Who can I Pursue a Claim Against if I Suffer an Injury Requiring an Amputation?
Losing a limb is a disabling, permanent injury that can dramatically change a victim's life forever. An amputation can cause excruciating pain, emotional trauma, and grief. The injured victim will undergo months of surgical recovery, rehabilitation, and require physical therapy before and after being fitted for an expensive prosthetic device to replace the missing limb.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents individuals who have lost a limb through the negligent actions of others. Our law firm has successfully prosecuted cases to ensure our clients receive adequate financial compensation to recover all their damages including medical expenses, time away from work, rehabilitation costs, and other tangible and intangible losses. Our attorneys are available to answer any legal questions on how to receive the monetary compensation your family deserves. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
Filing a Compensation Claim
You can pursue a claim against any individual or company that wrongfully injured you and caused your amputation. Of course, naming defendants in your lawsuit will largely depend on the circumstances of your incident and the type of the lawsuit you file. The most likely offenders that may be a defendant in your case could include:
- Another driver who crashed into you.
- A medical provider that gave you inadequate treatment.
- A farmworker that crushed you with their equipment or a vehicle.
- Someone who started a fire or caused an explosion.
- The business that designed, manufactured, marketed, distributed or sold a defective product that caused your harm.
- Any company that created these circumstances or allowed them to persist.
Holding a Negligent Driver Accountable
Every individual involved in a vehicle accident caused by another driver has a legal right to file a lawsuit or make a claim for compensation to recover their losses. Typically, a claims adjuster will contact the injured victim within the first few days following the crash and begin processing the claim. The insurance company will usually offer a quick settlement amount to resolve the case completely.
However, if your accident resulted in an amputation or you suffered other severe injuries, accepting their settlement offer might not provide you enough compensation to cover all your current and future expenses. Insurance carriers represent their policyholders' interests and are less interested in ensuring that the victims receive the funds they deserve.
The attorney working on your behalf might recommend building a case to take to court where your evidence can be presented in front of a judge and jury. This action will show the insurance carrier that you are serious about receiving full compensation for your damages.
The Other Driver was Uninsured
If you were involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist who was at fault for causing your injuries, how can you file a lawsuit? In this situation, your attorney will still file a claim against the uninsured motorist to hold them accountable and help you file a claim with your insurance company. You will likely receive adequate compensation through the “uninsured or underinsured motorist” coverage in your vehicle insurance policy.
Holding an Employer Accountable
Some occupations have a higher incident rate of amputation injuries compared to other jobs. Some of the most dangerous jobs that could involve severe injuries and amputation include:
- Construction equipment operators,
- Construction workers,
- Ground maintenance employees,
- Truck drivers,
- Garbage collectors,
- Sheet metal workers,
- Sawmill workers,
- Mechanical power press operators, and
- Air conditioning maintenance workers and installers.
In 2015, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) expanded their regulations on injury reporting in the workplace to include work-associated amputations. By law, every employer must report:
- Full or partial amputations,
- An amputation that ended in the successful reattachment of an appendage or limb,
- Fingertip amputations including those where no bone was damaged or lost,
- Every controlled medical amputation that occurred because there was irreparable limb damage.
If your amputation was the result of carelessness, negligence, or the reckless actions of another individual at work, you might be able to file a claim for compensation for your amputation. By law, your employer must provide the following for a safe environment for every employee while they perform their work:
- Providing safe systems,
- Maintaining a safe work environment,
- Maintaining safe equipment and machinery,
- Performing proper maintenance on a company vehicle,
- Providing every worker with proper instructions, training, and supervision.
If you suffered an amputation, your employer must report the incident to OSHA within 24 hours, and within eight hours if the injuries were fatal. In 2016, the US Department of Labor issued a press release revealing that there had been more than 2640 workplace amputations in America during the previous year. The report also stated that “employers reported 10,388 severe injuries, including 7636 hospitalizations…”
David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA said in the press release that “In case after case, the prompt reporting of worker injuries has created opportunities for us to work with employers we wouldn't have had contact with otherwise. The result is safer workplaces for thousands of workers.”
According to the federal agency, workers at greater risk of suffering an amputation are those who work around “unguarded or inadequately safeguarded” industrial equipment, power tools and machinery. These dangerous tools and equipment include:
- Printing press
- Milling machine
- Meat slicer
- Meat processing equipment
- Meatpacking machine
- Drill pressed
- Circular saw
- Woodworking equipment
- Paper product machinery
- Metal forming equipment
- Guillotine cutting equipment
- Punching equipment
- Construction tools
- Heavy equipment
- Agricultural machinery
- Mining equipment
- Garbage and recycling machinery
- Logging tools
- Commercial fishing equipment and processing machinery
- Steel and iron tools
- Powerline installation and repair equipment
Suing for Medical Malpractice
Some patients have woken up after surgery to discover that a limb or appendage was amputated without their written, informed consent. This horrific outcome might have been the only option for the doctor if the patient's injuries were so severe that their life was in danger. However, if the doctor amputated the wrong limb, or chose to proceed with an operation that ended in an amputation that could have waited, they could be held legally accountable through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
An attorney will build the case on medical negligence to ensure their client receives adequate financial compensation. The lawyer will show that the medical center or healthcare professional breached the accepted standard of care when treating the patient. In court, standards are defined as accepted methods of treatment that would be performed by other medical professionals treating patients with similar or identical conditions.
