Amputation Accident FAQs

We work with many clients across a broad range of lawsuit types and they all ask, “What is my case worth?” Generally, personal injuries are just a part of that analysis. However, with amputations, the injury itself can become the dominant narrative of the litigation because it is traumatizing and life-changing. Therefore, we put some questions and answers related to amputation accidents below to give you a better understanding of how amputations could affect your case, recovery, and life going forward after the accident. As always, it is advised to speak with a qualified attorney so he or she can discuss the particulars of your circumstances with you. These amputation accident FAQ's will give you a more contextualized understanding but what follows underneath is a great place to start.

  1. What are the facts about amputation accidents?
  2. What can I do if I suffer an injury requiring an amputation?
  3. What Illinois laws govern amputation cases?
  4. Who can I pursue a claim against if I suffer an injury requiring an amputation?
  5. Do I need to file a lawsuit for my amputation within a certain time period under Illinois law?
  6. What type of financial recovery can I pursue for my amputation case?
  7. What have other plaintiffs in amputation cases recovered?
  8. How can Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers help me with my amputation case?

What are the facts about amputation accidents?

Here some important statistics regarding amputations and accidents:

  • The five most common causes for amputations due to accidents are transportation accidents (car, motorcycle, train, bike), workplace accidents, farming accidents, fire/explosion accidents, and electrocution accidents.
  • Over 2,000,000 people in America have suffered some form of limb loss.
  • 1 in 4 amputations arise from a traumatic injury.
  • For all amputations, the leading causes are vascular diseases, trauma, and cancer.
  • More than half of all amputations from injuries affect the upper body.
  • Most amputations from traumatic injuries occur to people between the ages of 20 and 40.
  • Almost 4 in 5 amputations due to accidents are performed on men instead of women
  • Almost 200,000 amputations occur in America every year.
  • Hospital costs associated with amputations total approximately $10 billion every year.

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What can I do if I suffer an injury requiring an amputation?

If you are in a traumatic accident or develop a condition that requires you to have an amputation because of the wrongful conduct of another, then you might be able to sue that person or entity for the significant consequences that you will face in the future. What consequences? You will definitely encounter extraordinary medical bills for the procedure itself, medication to manage the pain, and long-term medical care to treat the condition. You might also find that you cannot work as you used to and, therefore, your income could drop severely over the rest of your life. Finally, your quality of life might be drastically reduced as you find you have increased pain and suffering, discomfort, disability, and even disfigurement. These are just some of the ways that an amputation can affect your life and goad you to start a lawsuit. However, deciding if you should sue and how you should sue begins with a careful review of Illinois laws and we do that in the following section.

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What Illinois laws govern amputation cases?

The specific laws that might govern your amputation case depend on the type of lawsuit you file. Here is an overview of the laws surrounding the main categories of cases:

  • Negligence: If you file a negligence lawsuit for the circumstances that gave rise to your amputation, then you are claiming that the other party did not act as other reasonable parties would have in the situation-that he or she failed to live up to the standard of ordinary caution. Williams v. Conner, 228 Ill. App. 3d 350, 364 (5th Dist., 1992). Here is the definition according to the Illinois Civil Jury Pattern Instructions:
“the failure to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or the doing of something which a reasonably careful person would not, under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence.” Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions Civil Second No. 10.01.

Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions Civil Second No. 21.02 provide the fundamental elements of a negligence action:

“First, that the defendant acted or failed to act in one of the ways claimed by the plaintiff as stated to you in these instructions and that in so acting, or failing to act, the defendant was negligent; Second, that [the plaintiff was injured] [and] [the plaintiff's property was damaged]; Third, that the negligence of the defendant was a proximate cause of [the injury to the plaintiff] [and] [the damage to the plaintiff's property].”

Put simply, the defendant must have breached a duty to the plaintiff and this breach mush have been the cause of injury and damages, namely an amputation. Thompson v. County of Cook, 154 Ill. 2d 374, 382 (Ill. 1993)

  • Medical Malpractice: If you are harmed due to medical negligence and need an amputation, your lawsuit must allege the following elements: 1) a doctor or other healthcare person or entity 2) breached a standard of care when treating or consulting you 3) and that breach resulted in your amputation. This is essentially a negligence action in the medical context. Standard of care represents what most healthcare providers would have done in the circumstances. Additionally, treatment includes any action or inaction by healthcare personnel that affects the patient in a material way such as diagnoses, consultations, surgeries, and medication recommendations. Obviously, these become very fact intensive investigations but the general structure of the case and legal framework remains the same.
  • Product Liability: If you are injured from a defective product and need an amputation, your lawsuit might not at all resemble a negligence or medical malpractice action. This is because it would rely on completely different laws. The laws of products liability require you to establish that a product was sold in the ordinary course of business, that the product was defective, and that the defect caused you injuries, namely an amputation. Tiffin v. Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co., 18 Ill.2d 48, 62 (1959).

