An amputation lawyer can help you navigate the legal consequences of losing a limb.
Are you looking for an amputation lawyer in Pennsylvania? An amputation lawyer can help you work through legal challenges after losing a limb. From medical bills to pain and suffering, there’s lots to think about. You may be wondering what this means and how it affects you after a traumatic amputation.
The medical consequences are never simple, but the legal implications can be more complicated than you realize. In this page, we will explain the potential consequences in detail to help you make informed decisions about your amputation case.
What is an amputation or loss of a limb?
An amputation occurs when a body part is removed to save an individual’s life or when the limb can no longer be saved due to injury. An amputation can also occur after a trauma, such as in accidents. Amputation injuries can also lead to additional complications.
Sometimes, a partial amputation can occur due to a disease or other medical condition. The amputation can be partial or total, depending on the individual’s needs and which part of the body is removed.
An amputated limb will result in many changes to your life, including pain, mobility issues, financial difficulties, emotional trauma and more. You may even require a prosthetic limb in order to function in your daily life. For most, quality of life is very different following an amputation.
The most common amputations are an amputated arm, amputated leg, amputated hand, or amputated foot. However, it’s also possible to lose one or more fingers, toes, or just a portion of a limb. Importantly, your amputation lawyer can help with all of these situations.
What causes amputations? Here’s what an amputation lawyer sees most often.
Unfortunately, a number of things can lead to amputations. In some cases, it is due to an accident or car crash and the victim may not even be aware of any injuries. Other causes include diabetes, infection and poor circulation in the limbs (such as from a heart attack). Here is a list of some of the most common amputation causes:
Amputations caused by trauma
Frequently, our clients have suffered traumatic amputations. In other words, amputations caused by accidents. These are the most common amputation causes, and they typically occur from a car accident or due to extreme force on an arm or leg.
Here is a list of some of the causes we see most frequently:
- Car accident
- Truck accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Pedestrian accident
- Work injury
- Defective product accident
- Medical malpractice or negligence
The loss of a limb may also result from infection. In fact, amputations caused by infection are not uncommon. This amputation cause can happen from an infected wound or other injury, but it may also come about due to a bacterial infection that has traveled up the limb and eaten away at the tissue on its way to your extremities.
Further, infections can occur following a traumatic injury. Therefore, if you have been recently injured, it is important to see a doctor immediately.
Sadly, amputations can occur due to a host of diseases. In fact, diabetes and peripheral vascular disease can lead to an amputation if left untreated. If you have one or more risk factors for these conditions, it is crucial that you manage them as best as possible so amputations are not the result.
Planned surgical procedures
Sometimes, amputations are the result of a planned surgical procedure. For example, you may need to amputate one of your arms or legs because it is injured or diseased in some way. Medical amputation can also occur for those who have suffered severe burns on their limbs. In those cases, the injuries may never heal and an amputation can help improve quality of life.
While we may not see it very often on TV and in the movies, amputations occur quite frequently. In fact, approximately 2 million people in the United States are living without a limb.
Unfortunately, however, suffering an amputation can be very costly. The average lifetime cost of an amputation can be well over $500,000.00.
Typically, about 20% of that cost is incurred in the first 2 years following the amputation. Therefore, you spend the remaining $400,000.00 over the course of the rest of your life.
Amputation lawyers understand the life-long consequences of an amputation.
Even after the patient has stabilized from an amputation, they may still experience side-effects. Frequently, these include the physical limitations that accompany an amputation case.
In addition to these physical effects, there are also mental health concerns among amputees such as depression that often goes untreated because of stigma or fear. Some of the most common side-effects include:
Body image concerns or low self-confidence
It’s no secret that losing a limb can drastically change the way patients see themselves. It’s not uncommon for amputees to have body image concerns, especially when they are in public or interacting with people
The amputation process is expensive and time-consuming so it’s common that many amputees experience low self-confidence due to their circumstances.
Loss of mobility and poor quality of life
Before, you lived your normal life without concern. Getting around and doing your day-to-day activities was never an issue. Now, because of the amputation you’ve lost a significant amount of mobility and independence.
Suddenly, many things have become major obstacles. Tasks that were once simple are now very difficult. For example, this may include getting dressed or going to work. The lack of physical ability can lead to increased mental health concerns such as low self-confidence or thoughts about suicide.
Many people face a very difficult decision. They could live independently at home by themselves. On the other hand, some amputees experience neglect during the rehabilitation process at a residential facility.
Even though a part of your body is missing or healed, you may still experience pain. Phantom limb pain is a real phenomenon and it can be due to an amputation of the limbs.
In most cases, phantom pains occur in hands, arms, feet or legs that are no longer there. In addition, phantom pain can also occur in those parts of the body which were not amputated.
For example: if your right hand was amputated then phantom pains could also happen on your left side or vice versa.
Some amputees feel that their phantom limb wants to move like the other one did before being removed; this sensation will often become worse when trying new movements for the first time after surgery such as walking with crutches.
