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What are crush injuries?

Crush injuries happen when there's a sudden impact to your body or if part of your body is squeezed hard between two solid objects. 

Unfortunately, crush injuries can be incredibly painful and can cause serious damage to your bones, joints, ligaments and internal organs. They can also take a long time to heal. This can mean time off work and lost income, ongoing treatment and possibly even specialist long-term care.

Crush injuries can affect pretty much any part of your body and range from m­­inor to very serious and worse. For example, serious head or brain injuries can cause severe and lasting trauma, as can those to the torso. Crush injuries to the arms. hands, legs or feet can cause lasting damage and sometimes lead to amputation in extreme cases.

If your injury was someone else's fault, we know how frustrating it can feel - your injury may have affected you physically and emotionally, as well as leaving you worried about the future. To us, this feels wrong and that's why we're committed to helping you make it right.

With one free call to us on , we can tell you if we think you may be eligible to make a crush injury compensation claim. Alternatively, book a free, no obligation call back and we'll make contact at a time that suits you.

If we think you have grounds and would like to proceed, we'll put you in contact with one of our specialist no win no fee solicitors. We can usually do this on the same call if that suits you so that you start getting the support you need as soon as possible.


Did you know?

Workspaces can be dangerous places. Sadly, the Health and Safety Executive recorded 111 workplace fatalities for the year 2019/20. After falling from height and being struck by a moving vehicle or object, the next most common cause was severe crush injuries from a heavy item or structure overturning or collapsing. 

Source: Health and Safety Executive, Fatal Injuries in Great Britain, 2021.

What are the common causes of crush injuries?

Crush injuries can occur in any high impact situation where your body is suddenly exposed to a significant blow, high pressure or heavy weight. 

Crush injuries caused by road traffic accidents

Any road traffic accident can be terrifying - in some severe cases, they can cause permanent disability.

Road accident crush injuries can happen if the body of the vehicle is badly crumpled during the collision. Vehicle safety systems have evolved hugely in the last few decades, able to absorb significant impacts while protecting the occupants. In serious accidents however, even the best protection systems can be overwhelmed by the simple physics of a bad crash, resulting in crush injuries to the body, skull, brain or limbs. 

It's not just drivers and passengers, all types of road users are at risk of crush injuries. For example, cyclists or pedestrians can become trapped between vehicles or pinned to the road. 

If your accident was caused by someone else's unsafe or reckless driving, then we may be able to help you make a crush injury compensation claim to cover the costs of your injury and to make sure you have the support you need during your recovery.

Find out more about making a road traffic accident claim 

Crush injuries caused by accidents on public transport

Passengers and crew can also suffer crush injuries in public transport accidents involving buses, coaches and trains. 

Fortunately, such accidents are relatively infrequent. However, where the transport operator/employer failed in their duty of care to take all reasonable protective steps, you may also be eligible to make a crush injury compensation claim.

Find out more about making a public transport accident claim 

Trampling or crush injuries due to overcrowding

Hopefully things will be back to relative normal soon. But the last thing you expect when attending a social or public event is for the venue to be overcrowded and unsafe. In fact, all events have safety regulations to follow, such as having enough staff, ensuring they have emergency procedures in place if there's a fire, and making sure the venue isn't over-capacity.

If safety rules aren't followed and areas become overcrowded, then people can suffer crush injuries or be trampled. This is especially dangerous if the venue has to be evacuated in an emergency.

Crush injuries at work

Crush injuries are some of the most common types of injury at work, particularly where there's dangerous or heavy machinery where fingers or even limbs can become trapped. Accidents involving heavy forklift trucks are common, with an average of five people hospitalised every day in the UK with life-changing injuries.

Some jobs and industries carry more risk of crush injuries than others. Some examples of higher risk jobs are:

Working in these types of industries can carry numerous risks due to the heavy equipment and large vehicles that are used to carry out the job.

Employers have a duty of care to make sure you have the training and protective equipment needed to avoid injuries wherever possible. 

This includes making sure you know how to use the equipment required for your job, and making sure that the equipment is regularly inspected and has the right safety procedures, such as an emergency stop button or equipment guard.


What are the symptoms of crush injuries?

Crush injuries can cause a lot of damage immediately. You may experience symptoms like:

  • Bleeding and bruising.
  • Muscle, ligament, blood vessel or tissue damage.
  • Fractures or bone breaks.
  • Open wound lacerations.
  • Nerve injury and numbness or impaired movement.
  • Infection caused by bacteria entering any open wounds.


The best advice for all crush injuries is to seek immediate medical help.


What are the medical complications of crush injuries?

Crush injuries are often physically, psychologically and suddenly traumatic. The initial injury can cause potentially dangerous complications so you should always seek immediate emergency medical help, even if the damage seems minor. 

