An amputation is the separation or loss of a body part from the body by way of surgery or trauma. Traumatic amputations, which occur unexpectedly as the result of things like motor vehicle accidents, auto-pedestrian accidents, or industrial accidents involving machinery, are a leading cause of amputations each year. Surgical amputations can also occur after serious accidents if a body part has been so severely damaged that is cannot be preserved.
Amputations are one of the most serious and debilitating injuries a person can experience. There are nearly 2 million Americans living with the loss of a limb and approximately 185,000 amputations occur every year in the United States. Losing a limb impacts every aspect of a person’s life and the financial, physical, and emotional consequences of this type of injury can seem overwhelming.
If you have experienced the loss of a limb because of another party’s negligent or reckless conduct, you may be entitled to compensation. At Staver Law Group, we have helped countless accident victims recover compensation for accident-related medical expenses, lost wages, physical therapy, pain and suffering, and other damages. Our goal is to secure the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
A traumatic amputation occurs when a limb is fully or partially severed from the body and usually occurs outside of the hospital setting, such as in a car accident. There are more than 30,000 traumatic amputations each year. Traumatic amputations can involve any body party, but upper limb amputations are the most common. The upper limbs include the fingers, hand, wrist, forearm, upper arm, shoulder blade, and collar bone.
Amputations are either incomplete or complete. A complete amputation means that there are no tissues, ligaments, muscles or structures connecting the severed limb to the body. In an incomplete amputation, some soft-tissue connection remains intact. Sudden and serious complications can arise when a body part is amputated, including bleeding, shock, and infection.
In rare cases the partial or fully severed limb or digit can be reattached. However, this can depend on the amount of the damage to the body and severed part as well as the length of time it takes to receive medical care. Even if the limb is properly taken care of and reattached, there may be nerve damage or other long-term issues.
Surgical amputation is the removal of a body part by a physician and can occur after an injury is sustained in an accident. The doctor may need to remove a limb or digit because it has been partially severed and cannot be reattached or because that part of the body is too badly damaged. It may also be required if the victim suffers from an infection that is not responding to antibiotics.
Surgical amputations are done to save a person’s life but they can also lead to complications, including tissue death, blood clots, hematoma, joint deformity, and wound openings.
Scientific and technological advances have allowed people to create sturdy and helpful prosthetics for arms, hands, legs, and feet. In recent years, prosthetics have become better able to fit amputee’s bodies with less discomfort.
However, top of the line prosthetics can be costly and may not be fully covered by health insurance. Rehabilitation and necessary prosthetics are costly, and in order to pay for these things, injured individuals often need to recover from responsible party in order to cover expenses.
Additionally, one prosthetic likely will not last a person’s lifetime. They may need different prosthetics for different reasons or the old prosthetic may wear out or break. If the amputee is young, they’ll need new prosthetics as they grow. A prosthetic arm or leg isn’t a one-time expense.
Long-term Treatment and Life-Long Consequences
In most cases, treatment will continue throughout a person’s lifetime. Post-amputation treatment involves a comprehensive approach including rehabilitation, mental health support, prosthetic care, and the possibility of additional surgeries. According to Amputee Coalition, the estimated long-term care costs for amputation are more than $500,000.
No matter what body part an individual lost, they will have to adjust to a new way of life. If they lost a finger, it changes how they eat and type. If they lost an arm, they must relearn how to do everything from showering and getting dressed to cooking and taking care of their kids. If they lost a leg they must relearn how to balance and walk with crutches or a prosthetic. If the individual lost multiple limbs, they may lose a great deal of independence and need to modify their home to make it more manageable for them or hire in-home care.
Individuals might also feel stump pain and phantom limb pain in the part of the body that is no longer there. The pain is genuinely real for that individual. It comes from sensations in the spinal cord and brain. This pain may go away over time, but physicians can help treat it with medication and therapies such as nerve stimulation, a mirror box, and acupuncture. There are also more invasive surgical options.
Losing a limb is literally losing a part of yourself. This can come with significant psychological effects. Many individuals will mourn their limb while adapting to a new way of life. They may experience grief, anger, resentment, denial, and many other emotions following the accident.
The consequences of an amputation weigh heavily on the victim’s family. Many family members must step up and help the individual after they return home but are still regaining their strength and undergoing rehabilitation.
Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney for Help
Whether someone endures a traumatic or surgical amputation, they must live in their new body no matter the physical and emotional consequences. They must relearn how to be at home, go to work, and play sports. For someone younths, it affects their entire adolescence. For adults, it alters their love lives and interpersonal relationships.
An experienced personal injury attorney will understand the short and long-term consequences of losing a limb and fight to get you a settlement that will help you receive the treatment you need for the rest of your life. Call Staver Law Group today at to learn more about how we can help.