While we would hope the amputation itself is the end of the battle, infection is still a reality. Infection is not uncommon in those with diabetes, or who have had recent surgery, as well as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
The risk of infection also increases for amputees where the tissues around the amputation site become infected while waiting for an amputation to take place due to any number of issues. These may include delay caused by over-stretched skin from swelling, or other injuries that require additional medical attention before they can be operated on.
What compensation can my amputation lawyer get for me?
While we can never go back in time, your amputation lawyer can help obtain compensation for your injuries. This compensation is called “damages” in the law.
Your lawyer can help you obtain compensation for a variety of reasons. These reasons typically fall into the following categories:
Reimbursement of medical bills
As we have mentioned earlier, amputations can be very costly. The costs can range from a few thousand dollars to many tens of thousands of dollars, even exceeding $100,000.00 in some cases.
Your amputation lawyer will help you obtain reimbursement for your medical bills and other expenses related to the amputation so that you do not have to worry about them any longer.
Payment to cover the cost of future medical treatment
The immediate amputation procedure is only the beginning. Instead, the amputation can lead to a need for future medical treatment, such as physical therapy or prosthetic devices.
A prosthetic device
Thankfully, modern medicine has been able to provide prosthetic devices that can be worn on an amputated limb.
But these prosthetics are not cheap and your medical insurance may only cover a small portion of the cost, which is why you need to discuss this with your lawyer.
Rehabilitative therapy while learning to use a prosthetic
Once you have recovered from the amputation, you will need to undergo physical therapy. This is a necessary step in order to learn how to use your prosthetic device as well as relearn some of the movements that were lost with the amputation.
Vocational training to re-enter the workforce
Since you have been physically altered, you may find it difficult to return to work. That is why vocational training for skills that do not require the use of your amputated limb can be very beneficial following an amputation.
Emotional distress or mental health struggles
Amputations result in more than just physical pain. You may need to see a mental health professional after an amputation in order to help you cope with the physical and psychological aspects of this major life change.
Past lost wages
Most likely, you have had to miss work because of your amputation. Even if you used some paid time off or other benefits to maintain an income due to your amputation, you may still be able to receive compensation for your lost wages.
Reduced future earning capacity
Often times, returning to work means that you need to change your job position. Frequently, this also means that you are unable to continue progressing in your career to the same level that you otherwise would have been. You should receive compensation for that reduction in your ability to earn wages into the future.
Pain and suffering
It goes without saying that you have been through a traumatic experience. Not only are you dealing with the healing process, but also the psychological aspects of this major life change. An amputation lawyer will help obtain compensation for your pain and suffering.
Can an amputation lawyer help if my injury occurred at work?
Yes, an amputation lawyer can help if you were injured while on the job. In fact, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act includes special rules and regulations covering amputations that occur at work. While you will want to speak with a dedicated workers’ compensation lawyer about your rights, here are some interesting facts about work-related amputations:
You get a lump sum payment for your amputation.
Typically, the law provides for only two benefits. These normally cover payment of your medical bills and a wage loss check to cover the time you miss from work. If you suffer a work-related amputation, however, you can receive an additional lump sum payment.
You get the award even if you go back to work after your amputation.
Amazingly, you can receive this additional lump sum payment even if you immediately return back to work. For example, you may be injured today, return back to work tomorrow, and still receive a lump sum payment related to your amputation.
You can only receive one monetary benefit at a time for amputated limbs.
Oddly, you cannot receive both a weekly wage loss check and a lump sum for your amputation at the same time. You may be entitled to both, but the payment of one will have to follow payment of the other.
Each amputated body part has a price.
Whether this is morally appropriate is a different discussion. However, the law provides a specific amount of compensation based on the body part that has been amputated. Along those lines, larger weight-bearing limbs are entitled to a larger lump sum than smaller limbs.
You may be eligible even if the injured body part is still attached and not fully amputated.
This situation is called a “loss of use.” In other words, the body part may still be attached but it is not useful for any daily activities. The law treats this like an amputation and you can receive a lump sum for the loss of use.
It’s OK if the accident that caused the amputation was your fault.
Interestingly, you may be able to receive this benefit even if the accident was your fault. While you want to avoid directly ignoring work rules, sometimes accidents happen.
The law does not punish you simply because you could have been more careful. Therefore, speak with an amputation lawyer about your work-related amputation even if the incident was your fault.
Can an amputation lawyer show me some support resources that can help?
Remember, you are not alone. You can find amputation support groups and organizations through the following:
These organizations, and others, have online resources, support groups and events to help you with the physical and emotional challenges of amputation. They are ready and waiting to help.
An amputation lawyer at Kitay Law Offices can help you!
If you have suffered an amputation, we can help. At Kitay Law Offices, we’ll help you navigate through the complicated legal consequences of your injury. Further, we’ll protect your rights and work to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Our personal injury attorneys are ready. For a free consultation, you can reach us online or by calling 888-KITAYLAW. We help our clients with injury cases every day.