From falling cargo to becoming entangled in machinery, overseas workers are at overwhelming risk of suffering crush injuries. Accidents may involve anything from jammed fingers or twisted ankles to compete compression of the body or loss of one or more limbs. It is very rare for a worker who has suffered a crush injury to experience no long-term effects—and depending on the extent of the injury, a worker may be unable to earn a living for a year or more.
Long-Term Complications of Compression and Crush Injuries
While there are endless ways a worker could suffer a crush injury overseas, the most common causes of injuries involve working near heavy machinery. An employee may become wedged between objects (such as a crate and cargo hanging from a crane), get an arm or a foot caught in equipment or between objects, or be caught between reversing machinery and a wall.
Victims of crush injuries are at risk of life-threatening complications such as:
DBA workers may undergo amputation after a crush injury due to a condition known as compartment syndrome. When an arm or leg is compressed too tightly, pressure is placed on the connective tissues inside the limb (fascia). As the limb swells, blood cannot reach the different muscle groups between the fascia (compartments). Compartment syndrome is extremely painful and can cause muscle death in minutes, and often requires amputation of the affected limb.
The majority of crush injuries affect the feet, legs, and fingers, making it difficult for an overseas contractor to go back to work. Even after the original injury has healed, a worker can suffer nerve damage, muscle tissue death, weakness from bone fractures, arthritis, and loss of feeling in the affected area. Many crush injury victims suffer from a chronic pain condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a permanent affliction with no known cure.
The most common reason crush injuries prove fatal is a lack of immediate medical attention, which is common in many Defense Base Act workplaces. A crushed, torn, or severed limb can cause severe bleeding, compound fractures, internal injuries, brain and lung damage, and other deadly complications.
If you suffered a crush injury while working overseas, we can help you obtain compensation under the Defense Base Act. Please feel free to use our website to get more information on how to proceed with your claim, or read our free book, DBA Resource Guide.