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Mainstage v10 img 1 losing a limb is one of the most devastating consequences of an accident. Not only are limbs essential for many everyday activities, but they are part of our identities. In other words, losing a limb can often feel like losing a part of ourselves. That is why suffering from an amputation because of the negligence of another party can be a devastating experience. Hiring an amputation injury lawyer can help you seek the compensation you deserve.

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Losing a limb is one of the most devastating consequences of an accident. Not only are limbs essential for many everyday activities, but they are part of our identities. In other words, losing a limb can often feel like losing a part of ourselves. That is why suffering from an amputation because of the negligence of another party can be a devastating experience. Hiring an amputation injury lawyer can help you seek the compensation you deserve. 

What Are Amputation Injuries?

An amputation injury, also known as a loss of limb injury, means losing a limb or digit in an accident. These injuries can be partial or complete, as some accidents can result in the partial loss of an extension of the body. These injuries are not planned, as some amputations can be, which is why they tend to be particularly devastating for the victim. 

Amputation Injury Statistics

Amputations might be more common than you think. They are not uncommon consequences of severe accidents. Some noteworthy amputation facts and statistics include:

  • Around two million Americans are living with an amputation
  • Each year, there are about 185,000 new amputations in the United States
  • There are over one million amputations annually around the world
  • About one in three people who suffer from an amputation also experience depression or anxiety
  • Over 1,500 military personnel lost a limb as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Types of Amputation Injuries

There are two broad categories of amputation injuries: upper and lower body. Each type has unique complications and considerations, depending on the location of the lost limb.

Upper-limb Amputations

Upper-limb amputations refer to the following:

  • Shoulder Disarticulation: Loss of the entire arm from the shoulder.
  • Forequarter Amputation: Loss of the entire arm from the shoulder, including the shoulder itself. It can also include parts of the shoulder blade and collarbone.
  • Transhumeral Amputation: Loss of a part of the arm through the upper arm above the elbow and below the shoulder.
  • Elbow Disarticulation: Loss of the arm through the elbow
  • Transradial Amputation: Loss of a part of the arm through the forearm between the elbow and the hand, but the elbow is left intact
  • Wrist Disarticulation: Loss of the hand through the wrist
  • Metacarpal Amputation: Loss of the hand, excluding the wrist
  • Partial Hand Amputation: Loss or partial loss of one or more fingers

Losing an upper limb could complicate everyday activities, like driving, cooking, brushing teeth, dressing oneself, and more. The severity of the amputation will impact the future quality of life of the victim, which should be reflected in any financial award or settlement. 

Lower-limb Amputations

Lower-limb amputations refer to the following:

  • Hemipelvectomy: Loss of part of the pelvis and an entire leg
  • Hip Disarticulation: Loss of the entire leg through the hip, including the femur
  • Transfemoral Amputation: Loss of the leg above the knee and below the hip, retaining use of the hip
  • Knee Disarticulation: Loss of the leg through the knee
  • Transtibial Amputation: Loss of part of the leg above the foot and below the knee, retaining use of the knee
  • Ankle Disarticulation: Loss of the foot at the ankle
  • Partial Foot Amputation: Loss of part of the foot
  • Digital Amputation: Loss or partial amputation of one or more toes

Lower-limb amputation injuries can result in severe mobility restrictions. Not having full use of the lower limb could restrict activities like driving, walking, running, playing sports, and more. This could lead to significant life-long reductions in quality of life and enjoyment of life.

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Common Causes of Amputation Injuries

Amputation injuries commonly occur after particularly severe accidents. Some of the most common causes of amputation injuries include:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: Carmotorcycle, and truck accidents can sometimes be devastating enough to result in the partial or full removal of a limb. Sometimes, the crash itself will detach the body parts. In other cases, the crash may result in severe injuries that require surgical amputation after the accident.
  • Workplace Accidents: Accidents in dangerous industries, such as construction sitesoilfieldsrefineries, and offshore industries, often result in partial or complete amputations. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, victims may be able to seek compensation through a workers’ compensation claim or a workplace accident lawsuit.
  • Medical Malpractice: Amputations are often necessary when other conditions like cancerous tumors, sepsis, diabetes, or other chronic diseases are present. However, doctors can sometimes misdiagnose patients and wrongfully perform amputations, resulting in a negligent loss of limb. When this happens, you may seek compensation from your medical professionals for the negligent amputation of your limb or digit.
  • Severe Burns: Third- and fourth-degree burns can be extremely difficult to treat. Unlike surface-level burns, these burns affect the muscles and bones underneath the skin. Amputation may be necessary when the burn has caused irrevocable damage to the limb.
  • Premises Liability: Improper maintenance of stairs, elevators, or garage doors could result in catastrophic injuries, including amputations. 