Medical complications arising from severe crush injury can include:

Degloving: also called avulsion, is where the top layers of skin are forcefully separated from the musculature below. It can affect any part of the body hurt in crush injuries and requires immediate surgical intervention.

Hypovolemic shock: also called low-volume shock, it's triggered by significant external or internal bleeding and can cause organ damage or failure.

Hyperkalemia: sudden damage to cell membranes in severe crush injury can release large amounts of potassium into the body which can cause a heart attack.

Compartment syndrome: this painful condition can occur when increased pressure within a bundle (or compartment) of grouped muscles restricts blood flow to the area, potentially damaging muscles, tissues and nerves.

Kidney injury: injured muscles release a chemical called myoglobin. Coupled with shock, an excess of myoglobin, called rhabdomyolysis, can cause serious kidney damage.

At their worst, for instance after a serious fall from height or a bad crash, crush injuries can leave people with life-changing injuries.  Psychological and physical recovery is often long and difficult, especially if you've needed a prosthetic limb following amputation

You may be unable to return to work or do your normal job and that can mean lost income and job opportunity - not just now, but in the future too. It can also have a major effect on family members who may be caring for you.

For confidential advice about whether you may be able to make a claim for trauma such as crushed finger compensation or crushed foot injury compensation, call us on . We're here to help.


How are crush injuries treated?

Treatments for crush injuries vary depending on how severe the damage is. In life-threatening cases, for instance in a serious forklift truck accident in the workplace, treatment will likely involve immediate hospitalisation, emergency surgery and many months of recovery that may include reconstructive procedures and physiotherapy. 

Even for less serious crush injuries - for instance where you may be eligible for crushed finger compensation - recovery may include setting a break or fracture and the physiotherapy you need to build back strength movement.

Crush injuries differ so much that the treatment and healing time will usually be unique to your circumstances. Typically recovery can vary from a few weeks to several months or longer.


Can I make a crush injury compensation claim?

We know that if you're thinking about making a compensation claim for crush injuries, you may be wondering whether your injury was your fault or whether someone else is liable.

If your crush injuries were caused in an accident that wasn't your fault, then it's likely we'll be able to help you make a crush injury compensation claim. The simplest way to find out whether you have a claim is to get in touch with our friendly advisors on .

All our advisors are legally trained, and can give you free advice in a confidential and compassionate environment. They'll ask you some questions about your accident and injury so that they can get a clearer idea of what happened. Based on the answers you give, they'll be able to let you know if you have grounds for a crush injury compensation claim.

We appreciate you may feel uncomfortable speaking about what happened, especially if the experience was highly traumatic or your crush injuries are particularly serious. You can feel sure that we'll do everything we can to put you at ease. We're here to listen and help.

There's never any obligation to make a claim when you speak to us, but if you decide you'd like to go ahead and you give us your permission, we can pass you on to one of our specialist solicitors.

Your solicitor will be able to answer any other questions you have and will make sure you know exactly what to expect before getting in touch with the other party and negotiating on your behalf.

If you don't feel ready to speak to us yet, then we generally advise that it's likely you have a claim if:

  • Your accident happened in the last three years.
  • It wasn't your fault and you were injured.

You can also try our free online claim checker, which estimates whether you have a claim based on your answers to some simple questions.


How does crush injury compensation help?

We realise how much of an impact crush injuries can have on your life as well as the lives of those around you.

Aside from the physical pain and psychological shock, your crush injuries may also have meant time off work and you relying on those around you for physical, mental and financial support.

Lost earnings can make your recovery even more stressful, causing you to feel pressured to return to work or leaving you with unpaid bills and family upset.

On top of this, you may have been unable to carry on with hobbies, sports and everyday activities such as driving or other tasks you took for granted. We understand this can leave you feeling isolated or dependent on others. 

When you get in touch with us, our expert solicitors will work hard to make sure you receive the full amount of compensation you're owed for your crush injuries. Crush injury compensation can help you begin rebuilding your life and help with things like ongoing treatment or physiotherapy, plus any modifications you've had to make to your home or car.

We don't think you should have to worry about the financial impacts and we want to make sure that your pain, suffering and losses are properly compensated.


More customer stories

What might my crush injury compensation claim be worth?

It's hard to say at the outset what crush injury claims may be worth. For instance, compensation for a crushing brain injury will be different to crush injuries to the limbs or hand crush injury compensation. The value depends on many factors, like the severity of your injury and the impact it's had on your life.

