Approximately two million people in the United States live with an amputation injury. Another 185,000 people suffer an amputation each year. Regardless of the cause, an amputation can have devastating effects on a person’s life.
Read on to learn about these injuries and how to seek legal recovery if another party’s negligence led to your amputation.
What Is an Amputation?
An amputation is the removal of a body part or limb, such as one or both arms or legs. A limb may be amputated surgically or by trauma.
Why Do Amputations Occur?
An amputation can occur due to trauma when a limb is severed. A limb may be surgically removed when tissue destruction, disease, or infection endangers the patient’s life or is impossible to repair. After trauma, the decision may be made to amputate another portion of the limb to cut off disease or dead tissue.
What Types of Amputations Can Occur?
There are several different types of amputations, primarily based on the part of the body affected, including the following:
- Shoulder disarticulation – A shoulder disarticulation is the removal of the arm at the shoulder.
- Elbow disarticulation – This is the removal of the forearm at the elbow.
- Transhumeral amputation – This is the amputation of the arm above the elbow.
- Transradial amputation – Transradial amputation is the removal of the arm below the elbow.
- Wrist disarticulation – This is the removal of the hand at the wrist.
- Hip disarticulation – This is the removal of the leg at the hip.
- Transtibial amputation – This is the removal of the leg below the knee.
- Transfemoral amputation – This is the removal of the leg above the knee.
- Transpelvic amputation – This is the removal of the leg and part of the pelvis.
- Knee disarticulation – This is the removal of the lower leg at the knee.
- Ankle disarticulation – This is the amputation of the foot at the ankle.
Each type of amputation can affect a person differently, but all will have a significant impact on the victim’s life.
What Are Common Causes of Amputations?
The leading causes of amputation are disease and trauma. 45% of amputation cases are due to trauma.
Amputations can occur in various types of accidents, including the following:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boating accidents
- ATV accidents
- Snowmobile accidents
- Farm accidents
These accidents are avoidable when people act responsibly. When they don’t, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation for your damages.
How Do You Treat Amputation Injuries?
During an amputation surgery, the surgeon:
- Removes the damaged tissue and any crushed bone
- Smooths any uneven bone
- Seals the blood vessels
- Shapes the muscle so the end of the limb can be properly fitted with a prosthetic limb, if applicable
- Dresses the wound
- Closes the end of the limb with stitches or staples
Follow-up treatment may include:
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Rehabilitation to learn how to manage life with a missing limb
- Fittings for prosthetic limbs
- Medication to relieve pain and prevent infection
- Psychiatric care to deal with the mental and emotional effects
This medical treatment can be expensive, but you may be able to recover compensation from the party at fault for your injuries.
According to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, the out-of-pocket medical expenses for an amputation exceed $90,000 for the first two years. The lifetime costs of treatment are more than half a million dollars. This does not include the cost of prosthetics, which cost up to $40,000.
What Complications Can Amputations Cause?
Amputations can result in serious complications that further harm victims, such as:
- Increased risk of heart attacks and other heart problems
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Phantom limb pain
- Psychological problems triggered by the traumatic event, including PTSD, anger, depression, and stress
Additionally, amputations can negatively impact a person’s social relationships.
What Damages Are Available in an Amputation Injury Claim?
Damages are the losses you experienced because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. You have the right to pursue compensation for the damages you incurred.
Depending on the circumstances, this could mean you could recover compensation for the following:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Surgery and hospital expenses
- Rehabilitative care costs
- The costs of prosthetic limbs and attaching them
- Lost wages for income you lost while recovering from your injury and learning to adapt to a prosthetic, if applicable
- Loss of future earning capacity if you are unable to return to work due to your injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
An experienced personal injury attorney can review your case and determine the potential damages you could recover.
What Is My Amputation Injury Case Worth?
The potential value of your amputation case will depend on many factors, so it’s impossible to estimate it.
Insurance companies, judges, and juries may consider various factors when awarding compensation, such as:
- The type of amputation involved
- The cost of your medical treatment
- The cost of rehabilitative care
- Ongoing costs of medical care
- The medical expenses you anticipate incurring in the future
- The amount of time you missed from work
- The effect the amputation has on your career and future earnings
- The insurance available
- The number and identity of defendants
- Whether you were partially responsible for the accident
- The pain and suffering you endured because of the injuries
- The mental anguish you suffered because of the amputation
- The impact the amputation has on your quality of life
An experienced lawyer will fight for you and the maximum compensation available for your claim.
What Is the Time Limit To File an Amputation Injury Claim in Minnesota?
The statute of limitations is the time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Minnesota, this deadline depends on various factors, including the type of case you have. If you do not file your case within this time limit, you can lose your chance to recover any compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and other damages you suffer.
It’s best to consult an experienced Minnesota personal injury attorney to determine the statute of limitations for your claim.
Contact a Minnesota Personal Injury Lawyer With Experience Handling Amputation Claims
If you were injured by another party’s actions, you may have the right to financial compensation for the harm you suffered. Contact our compassionate Minneapolis catastrophic injury lawyers at Hall Law Personal Injury Attorneys, you can call (800) 292-1979 for a free and confidential consultation.