Proving Liability in Amputation Cases

Victims of amputation injuries should be able to obtain fair and swift compensation. Suppose you are considering an amputation injury lawsuit to recover damages for your injury. In that case, you first need to prove that another party is responsible for your injuries. Establishing negligence in personal injury law involves the following four elements:

  1. Duty of Care: The first step towards obtaining compensation is proving that another party owed you a duty of care. For example, drivers on public roads must follow traffic laws and behave in a way that reasonably ensures the safety of others.
  2. Breach of Duty: Once the duty of care is established, you must show that the other party breached it. You must show that the other party engaged in negligent behavior that caused the accident. For example, proving that a driver was driving while intoxicated when the accident occurred could help prove the breach of duty.
  3. Causation: You must establish a direct connection between the accident and the injury. For example, you must show that the car accident caused your amputation.
  4. Documentation: You must provide evidence for all the damages incurred from the injury. This includes damages directly related to your amputation, including medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.

Proving all four elements of negligence will allow you to seek compensation for your amputation injury.

What Compensation Is Available After an Amputation Injury?

If you suffered an amputation injury due to the negligence of others, then you are entitled to seek compensation for your damages. Three main categories of damages are available for amputation victims: economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Economic Damages

Economic damages provide financial compensation to injury victims for easily quantifiable damages. These damages typically come with a receipt or price tag, or can be otherwise easily valued. Some examples of common economic damages in amputation injury cases include:

  • Medical expenses, including surgeries, hospitalization bills, prescription medication, and more
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Lost wages and reduced income-earning capacity
  • Prosthetic limbs and other disability equipment
  • Home modifications
  • Services to care for the injury victim when necessary
  • Property damage
  • Everyday expenses

NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES

Non-economic damages are subjective damages associated with the amputation injury. These can be much harder to calculate as they are intangible damages, so the circumstances and severity of your accident will impact how much compensation you can recover. Some of the most common types of non-economic damages in amputation injury cases are:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional and mental distress
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Disfigurement or deformity
  • Inability to use one or more senses
  • Shame or humiliation

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Finally, punitive damages may be available in cases of extreme negligence. In these situations, the court may choose to award punitive damages to the victim to punish the negligent party for engaging in particularly egregious negligent behavior. However, these are only available in extraordinary circumstances. Consult an experienced amputation injury attorney to see if punitive damages may be an option in your amputation injury claim.

Factors That Determine Compensation Amounts in Amputation Injuries

Amputation injury accidents tend to be complex, and multiple considerations will impact how much compensation you can receive from your personal injury claim. Some of the factors that can determine how much compensation is available after your amputation injury are:

  • Severity of the Injury: Losing a limb or digit is always a severe injury. However, some amputations are far more catastrophic than others. 
  • Disability: Some minor amputations have minor impacts on day-to-day activities and future earning capacity. However, other amputations can seriously hamper an individual’s ability to care for themselves and earn money. In these situations, amputation injury cases may include compensation for caregivers and loss of earning capacity.
  • Negligence: Sometimes, amputation victims share some of the negligence of the accident. This can impact how much compensation the injury victim can receive. In Texas negligence law, injury victims who are found to be more than 50% responsible for an injury are unable to obtain any compensation. In Louisiana, the compensation amount is proportional to the percentage of the blame shared by other parties. For example, if you are 25% responsible for the accident that caused your amputation, then you will only be able to recover up to 75% of the damages.

