Amputation Injury Attorney in California
Losing a limb in a serious accident is a life-altering experience. Anyone who suffers an amputation usually requires ongoing physical and financial support.
An amputation is a serious medical procedure with long-lasting repercussions. Serious accidents resulting in severed limbs cause victims to become permanently disabled and often prevent them from returning to work.
A limb or other body part can be severed due to an accident or a surgical procedure. Amputation means a body part is detached from the body and can be partial or complete.
Sometimes, a severed limb can be reattached, and the victim only suffers a partial loss of function, such as when a severed finger is reattached.
When an amputation injury occurs due to someone's negligence, a victim can file a lawsuit to recover financial compensation.
When you are involved in an accident and sustain catastrophic injuries that require the amputation of a limb, your medical situation goes to another level of seriousness.
An amputated limb means your life will be permanently changed in the wake of your accident. In addition to the physical challenges you will face, you must also consider the long-term effects of amputation and how you will cope with them.
Amputation also significantly changes the parameters of your personal injury case if someone else is at fault for your accident or if you were injured on the job.
Our California personal injury lawyers will take a closer look below.
Common Injury Accidents that May Require Amputation
Amputation is generally a last-resort response to a significant trauma occurring to a limb (i.e., arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers, or toes).
Accidents that might produce these types of injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Car accidents,
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Trucking/transportation accidents,
- Pedestrian accidents,
- Construction or industrial accidents (i.e., accidents that occur on the job site),
- Medical malpractice incidents involving substandard medical care and equipment,
- Household appliance malfunctions or accidents,
- Animal mauling's or attacks,
- Severe burn injuries.
When Is Amputation Considered Necessary?
Doctors may recommend amputation under any of the following circumstances:
- If the limb is severely traumatized from the accident and will not heal properly,
- Onset of dangerous infection to the limb that could endanger the patient's life,
- Blood will not flow properly to the limb (causing life-threatening gangrene),
- Severe burns or frostbite,
- Severe nerve or muscle damage, causing a permanent inability to use the limb.
What are the Side Effects?
Victims of severed limbs frequently experience serious side effects, such as poor circulation and severe pain in the remaining portion of the limb. This usually requires ongoing treatment for pain management.
Anyone who suffers an amputation injury has to make complicated lifestyle adjustments to compensate for the loss of a limb.
Further, amputation injury victims typically require extensive rehabilitation to manage routine activities, such as getting dressed and taking a shower.
Other potential complications from an amputation injury include a risk of infection or sores and cysts at the wound site.
Many victims of amputation injuries require prosthetic limbs or attachments to aid with their mobility. Victims often need ongoing pain medications and psychological counseling.
What Are the Possible Complications of Amputation?
Amputation is performed in the patient's best interest to prevent life-threatening complications. However, the procedure can also cause complications resulting in additional medical costs or recovery times. Examples include:
- Infection of the surgical wound,
- Blood clots which may travel from the amputated area to the lungs or heart,
- "Phantom pain"—pain triggered by the brain and nerves that make it feel like the amputated limb is still there,
- Joint contracture--damage to surrounding muscles, ligaments, and nerves in which the joint close to the amputated part loses some range of motion,
- Formation of scar tissue which can impede movement or cause pain,
- Psychological effects include depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Amputation?
Once the initial shock of the amputation has subsided, many amputees face long-term challenges that must be addressed to live as full and productive lives as possible. These can include:
- Adapting to a new way of life with a missing limb,
- Extended physical therapy and medical monitoring,
- Learning how to use prosthetic devices and wheelchairs,
- Restoring physical strength to the remaining limb(s),
- Adjusting to life without the ability to do certain activities,
- Loss of income and income potential (if the amputation prevents the victim from working in their trained profession),
- The need for long-term care for tasks the victim may no longer be able to perform.
Life Care Plan for Amputation Victims
When amputation becomes necessary, a personal injury case goes from simply covering the costs of medical treatment and recovery to covering extended care and compensation, possibly for life.
For this reason, a good personal injury attorney will call for the development of a life care plan with the help of a certified life care planner (CLCP).
The life care plan is a highly detailed document listing all current and projected costs associated with the victim's recent and ongoing needs for care.
Costs incorporated into the plan may include, but are not limited to:
- Projected costs of ongoing medical care (including maintenance medications, pain management, prosthetics, diagnostic testing, medical equipment, planned surgeries, etc.),
- Costs of short-term or long-term care (e.g., assisted living),
- Costs of home health care (e.g., caregiver visits),
- Costs of psychological care,
- Prosthetic limbs,
- Home or vehicular modifications,
- Costs of vocational/occupational therapy (i.e., retraining for alternate forms of income),
- Costs of home modifications and unique furnishings to accommodate the victim,
- Present and future transportation needs.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in Amputation Cases?
Alongside the extensive medical costs involved with amputation, an injury attorney can use the life care plan to justify incorporating many long-term damages into your personal injury claim. These may include:
- Present and projected medical costs,
- Costs of physical, vocational, and psychological therapy,
- Costs of ongoing in-home or residential care,
- Loss of earning capacity (reflecting the long-term losses from your inability to work, including projected promotions and benefits),
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of consortium.
In calculating these damages, the attorney may consult with several experts, including the CLCP, physicians, mental health professionals, home contractors, home care providers, and more.
The damages will also be calculated according to the victim's life expectancy before the accident took place (i.e., how long the victim could have been expected to live if the accident or amputation had not happened).
You should not suffer due to another party's negligence. We can help you receive the medical care you need and the compensation you deserve.
We handle all amputation injury cases on a contingency basis. This means you don't pay anything unless we recover for you.
Injury Justice Law Firm is based in Los Angeles County and serves victims of negligence throughout Southern California.
We offer a free case consultation by calling (818) 781-1570 or filling out our contact form.