Medicolegal Investigations Into Deaths Due to Crush Asphyxia After Tractor Side Rollovers

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Abstract

Farm tractors are large, heavy, powerful vehicles with a high center of gravity. When driven carelessly on sloping, irregular, or slippery ground, tractors can overturn sideways and cause the death by crush asphyxia of the driver or passengers, especially if appropriate safety equipment is not fitted or used. The aim of this review is to focus on the diagnostic difficulties with which coroners and forensic pathologists have to cope when a confirmation of crush asphyxia after tractor side rollover is required by judicial authorities. Forensic investigations in such cases must involve the meticulous analysis of the death scene and the mechanical characteristics of the vehicle together with accurate postmortem and toxicological examination.

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