In the US, at least 30,000 accidental traumatic amputation injuries occur every year. An estimated one out of every two hundred Americans have suffered from an amputation in one form or another. Twenty-five percent of all amputations are a result of a traumatic vehicle accident or workplace labor or machine-caused accident. Statistically, auto accidents are the leading cause of traumatic amputations with industrial and agricultural amputation-resulting incidents rating second and third. A loss of a limb will usually happen during an accident but can also occur after medical treatment or surgery, as a result of complications.
Navigating California’s comparative fault laws for catastrophic injury can be challenging if you are dealing with recovery from an amputation, not to mention medical treatment and expenses. You need to be aware of your legal options and the steps you need to take to protect yourself and your family financially. An experienced personal injury attorney will investigate the accident and determine fault for maximum recovery and compensation for your amputation injury and the significant life-long limitations that can result from a functional disability.
An amputation resulting in an upper extremity or lower extremity loss is a devastating, life-changing event that will forever alter your everyday routine. Amputations are medically classified as ‘complete loss’ or ‘incomplete loss’ (partial). A complete loss refers to a body part that is completely severed from the body. A partial loss happens when some soft tissue remains connected to the body. The injury type along with the amount of damage to surrounding tissue will determine the necessary medical treatment and if it is possible for replantation of the severed extremity:
- Guillotine Amputation Accident – A guillotine or sharp amputation is a laceration that severs the body part with a straight edged cut. Replantation can be successful with rapid medical treatment and surgery and proper preservation of the amputated body part.
- Crush Amputation Accident – A crush injury generally occurs as a result of a heavy object or machinery trapping the body part under crushing weight. A crush amputation can lead to either a complete loss or partial loss injury. Not all crush injuries result in amputation.
- Avulsion Amputation Accident – An avulsion injury type happens when a digit or limb is violently detached from the body either partially or completely. Avulsion amputations can cause serious injury to surrounding bone, muscle and tissue and typically result in massive blood loss.
Long-Term Implications of Amputation
The devastation of losing a limb cannot be understated, both amputation victims and their families may suffer from a drastic reduction in their quality of life and significant loss of income from a debilitating, catastrophic amputation injury. Recovery can be very difficult with physical therapy, relearning simple activities and addressing psychological issues, not to mention mounting medical bills and either temporarily or permanently being out of work. In most cases, the process of measuring and fitting for a prosthetic limb occurs a few weeks after amputation surgery if the wound is healing properly. Oftentimes, health insurance companies will only pay for the basic prosthetic which does not facilitate proper healing. An experienced attorney will help an individual obtain the proper prosthetics. A donor-supported nonprofit organization called Amputee Coalition is an excellent resource for amputees and their families.
What Are My Rights for An Amputation Injury Accident in California?
When negligence is a factor in an amputation injury accident, insurance companies will try to settle with an inadequate offer that will not equal the number of recoverable damages you deserve. The state of California abides by laws to makes sure you receive ‘just compensation’ for catastrophic personal injuries. A qualified amputation injury attorney will prepare your case to include calculations by medical professionals and economists to include all of your medical bills and reasonable future medical needs estimations. Additionally, compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income and future income along with the loss of consortium for your family can be determined with the help of expert witnesses testifying on your behalf.
Contact an Experienced Amputation Injury Attorney
Representation by a qualified, experienced catastrophic injury attorney will help ensure you have an advocate on your side to stand up for your legal rights and make certain you receive the best medical care available and are awarded the maximum compensation possible for your amputation injury.