To successfully resolve a medical malpractice case, your attorney may choose to hire a medical professional to provide expert testimony at trial to detail how your injuries occurred. Your attorney will need to prove four elements of your case that include:
- There Was a Patient-Doctor Relationship – Your attorney must prove that the doctor being sued had a duty to provide an accepted standard of care and provided treatment or failed to treat you.
- The Doctor Acted Negligently – To prove your case there must be actual negligent action by the defendants named in the lawsuit, and not that you are just unhappy with the results of the care or treatment you received. Your attorney must prove how the negligent actions of others correlate with your treatment, diagnosis, or surgical outcome. Legally, the care provided by the doctor is not required to be the best available, but only reasonably careful and skillful.
- The Doctor Negligently Caused Your Injuries – You may have already been injured or ill and suffering medical conditions that were out of the doctor's control. Your attorney must prove what actions the doctor did or did not perform that caused actual harm. In a civil lawsuit trial, your attorney will prove that the actions of the doctor “more likely than not” caused your injuries directly.
- Their Actions Caused Your Specific Damages – The attorney may be able to prove that the doctor's actions fell far below the acceptable standards of care as required in their field. However, you could lose your lawsuit for malpractice if you cannot prove that you were harmed in any way by their actions. That said, if your attorney can prove that your physical pain, emotional trauma, mental anguish, and financial burdens caused by the medical mistakes of the medical team or hospital, you could win your case for compensation.
Your attorney will likely build your case on different situations to prove medical malpractice that could include a failure to diagnose, providing improper treatment, or their failure to warn you of the potential risks.
Amputations in the News
- June 2017, Queens, New York – A patient in Queens who lost his hand because of a hospital mishap involving a blood pressure check has filed a $100 million lawsuit against the facility. The healthcare provider used a needle that was improperly inserted into the patient's arm. The incident occurred in 2016 when the man was admitted to the Elmhurst Hospital after he suffered a heart attack. The court documents reveal that while the patient was under the doctor's care at the facility, he developed pneumonia which eventually caused a severe infection.
To monitor his blood pressure, doctors inserted a needle into the patient's right arm, but inserted the line in the wrong spot and never took corrective action to place it correctly. According to the lawsuit documents, the doctors' negligent actions resulted in the patient developing gangrene, which required the amputation of his right hand.
- April 2018, Orange County, California – A 23-year-old California resident filed a lawsuit against Uber after losing his legs in an accident while riding as a passenger in a rideshare vehicle. The man suffered crushing accidents while a passenger in an Uber vehicle while he was helping the driver push the stalled car off the roadway. The plaintiff's lawsuit documents indicate that the incident occurred halfway through his trip when the vehicle ran out of gas on the Orange County freeway.
Lawsuits state that “both of the plaintiff's legs required amputation due to the severity of the crushing injuries.” The Uber driver, the other driver and the Uber corporation are all named as defendants in the case. The document reveals that the plaintiff is seeking up to $50 million from the rideshare company based on unspecified damages. Additionally, the document accuses the Uber driver of being unfit to operate his vehicle safely by placing the victim “in a position to be hit by a car.”
Hiring an Attorney
If the negligence of another individual, business, or entity resulted in your amputation, you likely have the legal right to seek financial compensation through a lawsuit or insurance claim. The amputation injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have successfully prosecuted cases just like yours and obtained millions on behalf of our clients.
We encourage you to contact our attorneys today to schedule a no-obligation, initial case consultation to discuss the merits of your monetary recovery claim at no charge to you. Our legal team accepts all accident injury cases, medical malpractice claims, and wrongful death lawsuits through contingency fee arrangements. This agreement postpones the payment of our legal services until after we have resolved your case successfully through a jury trial or negotiated settlement out court.
We give every client a “No Win/No-Fee” Guarantee, meaning you will owe us nothing if we are unable to secure financial compensation on your behalf. All information you share with our law office will remain confidential.
For additional information see the following pages:
- What are the Facts About Amputation Accidents?
- What can I do if I Suffer an Injury Requiring an Amputation?
- What Illinois Laws Govern Amputation Cases?
- 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?