Most people who have undergone an amputation feel like they have just lost an integral part of their identity. It’s a devastating experience from an incredibly traumatic accident. If you or a loved one recently had an amputation as a result of something that was preventable, get in touch with our amputation injury lawyer today for a free consultation.
Defining Amputation Or Loss Of Limb
An amputation involves completely or partially removing a person’s limb, usually an arm, leg, foot, or toe. Undergoing an amputation can be dangerous, with the risk of significant blood loss, becoming immobile, experiencing physiological effects, and, unfortunately, even death. After the surgery, amputees usually get prosthetics as part of their recovery.
Complete Amputation – This is where a limb is fully removed from the body. As a result, the person would need a prosthetic limb to replace the original limb.
Partial Amputation – This is where the injury still has soft-tissue connections between the body and limb. As a result, the limb is still connected to the body.
It’s reasonable to say all amputations are traumatic. However, in medical and legal terms, a traumatic amputation refers to a rushed amputation due to a sudden and catastrophic event. The purpose is often to stop a significant amount of blood loss and to save the person’s life.
If possible, the removed limb is preserved. Then once the accident victim reaches a hospital or trauma center, surgeons can try to reattach the limb. In cases where reattachment was successful, the patient still needs extensive therapy to reestablish muscle strength, nerve connections, and blood circulation.
Traumatic amputations used to be considered highly life-threatening. However, due to ongoing medical and technological advancements, the survival rate has significantly improved compared to previous decades.
Non-traumatic amputations refer to amputations not caused by a traumatic event. They are surgical amputations that medical professionals decided were necessary after attempting to treat the accident injury.
Since amputations are understandably a last-resort procedure, it’s common for them to occur years after the injury. Typically, surgeons attempt to treat an injury right after the accident. However, health complications arise and worsen the damage. As a result, the surgeon and patient would have to make the difficult decision of removing the injured limb altogether.
Causes Of Traumatic Amputation Injuries
Although they might not seem like a common injury, amputation injuries can occur under various circumstances and can happen to anyone. These are some common causes of traumatic amputation injuries across Florida:
Workplace Amputation Injuries
Workplace accidents often arise from dangerous work conditions. Workers are left unprotected and industrial machinery isn’t set up for safe usage. In construction, machines with heavy moving parts, such as cranes, can easily cause a fatal accident. In the agriculture industry, lawnmowers and farming motor vehicles with spinning sharp blades can easily cause someone to be sent to the trauma center.
Auto Accident Amputation Injuries
These amputation injuries result from any traffic-related accident, especially from cars, trucks, buses, boats, and motorcycles. Unfortunately, drunk-driving accidents also make up a significant portion of these cases.
Electrocution Amputation Injuries
Electrocuted limbs often require amputation because the high electrical current can destroy blood vessels in seconds.
Explosion Amputation Injuries
These types of injuries are most of the result of military casualties. This type of amputation is often categorized as a traumatic injury because the amputation had to be done quickly to stop excessive blood loss.
Medical Malpractice Amputation Injuries
Unfortunately, a patient can undergo amputation due to a doctor’s negligence. Sometimes, doctors don’t realize until after the procedure that the amputation wasn’t necessary. Other times, an amputation ends up necessary because the initial reconstruction surgery worsened the injury more than healed it. In both situations, doctors could have avoided amputation.
Medical Costs and Treatment
The lifetime medical costs for an amputation extend to as much as $500,000, considering the entire amputation procedure and the recovery process.
A typical amputation procedure:
- Planning the exact amputation location on the body.
- Administering anesthetics.
- Cutting through muscle and bone to remove the damaged limb.
- Tying the exposed blood vessels.
- Severing nerves.
- Smoothing bone and muscle to create a stump at the end of the limb.
- Closing the amputation cut.
An example of the recovery process:
- Being hospitalized.
- Receiving short-term care for the injury.
- Attending inpatient rehabilitation.
- Attending outpatient doctor checkups.
- Purchasing a prosthetic limb.
- Getting physical and occupational therapy.
- Getting psychological and emotional therapy.
- Receiving social support.
Proving Liability for Loss of Limb and Amputation Injuries
To hold the at-fault parties liable, you must prove that someone caused the accident out of negligence. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you collect the evidence you need to make your case and negotiate a fair settlement.
Likely, you weren’t in a position to gather evidence at the time of the accident. In that case, you can collect Emergency Medical Services (EMS) reports, police reports, and other relevant documents to help build your case. An experienced amputation attorney can help you gather the evidence you might have overlooked. The attorney can interview witnesses and work with expert investigators to gather all the details.
Analyze Medical Expenses
Since amputation medical care is expensive, you want to maximize your compensation as much as possible. A personal injury attorney can help determine your future costs using information about your injuries, law, and accumulated medical expenses.
Recover Economic or Non-Economic Losses
Economic losses are all financial losses such as medical bills, lost wages, prosthetic limbs, physical rehabilitation, and other expenses related to your amputation injury. Non-economic losses are intangible and often emotional losses such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, psychological trauma, emotional trauma, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life due to amputation and no longer having a critical extension of your body. A qualified personal injury lawyer will consider both types of losses when determining your fair compensation.
Compensation You Can Recover for Amputation Injuries
Under Florida’s No-Fault insurance policy, everyone involved in an accident must first turn to their insurance company for compensation. However, since the law considers an amputation injury a severe case, you can usually bypass the no-fault policy and file a lawsuit against the responsible parties.
This exception doesn’t just allow you to seek compensation above the insurance policy limits. It also allows you to claim an amount that addresses your pain and suffering since non-economic damages make up a large part of the settlement.
Contact Our Florida Loss of Limb Attorneys to Discuss Your Case
We understand that no amount of money can fully bring back the quality of life you once had. The least we can do is help make your life easier by not having to worry about paying for your medical care. At Denmon Pearlman Law Firm, we have years of experience handling personal injury claims, including amputation claims. Contact us for your free consultation today.
Frequently Asked Questions
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