Losing a limb is one of the most traumatic physical injuries that a person can experience. In addition to being a devastating physical injury, amputation injuries can also have a significant impact on a person’s mental health. Depending on the nature of the injury and the body part that was amputated, an injured victim may require multiple surgeries and months of physical rehabilitation, including getting fitted for and learning how to use a prosthetic, and occupational therapy. The expenses associated with an amputation injury can quickly become overwhelming. A catastrophic injury lawyer will assist amputation victims and their families with the claims process and seek the financial compensation they deserve.
How Common Are Amputation Injuries?
The following statistics show many people in the United States are impacted by these injuries:
- Roughly 2,000,000 people in this country have lost a limb.
- Close to 25 percent of amputation accidents are caused by traumatic accidents.
- Over 600 children in the United States suffer amputation injuries caused by lawn mower accidents.
- There are approximately 61,000 partial hand amputation accidents each year, making it the most common traumatic amputation accident.
- The loss of an arm is the second most common form of amputation.
- Most traumatic amputation victims are between the ages of 15 and 40.
- Close to 80 percent of accidental amputation victims are male.
- Sixty percent of arm amputation victims are between the ages of 21 and 64.
What Are the Different Types of Amputation Injuries?
The following are the two main types of amputation injuries:
- Traumatic amputation: This type of amputation occurs when an accident or unanticipated incident causes a person to lose a limb. In some cases, if the medical team is able to work quickly, the limb may be reattached. If not, it is likely that the injured party will need to undergo surgery to treat the injury. Traumatic amputations are often caused by the following:
– Car accidents
– Accidents involving explosions
– Machinery accidents
– Objects falling from heights
– Getting trapped in a building or car
- Surgical amputations: If the blood supply to an injured limb is lost, the cells in the tissue within the limb will die. This condition is called necrosis. Once this happens, the tissue cannot be repaired and reconstruction is generally no longer an option. If the person’s injury does not heal and necrosis has set in, amputation may be the only option.
Serious injuries affecting the legs, feet, and toes may result in a lower-limb amputation, whereas upper-limb amputations affect the fingers, hands, and arms. The following are examples of each:
- Partial foot amputation: This involves the removal of one or more toes. It generally affects a person’s ability to walk and balance.
- Ankle disarticulation: This is the removal of the foot at the ankle.
- Below-the-knee amputation: Also known as a transtibial amputation, this is an amputation of the leg below the knee; however, the individual will be able to retain knee function.
- Transfemoral amputation: This is the removal of the leg above the knee.
- Hip disarticulation: This is the removal of the leg up to the hip joint.
- Hemipelvectomy: This involves the removal of the entire leg, as well as part of the pelvis.
- Partial hand amputation: This involves the removal of fingertips, parts of the fingers, or the thumb, which means that the person will be unable to grasp objects.
- Metacarpal amputation: This is the removal of the entire hand up to the wrist.
- Wrist disarticulation: This involves the removal of the entire hand and wrist.
- Transradial amputation: This is the removal of the arm below the elbow joint.
- Elbow disarticulation: This is the removal of the forearm at the elbow.
- Above-the-elbow amputation: This is the removal of an arm above the elbow.
- Shoulder disarticulation: This involves the removal of the entire arm, including the shoulder blade and the collar bone.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Amputation Injuries?
Car accidents are by far the most common cause of traumatic amputations, with industrial and agricultural accidents ranking a close second and third. Workplace accidents are often caused by lack of personal protective equipment, poor training, falls from heights, inadequate lighting, and not following the proper safety protocols when working with dangerous machinery. Traumatic amputations, which involve the arms, legs, hands, fingers, feet, toes, and ears, are most commonly caused by the following:
- Traffic accidents, including cars, buses, trucks, bicycles, trains, or motorcycles
- Passenger accidents
- Construction accidents
- Factory or warehouse accidents
- Agricultural accidents, including lawn mower accidents
- Building and car door accidents
- Electrocution accidents
Who is Liable for My Amputation Injury?
If an accident causes a serious injury resulting in the loss of a limb, the injured party may be able to recover financial compensation if the person who caused the accident was negligent in some way. For example, if a motorist suffers a severe leg injury in a car accident that was caused by a drunk driver and the victim’s leg is amputated as a result, the drunk driver will likely be held liable for the injury. Or, if a pedestrian loses an arm after getting hit by a car and the driver was texting at the time of the accident, the driver will likely be held liable for the victim’s injuries. However, it is the victim’s responsibility to prove that the other individual was negligent. This can be difficult when recovering from such a devastating injury. In addition, there are statutes of limitation for filing personal injury claims. If a claim is filed after the date has passed, the claim will likely be denied. Therefore, it is highly recommended that victims of amputation injuries consult with a skilled legal professional who has a proven track record of reaching successful financial settlements for victims of catastrophic injuries.
To What Damages Am I Entitled if I Have Lost a Limb?
When an individual loses a limb, they will need to relearn how to perform tasks that most people take for granted. For example, if a motorist loses a hand in a serious car accident, they will need to relearn how to pick up objects, drive, and carry out everyday activities such as brushing their teeth. An individual who loses a leg as a result of a surgical amputation will need to learn how to use a prosthesis. This will involve physical and/or occupational therapy to learn how to stand, balance, and walk. The medical expenses associated with an amputation injury can accumulate very quickly, so it is crucial that the injured victim receives the compensation they deserve. A skilled catastrophic injury lawyer will seek compensation for the following damages:
- Medical expenses, including emergency hospital bills, doctor appointments, follow-up care, and prescription medications
- Amputation and reconstructive surgery
- Expenses for acute care and re-hospitalization associated with the limb injury
- Inpatient rehabilitation therapy
- Outpatient physical and occupational therapy
- Prosthetic devices, mobility aids, and any training and maintenance that may be needed
- Disability benefits
- Lost wages and loss of future earning potential
- Loss of consortium
- Reduces quality of life
- Equipment necessary to accommodate the disability, including ramps, wheelchairs, and lifts
A catastrophic injury lawyer will also review any settlement offers from the defendant’s insurance company and determine whether it is in the client’s best interest to accept the offer. Insurance companies will often present a modest settlement offer that does not account for future costs associated with the injury. If a settlement offer is accepted by the injured person, he or she may not seek additional compensation in the future.
In order to make a successful claim, the legal team will need to review all medical records, police reports, photos, and other documentation about the accident, and any other information that will help prove that the other party was negligent. If the injured party is unable to collect this information, a family member or loved one may gather this evidence on his or her behalf. A catastrophic injury lawyer will also communicate with the insurance company and negotiate the best possible financial settlement.
Los Angeles Catastrophic Injury Lawyers at ACTS Law Seek Justice for Victims of Amputation Injuries
If you or someone you love has been involved in a serious accident, resulting in an amputation injury, it is in your best interest to contact the Los Angeles catastrophic injury lawyers at ACTS Law at your earliest convenience. We understand how devastating and life-changing these injuries can be, and that they require extensive medical treatment, as well as ongoing physical and occupational therapy. Our skilled legal team will closely review all documents related to the injury, including the police report, medical records, and witness testimonials, and seek the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. We will assist you with every step of the claims process and address all your questions and concerns. We will not stop fighting for you until we have your complete satisfaction. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 833-ACTS-LAW or contact us online.
With offices in San Diego and Los Angeles, we serve clients throughout Southern California.