What are the Facts About Amputation Accidents?
Amputations are caused by a traumatic separation or surgical removal of an appendage that includes: fingers, hands, toes, feet, arms, and legs. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), approximately one in every 200 people in America have had a body part amputated during their lifetime. Approximately 185,000 amputations are performed every year in the United States because of vehicle crashes, medical conditions, construction site accidents, or the result of an act of war involving military personnel.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents victims of amputations and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has successfully prosecuted cases for our clients who experienced a wrongful amputation due to medical malpractice, car accident, construction site injury, or another horrific event. Our attorneys are available to answer any legal question on how to receive the monetary compensation you deserve if your amputation was a result of someone else's negligence. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
Doctors will surgically separate a diseased or injured appendage through a scheduled procedure or after a traumatic experience like a car crash, explosion, or gunshot. Surgical removal of an appendage is often a necessary procedure to stop the spread of disease or control pain in the affected limb. Some amputations of toes, feet, legs, fingers, hands and arms are necessary to control gangrene, manage a birth defect, stop an uncontainable severe infection, or treat frostbite.
Amputation Accident Facts
Common facts associated with amputation accidents include:
- 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.
- Approximately 25% of amputations are caused by a traumatic injury.
- For all amputations, the leading causes are vascular diseases, trauma, and cancer.
- Over 50% 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 80% of all amputations caused by accidents are performed on men.
- Hospital costs associated with amputations total approximately $10 billion every year.
- Nearly 9 out of 10 amputations of the patient's lower limb were necessary because of an opened or infected foot ulcer.
- Approximately 30% of all patients who lost a limb through amputation experience high anxiety and ongoing depression.
The type of procedure the doctor will choose to amputate an appendage is based on the patient's overall health, the damage to the limb and the extent of the amputation. The doctor will perform a comprehensive physical examination of the patient and the affected area to identify the part of the limb that needs to be surgically removed and the portion that can be saved. In some cases, the surgeon will order wide-ranging tests that might include a psychological assessment, blood pressure test, CT scan, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), and an angiography. These tests might reveal crucial factors on how best to perform the procedure including:
- Reddened skin and underlying tissue
- Temperature variances between a healthy limb and affected area
- Odors emitting from the wound
- Signs of infection
- Increased sensitivity or pain when touching the affected area
- Infected wounds or sores
The surgeon's goal for a successful procedure is to remove damaged or diseased bone and tissue while preserving as much of the area's blood vessels, skin, tissue, and nerves as possible. Afterward, the doctor will seal the remaining nerve endings and blood vessels. Next, the surgeon will reconstruct the remaining muscle and bone at the surgical site to build a platform that is shaped to accept a comfortable prosthesis. Finally, the medical team in the operating room will cover the surgical site with a stocking and a splint if necessary.
The Recovery Process
Once the medical care team has completed the surgical procedure, the patient must undergo an extensive recovery and healing process. Within a day or two, the surgeon will order physical therapy that will help the patient make the transition into living life without the removed appendage. Many doctors will prescribe pain medication or psychological therapy if there are emotional concerns or if the patient is experiencing phantom pain where the limb once existed.
Depending on the severity of the injury/disease and the extent of the surgical removal, patients can start practicing using their prosthetic limb one to two weeks post-surgery. Part of the healing process typically requires eating a healthy diet, performing regular exercise, and avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking that could slow the recovery process.
At Home Recovery
As the patient is going home, the surgeon or medical team will provide a list of detailed instructions that must be followed to help with the physical recovery process. These instructions will include how to:
- Change dressings
- Care for the incision at the surgical site
- Remain active
- Participate in physical therapy that can be done in the home
- Take pain relievers to treat soreness according to the surgeon's advice
The surgeon will want to know if the patient is experiencing any unexpected side effects from the surgery including chills, fevers, swelling, redness, or bleeding at the incision site. The patient should also report an increased level of pain, a tingling or numbness sensation in the affected limb, and any incision site drainage that could be a sign of infection.
In some cases, the amputee will need to adjust to living without a limb by using a wheelchair, especially if they are not a suitable candidate for a prosthetic limb. In these incidents, home renovations to make it wheelchair accessible may include:
- Installing a lift or ramp for access into the home
- Widening entryways and doorways
- Lowering countertops and sink basins
- Retrofitting the family car with hand controls and lifts
Emotional and Mental Recovery
Generally, patients face the highest hurdles during their recovery in dealing with their emotions when overcoming the trauma of an amputation. The individual can be filled with worry and self-doubt about how their life will change in the months and years ahead. To fully recover, many patients need help from a mental health professional and a supportive medical team that can aid the patient with their emotional healing during their physical recovery.
