Amputation is a relatively rare car accident injury, but it can create lasting disabilities. Those who suffer an amputation due to the negligence of others are entitled to compensation.
About Trauma-Related Amputations
The National Limb Loss Information Center reports that about 1.7 million Americans or 1 in 200 people are living with the loss of a limb. Car accidents are the leading cause of trauma-related amputations, while diabetes is the leading cause of disease-related amputations.
Car accidents can lead to the need for amputation due to a limb being severed by sharp metal or crushed during the impact of the crash. Although these severed body parts can sometimes be reattached, this is not possible in many cases. Surgical amputation of a limb may be sometimes required to prevent further damage related to bleeding and infection.
Upper limb amputations involving portions of the fingers, hand, or arm account for 66.6% of trauma-related amputations. However, car accidents can also lead to amputation of the portions of the toe, foot, or leg.
Trauma-related amputation rises with age, with the highest risk of amputation occurring in people ages 85 and older. Advanced age can present problems during the recovery process, especially if the patient suffers from diabetes, hardening of the arteries, or other conditions that affect wound healing.
Personal Injury Compensation
An amputee's personal injury claim may include reimbursement for:
- Hospital stay. Recovering from an amputation typically requires a hospital stay of five to 14 days, although patients with other injuries or complications might need to stay longer.
- Medications. Following an amputation, patients may require medication to reduce pain and to prevent infection.
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy helps patients regain mobility after an amputation.
- Prosthetics, wheelchair, crutches, or assistive devices. Having access to assistive devices can help an amputee regain his independence. However, this cost can be substantial. For example, artificial limbs are custom made for each patient and can easily cost $10,000 or more. They will need to be replaced periodically as they wear out or as a child or teen grows.
- Counseling. Patients often seek counseling to handle the emotional trauma of losing a limb, including symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Modifications to the home. Depending on the body part that was amputated, modifications to the patient's home may be needed to allow for daily activities.
- Home health aide. In some cases, a patient recovering from an amputation may need the assistance of a home health aide to handle bathing, dressing, cleaning, cooking, and transportation to appointments.
- Loss of income. An amputee who loses a limb due to a car accident may miss several months of work during the recovery process.
- Loss of future earning potential. In some cases, an amputee may experience a loss of earning potential. He may be unable to work at all, unable to work full-time, or forced to accept work in a lower-paying profession.
- Pain and suffering. Reimbursement for the physical and emotional effects of the amputation is included in a personal injury settlement. Most commonly, this figure is calculated as a multiplier of actual medical expenses.
Louisiana law allows drivers to seek compensation for their injuries even if they were partially at fault for the accident. However, a partially at-fault driver will have his compensation reduced by his assigned percentage of fault. For example, a driver who is determined to be 25% at fault for an accident and would otherwise receive a $200,000 settlement would only receive $150,000—the $200,000 originally awarded minus the $50,000 that represents his assigned 25% of fault.
When pursuing a personal injury claim involving amputation, obtaining skilled legal representation is a must. Insurance companies are often hesitant to provide a settlement that will adequately account for an amputee's future needs, so having someone to advocate for your interests will ensure that your legal rights are protected.
The legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents who've been injured due to the negligence of others settle their personal injury claims. Please call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at one of our six convenient office locations.