The crush injury compensation you could receive can help to cover the following areas for you and your family:

  • Lost income due to time taken off work.
  • Medical treatment costs, and those for medication and care - including prescription charges.
  • Treatment travel costs and other associated expenses.
  • The impact on your home and social life (called ‘loss of amenity').
  • Your pain and suffering. 
  • Care, even if it's given freely by family or a friend.
  • Any modifications to your car or home that were needed as a result of your injury.

The Judicial College is part of the Ministry of Justice. It publishes the guidelines for the pain and suffering component of crush injury compensation for injuries caused by someone else's negligence. 

These are known as general damages. Here are some examples of the general compensation awards made for the typical damage caused by crush injuries. They exclude special damages which is the compensation that reimburses any financial losses you may also have experienced:

Types of crush injuriesRange of compensation
Wrist injury taking around two years to heal completelyUp to £8,160
Loss of part of an index (first) finger£11,420 to £17,590
Significant hip or pelvis injury leaving some long-term problems£24,950 to £36,770
Severe, disabling elbow injury£36,770 to £51,460

Your solicitor will make sure any financial impacts or expenses as a direct result of your injury are included in your crush injury compensation. This means you won't be left out of pocket and that you also have the finances you need for recovery.

They'll also make your claim on a no win no fee basis. This means that if your claim doesn't succeed then you pay nothing. If it succeeds, you'll pay a fee to your solicitor from your crush injury compensation.

For a compensation estimate,  visit our compensation calculator. This will give you a very rough figure for general damages based on your answers to a short set of simple questions. Alternatively, contact us today on  for a free and confidential chat about what you've been through.


What happens in compensation claims for crush injuries?

We carefully choose the solicitors we work with and closely monitor the level of service they provide. They take care of everything for you in a crush injury compensation claim - from arranging the medical assessment to negotiating with the other side's insurers. They will keep you informed throughout the process. All they'll need you to do is follow their advice and give them the information they need, when they need it. 

Find out about what happens during a personal injury claim and what you'll be expected to do on our claims process page.


What are the time limits for making a crush injury compensation claim?

You usually have three years from the date you were hurt. There's a formal legal process your solicitor will follow,  so if you're close to the three-year deadline, please call us as soon as possible on .

There are some exceptions to crush injury compensation time limits:

  • If the victim has also suffered serious brain trauma that has impaired their psychological capacity, then there's no time limit. 
  • For instance, they may have sustained a crushing brain injury in a serious accident at work or accident on the road
  • In these circumstances, a loved one can claim on their behalf. This is called being a litigation friend.
  • A parent, guardian or other legally-responsible adult can make a claim for a child with crush injuries any time up until their 18th birthday.

If no claim has been made, the child has three years between their 18th and 21st birthdays to make a crush injury compensation claim themselves as a legal adult.


Frequently asked questions...


Yes, of course. Our helpline, our own law firm, the law firms we work with around the country and all insurers are operating as pretty much as normal with many people working securely from home. There may be some minor delays - for example if your ankle injury compensation claim needs a court hearing. However, much of the work is carried out by phone, email and using the government's internet claims system anyway, so things are as close to business as usual as they can be.

Contact us first and we'll check your grounds to claim and then connect you with one of our specialist solicitors if you want to proceed.

No. National Accident Helpline is a brand that belongs to the personal injury legal practice National Accident Law. We're regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the independent professional ethics body that licenses all solicitors in England and Wales. Our SRA number is 655606.

Claims management companies (CMCs) are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). CMCs do not have their own legal practices. 

We process personal injury claims as part of National Accident Law. We also work with a national network of specialist personal injury legal firms who we vet very carefully to provide you with the best possible customer experience.

With us, you're in safe and highly-capable hands.

Proving liability in a claim is about establishing blame in four key areas. 

Duty: did the party you hold responsible for your injury owe you a legal duty of care?  

Breach: did they breach that duty by acting (or failing to act) in a particular way?  

Causation: did their actions (or absence of them) cause your injuries? 

Damages: were you injured by their actions or inactions? 

Here at National Accident Helpline, we understand how difficult and sometimes life-changing crush injuries can be. Not only are our advisors all legally-trained, but they also have exceptional listening and interpersonal skills that ensure you can tell your story, in your way and in your own time. 

We regularly help people who are still suffering the physical and psychological consequences of their accident. Sensitivity, compassion and empathy are key aspects of character that we value highly.

The same goes for the solicitors we work with. We select them carefully and expect the same levels of support from them as we do from our own people. 

Over more than 26 years, we've helped more than two million people injured in accidents that weren't their fault get their lives back on track. Contact us on for a confidential chat. With us, you'll always be in safe hands.



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The UK's most trusted personal injury advice specialists.
26 years of experience handling all types of personal injury claims.
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UK-wide network of specialist personal accident injury solicitors.