A mental health professional will encourage the patient to communicate by verbalizing how they feel about their loss and grief. Families that provide emotional support to their loved one can often help them get through the process much quicker. However, fully recovering from the operation is ongoing; it can take years and involve many challenges that require various coping strategies.
Medical science has made great strides in advance technologies involving prosthetic designs and amputation rehabilitation. New artificial limbs are designed with a proper fit and to assist in healing to minimize the potential damage of long-term complications. With physical therapy and mental health care, individuals who have experience in amputation can live a long and prosperous life.
To ensure long-term health, the individual should adopt positive changes in their lifestyle to avoid the development or progression of peripheral artery disease (PAD) that would include:
- Eat a healthy diet within the limits of daily caloric requirements built on foods that are lower in both cholesterol and saturated fat
- Give up smoking, which could be restricting the process of your full recovery
- Maintain or achieve an ideal body weight
- Exercise routinely
The Cost of Prosthetics
Being fitted for a prosthetic leg or arm can be expensive, costing upwards of $10,000-$50,000 or more. Unfortunately, prosthetics do not last a lifetime. Initially, the amputee will be fitted for a temporary prosthesis in the days following their surgical procedure. As the amputated limb begins to heal and the swelling subsides, the individual is fitted for a more permanent prosthesis that usually takes a month or more to construct.
Within the first five years, the prosthesis will begin to break down because of wear and tear resulting in the need for a replacement. Most health insurance policies do not cover the expense of a new artificial limb.
Legal Representation Can Help
Our legal team understands the horrific nightmare our clients faced in their hospital bed when they realized their limb or appendage was missing. We know that the accident can leave the victim with an amputation or disfigurement and is often a permanent, life-changing event. When the incident is the result of another's negligence, the patient can seek financial compensation through highly qualified lawyers with a comprehensive understanding of civil tort law. Our legal team has successfully prosecuted many amputation accident cases where others were financially responsible for the damages caused to the victim.
We know that some injured survivors experience intense trauma after undergoing an act of violence that resulted in the amputation of an arm or leg. In many of these cases, the victim faces a lifetime with a different standard of living due to the consequences of living without an arm or leg.
Our law firm bills our cases on the damaging effects of amputation and disfigurement where our clients suffer permanent damage caused by the accident or event. Our cases have involved:
- Dog Bites – We hold the pet's owner legally liable for our client's injuries and disfiguring scars that are the result of an uncontrolled animal attack.
- Chemical Burns/Fires – Our legal team has successfully obtained compensation for our clients who suffered severe disfigurement and the loss of a limb caused by chemical burns, fires and hot liquids.
- Bone Fractures and Amputations – We help our clients receive compensation after they have experienced severe bone fractures or needed a limb amputated that required them to relearn many of their physical skills.
Some of our clients were injured in vehicle collisions, airplane crashes, tour bus crashes, bicycle accidents, and motorcycle accidents. Others were injured in amusement parks, and when riding on escalators and in elevators.
Ready to Hire an Attorney?
If you were injured and were disfigured or required in amputation, you likely have the right to seek financial compensation for your damages, if others were negligent in their actions. However, time is of the essence, meaning you must file your claim for compensation before the statute of limitations expires based on certain factors involved in your case. Not promptly filing all the necessary paperwork and documentation in the proper county courthouse could forfeit your legal rights to seek financial compensation forever.
If an accident or event harm to your loved one and caused them to lose a limb or suffer disfigurement, we encourage you to contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC (888) 424-5757 for help. We have successfully obtained millions for our clients to ensure they were adequately compensated to cover their medical expenses, household bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain, suffering, and emotional damage and we can help your family too.
Contact our attorneys today to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation to discuss the merits of your monetary recovery claim. Our legal team accepts all personal injury case, wrongful death lawsuit an accident injury claims through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement postpones the payment of legal services until after we have successfully completed your case through a jury trial or negotiated out of court settlement.
Our law firm gets results quickly. We give every client a “No Win/No-Fee” Guarantee, meaning if we are unable to secure financial compensation on your behalf you owe us nothing. All information you share with our law office will stay confidential.
For additional information see the following pages:
- What can I do if I Suffer an Injury Requiring an Amputation?
- What Illinois Laws Govern Amputation Cases?
- Who can I Pursue a Claim Against if I Suffer an Injury Requiring an Amputation?
- Do I Need to File a Lawsuit for My Amputation Within a Certain Time Period Under Illinois Law?
- What Type of Financial Recovery can I Pursue for my Amputation Case?
- What Have Other Plaintiffs in Amputation Cases Recovered?
- How can Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers Help me With my Amputation Case?