If you or a loved one were involved in an accident that resulted in an amputation of a limb, whether finger, hand, arm, foot, or leg, you know how life-changing such an injury is. Not only do you suffer from pain and disability, the emotional loss can be overwhelming. Additionally, medical treatments for such a significant injury can be staggering.
After suffering from a traumatic amputation injury, you need strong legal representation to help you collect the maximum monetary recovery possible from the person or entity whose negligence was the cause of your loss. At the Blumenshine Law Group, our Chicago amputation lawyers have decades of experience in helping victims of traumatic amputations to get the compensation to which they are entitled.
Overview of Amputations
Every year in the U.S., more than 90,000 people suffer from a traumatic amputation. In addition, there are some who need surgical amputations due to an infection following an injury. Some amputations are medically necessary due to untreated or mistreated medical conditions. The total number of amputations for all reasons is about 185,000 annually.
Consequences of amputation:
- Surgery or surgeries. Typically the injury or condition that leads to amputation requires surgical intervention. In many cases, multiple surgeries are required.
- Hospital stays. It is very rare that an amputation victim avoids hospitalization.
- Careful medical monitoring to avoid or control infections.
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy that may be ongoing for a long time to assist and person in regaining strength, range of motion, balance and some function.
- Expensive artificial limbs (prosthetics) that may have to be periodically replaced approximately every two to five years.
- Vocational retraining. Many amputees are unable to return to their former occupation or career.
- Adaptations and modifications to the housing facilities to make them more functional to the amputee.
In addition to the quantifiable costs, those who undergo amputations suffer from a deep sense of loss. They go through a grieving process and many victims suffer from long-lasting depression. Most amputees also suffer from debilitating phantom pain, which is pain or sensation in the missing limb. They may feel itching or cramping as though the limb is still attached.
Common Types of Amputation Causing Accidents
Any type of accident can result in an amputation injury, but the following are the most common ones.
- In 2015, the most recent year for which there are statistics, nearly 3,000 people suffered an amputation at work. According to a report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most of those hazards that resulted in these traumatic injuries are “well-understood and easily prevented.” The manufacturing industry accounted for 57 percent of all workplace amputations. Also, high-risk occupations for accidents causing amputation are the construction industry, transportation and warehousing, followed by gas oil and gas extraction jobs. Factories that do metal forming, wood cutting and tool and die process are often the site of such amputation injuries.
Any Vehicular Accident:
- This includes trucks, cars, boats, motorcycles, buses, or bicycles.
- The vulnerability of pedestrians, who have virtually no protection against accidents, make them prime candidates for severe injuries, such as an amputations. The amputation may occur at the time of the accident, or be required later if an injury to a limb is so severe that efforts to save it fail.
- This can be from a failure to properly diagnose and treat a medical condition, a failure to recognize the risk of infection to an injured limb resulting in improper or inadequate treatment to save the limb, and a number of other reasons resulting in an amputation that could have been prevented.
Malfunction of a defective product.
Common Types of Amputations
Amputations are categorized depending on which body part is affected and how the amputation took place. The main types of amputations are:
- Amputations of the upper limbs – Upper limb amputations include the complete or partial removal of the shoulders, arms, elbows, hands, wrists, or fingers.
- Amputations of the lower limbs – Lower limb amputations include the total or partial removal of the legs, pelvis, feet, knees, ankles, or toes.
- Traumatic amputations –Traumatic amputations occur when a part of the body is removed because of a devastating accident, such as serious car accidents or construction accidents. Amputations as a result of these accidents can be life threatening because of massive blood loss.
- Surgical amputations – Surgery may be required to remove parts of the body that are infected or diseased and cannot heal or be repaired. Doctors usually only recommend these types of amputations when all other treatment options fail and the patient's life is in danger.