Medical Negligence

Amputation Claim Solicitors: Navigating Your Path to Compensation

April 18, 2024
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There are many reasons why someone might need an amputation. It could be because of a workplace accident where a limb gets caught in machinery. A motorcycle accident or other serious injury could cause a limb to be so badly damaged that doctors believe it is safer to remove it. 

Other times, infection, cancerous tumours or conditions relating to diabetes may require a limb to be amputated.  

But how common are these surgeries in the UK and how does an amputation solicitor handle cases like these? 

How many amputations are performed in the UK? 

According to the NHS count of Finished Consultant Episodes (FCEs) relating to amputations in England, 19,879 patients underwent an amputation in 2021-22, either as the primary reason for their hospital stay or as an additional procedure performed during their stay. Of these: 

  • 3,035 amputations were directly linked to diabetes 
  • 7,005 diabetics had an amputation although the cause of the surgery was not directly related to their diabetes 
  • 9,389 patients were not diabetes-related and their amputations were caused by other illnesses, complications, or traumatic injuries 

While there are many causes that can lead to amputation, the data shows that diabetics, in particular, account for a large proportion of those who undergo the surgery. 

The NHS itself admits it doesn’t always do the best for these people. In 2020, NHS Resolution, the body that manages clinical negligence claims made by patients, released a report called “Diabetes and Lower Limb Complications”. 

It examined 92 cases of people with diabetes. Each of them had a diabetic foot ulcer and, sadly, later underwent major lower limb amputation. The report found that diabetic people were far more likely to need lower limb amputations than the general public. 

The reasons for these amputations included: 

  • High-risk patients weren’t being identified  
  • There were delays in referrals and specialist care 
  • Doctors didn’t recognise how serious a foot ulcer or infection was until it was too late 
  • Cases recognised too late as being serious weren’t pushed through the system fast enough 

Patients who suffer as a result of these failings in their healthcare may consider pursuing a medical negligence case. 

However, if you lost a limb or other part of your body because you were in an accident, suffered a serious personal injury or you believe you received substandard medical treatment for a condition other than diabetes, you could contact an amputation solicitor to discuss your rights to claim compensation. 

What is the role of an amputation solicitor 

The role of your amputation solicitor is to guide your case from initial discussions through to the settlement.  

Your amputation injury lawyer will first want to speak with you in-depth about what happened to you in the lead-up to your surgery. They’ll also want to know how your quality of life has been impacted by having an amputation. 

What you tell your amputation lawyer will help them decide if, legally, you have a viable case. They want to be as certain as they can that, at the end of the process, they’re going to be successful for you. 

If they take on your case, your amputation lawyer will access your medical records to help understand the nature of your injury and how your quality of life, mobility and independence has been affected. They will use this information, as well as additional factors, to calculate your final compensation settlement. 

Building a timeline of events 

Your solicitor’s next responsibility is to build up a timeline of events so that they understand everything that happened to you and when. This will differ depending on the cause and circumstances of your amputation. 

For a workplace accident, your solicitor will gather evidence like accident book reports, RIDDOR reports, CCTV footage, eyewitness testimonies, and so on to understand how the accident happened.  

For a roadside or any other type of accident, they’ll collect the evidence they need so they fully understand what led up to the incident that required you to undergo an amputation. They may also bring in accident reconstruction experts to help build a detailed picture of the collision. 

However, if your amputation came about as the result of medical negligence, a  medical negligence solicitor will examine what went wrong in your treatment, and seek the additional input of expert witnesses in order to fully understand the failings in processes and procedures which led to your amputation.  

Consulting with expert witnesses 

Your amputation solicitor will sometimes approach expert witnesses to fully understand where liability for your injuries lies, or how your amputation is likely to affect you both short and long term. 

If you need an amputation after being involved in a traffic accident, your solicitor might consult with road safety experts, CCTV footage analysts, accident reconstruction specialists, and more to back up your version of events.  

If you were injured at work, they might call in health and safety specialists and machine safety experts to examine any equipment involved in the accident. 

If you required an amputation for medical reasons, they’ll look for evidence from healthcare professionals to show what important signs doctors missed or whether there was a failing in the care provided to you. 

Submitting your claim 

With your case now ready, your solicitor sends a ‘Letter of Claim’ to the defendant – which may be an NHS body, or a private healthcare provider. 

The defendant then has a specific length of time in which to respond. When they do, they’ll either accept the claim of negligence or deny it. If they accept it, then your solicitor begins negotiating to secure you the amount of compensation you discussed earlier in the process. 

If the defendant refuses to accept liability or denies that any negligence occurred, your solicitor may further examine the evidence, seek new evidence, or may recommend taking the case to court. Please note that it is very rare for cases to go to court, and claims can usually be settled fairly through negotiation. 

How do Fletchers handle amputation claims? 

Fletchers Solicitors has over 700 professionals and more than 35 years of experience in handling serious injury and medical negligence cases, including for clients who have had amputation surgery. 

We appreciate that, for most clients, this is the first and only time they’ve launched legal action. To hear from our clients who have been through a similar experience, please read: 

  • Gordon’s story: Gordon experienced a delay in medical care which resulted in the amputation of his lower leg. “I wouldn’t be where I am now without Fletchers doing what they did.”
  • Tom’s story: A car cut across from the fast lane and hit Tony with a side impact. “What got me through it was the can-do attitude and a positive vibe from all the professionals around me… What Fletchers does, being trauma experts, they understand the needs because I have been allowed to develop, to have time without financial pressure.”
  • Sam’s story: Sam was involved in a serious accident when on his bike. “Fletchers got me an interim payment so that I could face rehabilitation while my claim was ongoing.” 

To find out if you have a viable claim for compensation, call us on 0330 013 0248 or message us via our contact form.

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