are awarded for the economic impact your injury has had and include things such as:
- The cost of hospitalisation and medical treatments
- Counselling and rehabilitation
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- The cost of medical aids such as prostheses
- Care and assistance costs, even if provided by friends or family
- Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
General damages are awarded for the physical injury and how it affected your life. This takes into account the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and mental distress
- Psychological trauma
- Loss of prospects and enjoyment of life
- Reduced quality of life and life expectancy
- The impact on your hobbies and social events
- Loss of consortium and companionship
The compensation for general damages is awarded according to the guidelines published yearly by the Judicial College. According to their guidelines, you could receive the following:
- Up to £100,000 for internal organ damage
- £3,150 to £104,370 for a pelvis or hip injury
- £40,410 to £85,150 for moderate brain injuries requiring little dependency on others
- £37,960 to £59,860 for severe wrist injuries leading to complete loss of function
- £6,290 to £10,180 for moderate shoulder injuries
- £10,380 to £31,350 for amputation of one or more fingers
- £85,4700 to £151,070 for severe back injuries with spinal damage and long-term disability
- £11,730 to £47,830 for amputation of one or all toes
- £191,950 to £240,590 for severe crush injuries causing the loss of one or both legs above the knee
- £8,180 to £23,150 for moderate PTSD with long-lasting symptoms that are not disabling
To find out more about your compensation prospects or start a crush injury claim, you can talk to a legal adviser by calling free on 0800 678 1410. Or, if you would prefer to receive a call back, please enter your details into our online claim form.
Could I lose my job if I claim for a crush injury at work?
Your employer has a duty of care toward you to take all reasonable measures to protect your health and safety in the workplace. Their responsibilities are set out by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other legislation and include:
- Carry out regular risk assessments to identify the hazards that may cause a crush injury
- Provide a safe and secure environment for workers
- Carry out regular inspections and maintenance of equipment and machinery
- Take all reasonable measures to prevent falls from a height
- Provide appropriate training and instructions to employees
- Make sure workers have access to adequate personal protective equipment
If you suffered a crush injury at work due to your employer’s negligence, you are entitled to claim compensation for your pain and suffering. Under the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969, employers are legally required to take out insurance against liability for personal injuries to employees.
If you make a successful crush injury claim, your employer’s insurer will pay your compensation, so your employer will not be left out of pocket. Nonetheless, you may worry that taking legal action might cost you your job, or your wages might suffer.
According to unfair dismissal laws, it would be illegal for your employer to sack or discipline you for pursuing compensation for your crush injury at work. If your claim had any repercussions on your job, you might be able to take further action and file a claim for unfair or constructive dismissal.
If your employer has failed to implement the required health and safety measures and you suffered a crush injury, you are entitled to claim without the fear of being sacked. Your solicitor will explain everything to you and provide advice and support at every step along the way.
How long do I have to make a crush injury compensation claim?
As a general rule, you have three years to start a crush injury compensation claim starting from the date of your accident or the date of your diagnosis. This is known as the claim limitation date, after which your case becomes statute-barred, and you can no longer take legal action.
There is a formal legal process your solicitor will follow to prepare your claim, which can take several months. Thus, they will usually not accept a case with less than six months left to the limitation date. For this reason, it is best to contact a solicitor as soon as possible after your injury.
There are several exceptions to the three-year time limit to start a crush injury claim:
- If the victim is a child, a parent, guardian or another litigation friend could claim on their behalf at any time. Once the child turns 18, they have another three years to start legal proceedings if no one has claimed on their behalf.
- If the victim has also suffered a severe brain injury or suffers from another pre-existing condition that impairs their mental capacity, the time limit to claim is suspended.
- If you lost a loved one due to a severe crush injury at work or in another accident, you could claim compensation within three years from the date of death.
- Victims of crush injuries caused by a terrorist attack or another violent crime could make a CICA claim within two years after the incident and after reporting it to the police.
- If the accident happened abroad, the time limit to claim can vary considerably from country to country and may be much shorter than three years.
- Military personnel who suffered a crush injury in the line of duty could claim compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme within seven years of their accident.
- If you were injured due to a defective product, you have three years to claim from the date the fault was discovered. However, you cannot take legal action after more than ten years after the product was first put into circulation.
Can I make a crush injury claim using no win no fee?
If you suffered a crush injury in an accident that you believe was due to someone else’s negligence, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you have a valid claim for crush injury compensation, your solicitor will likely offer you a no win no fee service, which means that:
- You do not have to pay them any upfront fees for their services;
- You get free advice and support throughout the claiming process;
- Your solicitor will contact the other side and negotiate your settlement while you can focus on recovery;
- If your claim is unsuccessful, you do not have to pay anything to your solicitor;
- If you receive compensation for your crush injury claim, your solicitor will deduct up to 25% of your award as a success fee to compensate for the risk they took by offering you a conditional fee agreement.
As part of your no win no fee agreement, your solicitor will also take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy in your name at the beginning of the claims process. The ATE policy is a legal expenses insurance that covers all your costs and disbursements if your case fails, including:
- Court and counsel fees
- The cost of printing and copying
- Travel expenses
- Expert witness fees
- The cost of paralegal and other staff time
- Police and medical reports
- The defendant’s solicitor fees
The ATE is free and self-insuring if your personal injury claim fails. You only have to pay for the insurance policy if your case is successful, and the premium will come out of the compensation awarded.
If you feel you may be entitled to crush injury compensation, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back for a free consultation with a legal adviser. They will let you know if you can claim on a no win no fee basis and answer any questions you may have.