Experiencing Chronic Pain After An Accident?
After an accident, you often hope the emergency room can handle the majority of your injuries and that you can quickly start down the path to recovery. Sadly, traumatic injuries like crush injuries or severe fractures can cause further complications down the line. One of the most common types of injuries that manifest after an accident is compartment syndrome, which requires immediate medical assistance and possibly even an amputation to prevent further trauma.
Not only is compartment syndrome extremely painful, but it can come with a high price tag. The surgery on its own will be expensive and you may have to contend with skin grafts, physical therapy, and a disability. If your injuries were caused by a negligent party, then you deserve proper compensation from them and should contact the Seattle compartment syndrome attorneys at Pendergast Law. Our legal team can review your case in a free consultation and advocate for the full costs of your injuries in a personal injury claim. Call us at 888-539-9211 to schedule a free initial consultation.
What Is Compartment Syndrome?
Compartment syndrome is a medical condition that occurs when the pressure within your muscles begins to build up at an alarming rate. Muscles are made of a strong material known as fascia that is not designed to stretch or tear easily. When a limb is injured, such as when a wrist is broken or ankle is crushed, pressure can build up within the muscle and push against the fascia. Because the fascia is not meant to expand, that pressure will have nowhere to go, causing severe pain for the victim.
In order to identify compartment syndrome, you will want to look out for:
- Intense pain that does not subside after an accident or after taking medication
- Numbness, tingling or paralysis
- Sudden bulges across the muscle
- A loss of pigment in the skin
- A burning sensation in the limb
If you experienced any of these symptoms after an accident, immediately see a medical professional. Compartment syndrome, if left untreated, can lead to extensive trauma. Blood may be blocked from reaching your muscles, causing tissue death in the affected limb, which will require an amputation.
Treatment for compartment syndrome involves a surgery called fasciotomy where a surgeon will cut into the affected muscle to relieve the pressure. In severe cases, the wound may not close following the surgery and the surgeon will have to perform a skin graft to ensure it heals properly. Delaying in getting treatment can also force the surgeon to perform an amputation, as the affected limb may be too badly damaged to heal.
What Causes Compartment Syndrome?
Severe trauma is often the cause of compartment syndrome, although there are situations where the condition is the result of chronic injuries caused by extensive exercise. However, the vast majority of cases involve a car accident where the affected limb was crushed. When a body part suffers crush damage, the muscles and tissues often do not receive proper blood circulation. When that circulation is reestablished, the body may pump too much blood into the limb in order to compensate for the sudden drop in pressure, leading to the muscles becoming over-pressurized.
Crush injuries are often accompanied by broken bones and fractures, which may initially cover up the early symptoms of compartment syndrome. Because broken bones can be extremely painful, the victim may not notice that the limb is dealing with any added pressure and will attribute any pain to the bone. That is why it is important to pay attention to the pain in your muscles, as that may uniquely be caused by compartment syndrome.
Pursuing Compensation Following An Accident
While compartment syndrome is often not noticed until after an accident, accident victims can pursue compensation for it from the individual or group who initially caused their injuries. Compartment syndrome is often linked to another medical condition, such as a broken bone or crush injury, and you can pair those costs together during your claim. To do so, you will need to demonstrate that:
- Compartment syndrome was caused by the initial injury.
- The at-fault party is liable for the initial injury.
For the first part, you will simply have to consult your doctor and confirm on your medical records that the initial injury led to compartment syndrome. In turn, for the second part, you will need to prove the at-fault party acted negligently in a personal injury claim. Negligence will vary depending on the accident, however, the majority of the time it is because the at-fault party owed you a duty of care and, through negligence, they broke that duty and caused your injuries.
A duty of care can be a driver’s duty to drive safely or a storeowner’s duty to ensure their business is free of safety hazards. If you can prove that the at-fault party broke that duty, then they would be required to provide compensation for all of your injuries and costs, including compartment syndrome. But, to ensure you receive every dollar owed to you after an accident, you will want to have your case reviewed by a skilled attorney.
Compassionate Representation In Personal Injury Claims
Compartment syndrome comes with a high price tag. You will have to deal with the initial costs of your injury, the fasciotomy, possible skin grafts, any follow-up treatment, time off work to recover, and a great deal of pain. All of this can be included in your personal injury claim.
If you or someone you loved suffered compartment syndrome because of someone else’s negligence, then you should immediately contact the Seattle personal injury attorneys at Pendergast Law. We can work with your medical doctors to demonstrate that the syndrome was caused by the at-fault party’s actions and hold them accountable in a civil case for damages. We have nearly 30 years of experience advocating for injured parties in the state of Washington, so you can trust that you are in the right hands when you bring your case to us. To schedule a free consultation, contact us at 888-539-9211.