An Expert Witness’s Role In Crush Injury Claims

Our experts can provide evidence in personal injury cases involving crush injuries.

In late October 2023, a waste and recycling company was fined £260,000 after a worker suffered life-changing crush injuries whilst carrying out maintenance work. The worker had entered the machinery to mend the mesh of the hopper. Unfortunately, the machine had not been properly disconnected from all energy sources prior to the repair task. Inadvertently switched on, it resulted in the worker being hurled onto the conveyor, where he became trapped against a metal bridge.

As a consequence, the worker sustained numerous injuries, necessitating the insertion of 23 screws and two plates in his body. Since the incident, he has been unable to resume work.

The above case highlights the severe consequences of crush injuries. When it comes to personal injury claims, expert witness reports from Surgery Experts Orthopaedic Surgeons, General Practitioners, Psychologists, Neurological Experts, and Pain Experts may be required by either side. This is due to the complex range of injuries an accident involving the crushing of part or all of a human body can cause.

What type of injuries can occur through crushing?

Crush injuries occur when external forces apply intense pressure or force on a body part, leading to tissue damage and potential complications. They can result from workplace accidents, motor vehicle accidents, natural disasters (especially earthquakes), and even high impact sporting mishaps.

Types of crush injuries include:

Soft Tissue Crush Injuries

Soft tissue crush injuries involve damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. The compression force can lead to swelling, bruising, and pain in the affected area. If the crushing is severe or prolonged, the compromised blood supply may result in necrosis, requiring surgical intervention to remove dead tissue.

Bone Crush Injuries

Bones are susceptible to crush injuries, particularly in high-impact accidents like motor vehicle accidents or falls from significant heights. The force applied can lead to fractures, splintering, or complete shattering of bones.

Compartment Syndrome

Crush injuries may cause increased pressure within a muscle compartment, leading to compartment syndrome. This condition can impede blood flow and cause nerve damage. Symptoms include severe pain, swelling, and diminished function. Urgent medical intervention, often involving surgical decompression, is necessary to alleviate the pressure and prevent long-term complications.

Crush Syndrome

Crush syndrome occurs when a prolonged crush injury results in the release of toxins from damaged muscle tissue into the bloodstream. The sudden release of myoglobin, a muscle protein, can overwhelm the kidneys, leading to renal failure.

Internal Organ Crush Injuries

High-impact accidents may lead to the compression of internal organs, causing damage that is not immediately apparent. Abdominal or thoracic crush injuries can result in internal bleeding, organ perforation, or other life-threatening conditions. Imaging studies, such as CT scans, are often required to assess and diagnose these injuries accurately.

Crush Injury to Extremities

Limbs are frequently affected in crush injuries, and the severity can range from minor contusions to severe vascular and nerve damage. Compromised blood supply may necessitate surgical intervention to restore circulation and prevent complications like gangrene.

Neurological Crush Injuries

Crush injuries affecting the head or spine can result in neurological complications. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, or nerve compression may occur, leading to a range of symptoms from headaches and dizziness to paralysis.

What is the role of an expert witness in crush injury compensation claims?

In personal injury claims involving crush injuries, expert witnesses play a crucial role in providing specialised knowledge and insight to assist the court in understanding the complexities of these cases. Experts provide an authoritative and unbiased evaluation of the injuries, the circumstances surrounding the incident, and the patient’s long-term prognosis.

Expert witnesses are essential for:

  • Analysing the medical aspects of the injuries, including the extent of soft tissue damage, fractures, internal injuries, and the potential for long-term complications.
  • Establishing a causation link between the incident and the crush injuries sustained by the Claimant.
  • Assessing the long-term impact on the Claimant’s future and providing an expert opinion regarding ongoing medical needs, rehabilitation requirements, and the potential for future surgeries or treatments. Their report helps calculate the estimated costs associated with the Claimant’s future care and support needs.
  • Evaluating the rehabilitation process, particularly the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs, the need for assistive devices, and the overall prospects for the Claimant’s recovery.
  • In terms of quantum, calculating medical expenses, lost wages, and potential future earnings associated with the recovery and prognosis of the Claimant’s crush injuries.
  • Presenting complex medical and technical information in a way that is accessible to the Court.

Choosing the right Crush Injury Expert Witness

We have highly experienced Orthopaedic Surgeons, General Practitioners, Psychologists, Neurological Experts, Pain Experts and Surgery Experts who can provide expert evidence in personal injury cases involving crush injuries. If you want to learn more about how our expert witnesses can assist you, please call us on 01865 587865, email office@expertcourtreports.co.uk, or request a call by completing our online form. We will arrange a time for you to speak to the relevant Expert Witness who will listen to the case details and advise the best way forward.