Life After Amputation

Losing a limb can have profound effects on a person’s life. When you suffer from an amputation in a catastrophic accident, you need time to understand how the injury will impact your life. Knowing the full extent of your injury will allow you to obtain adequate compensation for all damages incurred. Depending on the severity of your amputation, you should be prepared for:

  • Life with a Prosthesis: Life with prosthetic devices can help you regain some normalcy after the injury. For example, leg prosthetics can help lower-limb amputees regain some mobility. However, prosthetic limbs can be expensive and, in some cases, require extensive physical rehabilitation before use.
  • Home Modifications: Depending on your injury, you may need to make modifications to your home to live with your injuries. These can be as minor as installing handrails in the bathroom or as significant as installing an assistive device to help you go up and down the stairs. 
  • Phantom Limb Syndrome: This phenomenon occurs in some amputation cases and involves feeling the presence of the limb after it is gone. This feeling can cause anxiety, pain, and sensations of shock or burning.
  • Emotional Trauma: Getting over the loss of a limb can take a long time, and the process is often not linear. It is not uncommon for amputees to experience many of the stages of grief, including denial, anger, depression, and acceptance. This process can take many years to resolve, so amputation injury victims should request adequate compensation for the wide range of emotional trauma they will go through.
  • Ongoing Support: Unlike other injuries that can heal, amputees will never truly recover from the loss of a limb. This means that they may require continuous support through the rest of their lives, both physical and emotional. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most common questions regarding amputation injury lawsuits. 

How Long Do I Have to File an Amputation Injury Lawsuit?

The statute of limitations for amputations varies from state to state. In Texas, injury victims have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Louisiana, injury victims only have one year from the date of the accident to begin the claims process. It is extremely important to contact a skilled amputation injury lawyer as soon as possible, as missing one of these deadlines could forfeit your right to pursue compensation.

What Should I Do Immediately Following an Accident Leading to Amputation?

The moments immediately after an accident can be crucial for your health and future stability. If you were injured in an accident involving an amputation injury, you should: 

  1. Wait for Medical Attention: If others involved in the accident suffered from less severe injuries, you should ask them to request medical attention right away. The moments right after an accident can be critical for determining whether the limb can be salvaged. Bystanders or witnesses can also call for help.
  2. Preserve the Amputated Appendage: If possible, you should try to keep the amputated limb in a safe and sterile place. A clean plastic bag with ice would be ideal.
  3. Report the Accident: Reporting the accident to the police or your supervisors will help you begin the documentation process for claiming compensation.
  4. Document Everything: Though you will likely be unable to document the scene, getting someone at the scene to take pictures of the accident and the injuries can prove to be invaluable evidence during the claims process.
  5. Contact an Amputation Injury Lawyer: Hiring an experienced amputation injury lawyer will help you meet all the filing deadlines, negotiate with the insurance company, and gather the necessary evidence to win your case.

How Can an Amputation Injury Lawyer Help Me?

Working with an experienced amputation injury lawyer can help you maximize your chances of obtaining full compensation for your injuries. Some of the benefits of hiring an amputation lawyer include:

  • Maximizing Compensation: Amputation injury cases can be extremely complex, and it can be difficult to keep track of all the expenses that are eligible for compensation. An experienced amputation injury lawyer knows what kinds of expenses are common among amputation injury victims and will help you pursue compensation for every last dollar.
  • Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Not all amputation injury cases need to go to trial. An experienced amputation injury attorney has built a working relationship with insurance companies and knows how to negotiate a fair settlement outside of court.
  • No Upfront Costs: Reputable personal injury lawyers work on contingency, which means that they will not get paid until you do. You will not have to pay any upfront costs when hiring a personal injury lawyer, as they will be paid a pre-determined cut of your financial award or settlement. This also incentivizes lawyers to maximize your award, creating a win-win situation.

Can I Claim Future Medical Expenses and Adjustments to My Lifestyle?

Yes, you can claim future medical expenses and adjustments to your lifestyle in an amputation injury lawsuit. These claims are an important part of ensuring you receive adequate compensation to cover long-term costs associated with your injury. They typically include compensation for:

  • Future medical expenses
  • Prosthetics and medical devices
  • Home and vehicle modifications
  • Long-term care
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Lifestyle adjustments

To successfully claim these expenses, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive and well-documented case that includes expert medical testimony, detailed projections of future costs, and a clear demonstration of how the injury impacts your life. A personal injury lawyer with experience in handling severe amputation injury cases can help you accurately calculate and pursue these types of damages.

Hire An Experienced Amputation Injury Attorney

Although losing a limb can be a traumatic experience, seeking compensation does not have to be. Hiring the right amputation injury lawyer can help you maximize your compensation, allowing you to focus on bringing back normalcy to your life.

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