Hopefully, this gives you a better sense of the legal framework surrounding several of the most prevalent kinds of forms your amputation case might take.

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Who can I pursue a claim against if I suffer an injury requiring an amputation?

You can pursue a claim against anyone that wrongfully injured you and caused your amputation. Of course, the exact identity of these defendants will largely depend on the circumstances of your incident and the form of the lawsuit that you file. However, here are some of the most likely offenders:

  • Another driver that crashed into you.
  • A medical provider that gave you inadequate treatment.
  • A farmworker that crushed you with equipment or a vehicle.
  • Someone that started a fire or caused an explosion.
  • Any company that created these circumstances or allowed them to persist.

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Do I need to file a lawsuit for my amputation within a certain time period under Illinois law?

Yes. Because your amputation case will largely be an action for personal injuries, you need to file the lawsuit within 2 years of when the accident occurred. Illinois law, in 735 ILCS 5/13-202, states this (the pertinent parts are underscored):

Actions for damages for an injury to the person, or for false imprisonment, or malicious prosecution, or for a statutory penalty, or for abduction, or for seduction, or for criminal conversation, except damages resulting from first degree murder or the commission of a Class X felony and the perpetrator thereof is convicted of such crime, shall be commenced within 2 years next after the cause of action accrued….”

In the medical malpractice context, the law specifically gives a 2-year limit as well but also bars any action for adults that commences 4 years after the incident regardless of when the plaintiff discerned the existence of the injury. 735 ILCS 5/13-212 provides this in more detail (the pertinent parts are underscored):

No action for damages for injury or death against any physician, dentist, registered nurse or hospital duly licensed under the laws of this State, whether based upon tort, or breach of contract, or otherwise, arising out of patient care shall be brought more than 2 years after the date on which the claimant knew, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have known, or received notice in writing of the existence of the injury or death for which damages are sought in the action, whichever of such date occurs first, but in no event shall such action be brought more than 4 years after the date on which occurred the act or omission or occurrence alleged in such action to have been the cause of such injury or death.

There are similar rules for amputations that arise from products and involves products liability claims. In these circumstances, you have 2 years to bring the lawsuit after you discern the cause of action but in no event can you bring them more than 10 years after the first user received it or 12 years after its first sale as 735 ILCS 5/13-213(b) reads (the pertinent parts are underscored):

“(b) Subject to the provisions of subsections (c) and (d) no product liability action based on any theory or doctrine shall be commenced except within the applicable limitations period and, in any event, within 12 years from the date of first sale, lease or delivery of possession by a seller or 10 years from the date of first sale, lease or delivery of possession to its initial user , consumer, or other non-seller, whichever period expires earlier, of any product unit that is claimed to have injured or damaged the plaintiff, unless the defendant expressly has warranted or promised the product for a longer period and the action is brought within that period.

Therefore, you generally must file your amputation claim within 2 years but in certain instances you might be given additional time if you did not discover the true source of the injury. This makes sense because certain incidents are so complicated that we cannot realize their consequences until much later such as with medications or harmful substances.

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What type of financial recovery can I pursue for my amputation case?

If someone injures you and you need an amputation because of that conduct, then you might be able to sue him or her for damages. The types of recovery you normally can obtain includes economic, non-economic, and potentially even punitive damages. Here is a quick guide to what you should look for:

  • Medical Expenses: At-fault parties should compensate you for all healthcare costs associated with your amputation surgery, long-term treatment, and medications.
  • Lost Income: If you cannot work because of the incident and subsequent amputation, then you should include this in the recovery you seek at trial because it definitely is something defendants are responsible for.
  • Pain and Suffering: Amputations certainly cause long-term pain and suffering as well as intangible reductions in the quality of life because of disability, disfigurement, loss of self-worth and many other reasons. For all of these things, you should be compensated.
  • Punitive Damages: If the defendant’s behavior was particularly wanton and egregious, then you might be able to pursue and obtain punitive damages. They are meant to punish the wrongdoer and prevent similar acts in the future. They are heavily dependent on the facts and circumstances of your case but because amputations draw special sympathy from juries they might be possible.

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What have other plaintiffs in amputation cases recovered?

Here is a breakdown of what amputation claim plaintiffs have achieved by recovery range across different types injuries at the Illinois and national level. This information has been compiled by our attorneys from jury verdict reporters, court records and publicly reported information.

AMPUTATION CLAIMS AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL:

  • RECOVERY RANGE
  • $0
  • $1-$50,000
  • $50,000-$100,000
  • $100,000-$200,000
  • $200,000-$500,000
  • $500,000-$1,000,000
  • $1,000,000-$2,000,000
  • $2,000,000-$5,000,000
  • >$5,000,000
  • PERCENTAGE OF PLAINTIFFS
  • 32%
  • 9%
  • 3%
  • 6%
  • 12%
  • 10%
  • 11%
  • 10%
  • 7%

AMPUTATION CLAIMS AT THE ILLINOIS LEVEL:

  • RECOVERY RANGE
  • $0
  • $1-$50,000
  • $50,000-$100,000
  • $100,000-$200,000
  • $200,000-$500,000
  • $500,000-$1,000,000
  • $1,000,000-$2,000,000
  • $2,000,000-$5,000,000
  • >$5,000,000
  • PERCENTAGE OF PLAINTIFFS
  • 23%
  • 8%
  • 3%
  • 6%
  • 10%
  • 7%
  • 14%
  • 17%
  • 12%

AMPUTATION CLAIMS RELATED TO HEALTHCARE INCIDENTS AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL:

  • RECOVERY RANGE
  • $0
  • $1-$50,000
  • $50,000-$100,000
  • $100,000-$200,000
  • $200,000-$500,000
  • $500,000-$1,000,000
  • $1,000,000-$2,000,000
  • $2,000,000-$5,000,000
  • >$5,000,000
  • PERCENTAGE OF PLAINTIFFS
  • 54%
  • 1%
  • 1%
  • 4%
  • 11%
  • 7%
  • 10%
  • 6%
  • 6%

AMPUTATION CLAIMS RELATED TO MOTOR VEHICLE INCIDENTS AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL:

  • RECOVERY RANGE
  • $0
  • $1-$50,000
  • $50,000-$100,000
  • $100,000-$200,000
  • $200,000-$500,000
  • $500,000-$1,000,000
  • $1,000,000-$2,000,000
  • $2,000,000-$5,000,000
  • >$5,000,000
  • PERCENTAGE OF PLAINTIFFS
  • 29%
  • 2%
  • 1%
  • 1%
  • 10%
  • 12%
  • 14%
  • 19%
  • 12%

AMPUTATION CLAIMS RELATED TO CONSTRUCTION INCIDENTS AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL:

  • RECOVERY RANGE
  • $0
  • $1-$50,000
  • $50,000-$100,000
  • $100,000-$200,000
  • $200,000-$500,000
  • $500,000-$1,000,000
  • $1,000,000-$2,000,000
  • $2,000,000-$5,000,000
  • >$5,000,000
  • PERCENTAGE OF PLAINTIFFS
  • 27%
  • 7%
  • 5%
  • 3%
  • 8%
  • 8%
  • 16%
  • 14%
  • 12%

AMPUTATION CLAIMS RELATED TO PRODUCT INCIDENTS AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL:

  • RECOVERY RANGE
  • $0
  • $1-$50,000
  • $50,000-$100,000
  • $100,000-$200,000
  • $200,000-$500,000
  • $500,000-$1,000,000
  • $1,000,000-$2,000,000
  • $2,000,000-$5,000,000
  • >$5,000,000
  • PERCENTAGE OF PLAINTIFFS
  • 29%
  • 9%
  • 3%
  • 6%
  • 14%
  • 10%
  • 12%
  • 10%
  • 7%

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How can Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers help me with my amputation case?

We can help you in your amputation claim because we have been there before with other victims and know what it takes to bring amputation cases to successful settlements. From day 1, we will construct and execute a plan to protect and maximize every dime of your recovery. To do this, we will invest every dollar necessary and not ask for anything from you unless we are successful. At all times, you will access to an attorney from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers so that you are abreast of all case developments and we can answer all of your questions. You deserve someone to fight for you and we will do that. Do not wait, call us today!

As with all of our Illinois accident cases, we handle cases involving amputation injuries on a contingency fee basis. Under this fee arrangement, no legal fee is charged unless there is a financial recovery for you. Call our team today and allow our team to get to work for you and start building the strongest case on your behalf. You case reach our office 24-7 by calling toll-free (888) 424-5757.

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