Medical Negligence

How to Secure Fair Compensation for Limb Amputation

February 2, 2024
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Reviewed by Trevor Ward, Senior Clinical Negligence Solicitor and Gerard Horton, Senior Personal Injury Solicitor

If you or a loved one has experienced limb loss due to a traumatic incident or medical negligence, you may be entitled to make an amputation compensation claim. Amputation claims encompass a wide range of scenarios, including workplace accidents, accidents in a public place, road traffic accidents and medical negligence. These claims aim to provide justice and financial support to individuals who have undergone the life-altering experience of limb amputation. Whether it is the result of a negligent party, clinician, a faulty product, or a hazardous environment, seeking compensation is an important aspect of moving forward with your life.

How to ensure you receive fair compensation

To secure the amount of amputation compensation you are entitled to, you will need to understand the following areas which can affect the outcome. Firstly, documenting the circumstances leading to the amputation is crucial. Gathering evidence such as medical records, accident reports, and eyewitness accounts strengthens your case. Additionally, it is essential to establish a clear link between the incident and the resulting amputation. Maintaining a detailed record of the treatment you received, contributes to the strength of your claim. Moreover, enlisting the expertise of a personal injury or medical negligence solicitor can significantly improve the process and prospects for you. If you choose to work with us, an expert from Fletchers will navigate the complexities of the legal system, negotiate with third parties, and ensure the best outcome for you is secured.

Know the time limit for bringing an amputation claim

Clients who pursue an amputation compensation claim should be aware of the three-year time limit from the date of the injury. However, it is important to note that regarding medical negligence claims, the date of knowledge of the negligence may predate the date of injury. Exceptions include cases involving children and adults lacking mental capacity.

For claimants under 18, the three-year limit extends until their 21st birthday. This ensures that individuals are afforded the necessary time to pursue rightful compensation. That said, if you are uncertain – a specialist solicitor will be able to provide some guidance.

Provide details of your amputation injury

The severity of an amputation is a critical factor that significantly influences both the duration of the claims process and the overall compensation value. The extent of limb loss directly impacts the complexity of the case, as more severe amputations such as above the knee amputation or several amputations, often involve extensive medical treatments, long-term rehabilitation, and increased emotional and psychological challenges. Cases involving higher levels of amputation generally necessitate a longer claims process due to the thorough evaluation required, to assess the full extent of damages. The stance of the defending party on liability and the amount of compensation can also make the claims process longer.

Furthermore, the severity of amputation directly correlates with the economic and non-economic losses incurred by an individual. Factors such as the need for prosthetic devices, ongoing medical care, and potential modifications to living arrangements contribute to the overall value of the compensation sought. Additionally, the emotional toll of severe amputation, including loss of quality of life and psychological trauma, plays a crucial role in determining the non-economic damages.

Be clear on the ongoing impact of your amputation

The aftermath of amputation extends beyond physical challenges, profoundly impacting an individual’s ability to work, their lifestyle, and mental well-being. These aspects are crucial details that significantly strengthen and support a compensation claim. Firstly, the loss of a limb often leads to a substantial alteration in their ability to work and earn a livelihood. Vocational rehabilitation, job retraining, or even a complete career change may be necessary, each carrying associated costs that should be factored into the compensation claim.

Secondly, the impact on lifestyle can be substantial, factoring in the need for alterations to daily routines, mobility adaptations, accommodation adaptations and overall independence. Home modifications, adaptive equipment, and specialised prosthetics may become necessary, all of which can contribute to the economic losses incurred. Additionally, engaging in activities once taken for granted, such as sports or travelling may become a challenge, affecting the overall quality of life for the individual.

Moreover, the psychological implications of amputation are paramount. The emotional toll can be profound, leading to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Addressing these psychological aspects is vital not only for the individual’s well-being but also for a comprehensive understanding of the true extent of damages suffered.

Including details about the impact on work, lifestyle, and psychological well-being in a loss of limb compensation claim is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures that the full scope of the claimant’s losses is acknowledged, contributing to a more accurate calculation of the compensation required. Secondly, it underscores the human element of the case, emphasising the real and lasting effects on the individual’s life. Finally, it strengthens the case by providing a comprehensive narrative that resonates with both legal representatives and, if necessary, a court, increasing the likelihood of a fair and just compensation outcome. If you’ve experienced amputation and are navigating the complexities of a compensation claim, our experienced team is here to guide you through the process, ensuring that all relevant details are considered to secure the compensation you deserve.

What is a fair amputation compensation amount?

Compensation is calculated based on a range of factors which are discussed in this article. This includes considerations of general damages which includes pain, suffering and loss of amenity and then special damages past and future losses and expenses (either for yourself or for any dependants); as well as costs associated with the trauma, injury, and rehabilitation.

However, it is important to note that no two claims are the same. Therefore, compensation will be dependent on your very personal circumstances, and will take into consideration the severity of injuries you have sustained, as well as the long-lasting effects.

For example, in a case our experts settled, a forklift driver received £90,000 after an injury suffered at work resulted in amputation. As a result of the injury, our client’s left middle finger was injured, leading to an amputation at the PIP joint (knuckle). He also suffered cuts on his left ring finger, as well as a minor soft tissue injuries to the left index finger. As a result of the incident, our client suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and ongoing psychological symptoms.

Another example includes a client who suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, which led to an amputation of his lower leg. As a result of the accident our client suffered a compound fracture to his left knee, a serious head injury, damage to his lungs, and fractured two bones in his spine, shoulder blade, collarbone, and seven ribs. Ultimately, healthcare professionals were unable to save his lower leg and he had an amputation. In our experience, cases of this nature have settled for fees in the region of £4 – £4.5 million.

What events can impact fair compensation

There are some incidents or circumstances which may impact your claim or your chance of receiving fair compensation. Here are some examples:

  • Medical Assessment: A client should be seen by a medical expert to confirm the extent of their injuries and whether they are as a direct result of the negligence/accident. A report from a medical expert confirming the same can help a client establish how much compensation they would be entitled to. It is important to not leave this report too late, as it could affect the outcome of the case and the damages paid by the defendant.
  • Considering Financial Losses: An injury may not only impact a client physically but also mentally. It can also impact a person’s day to day life and financial responsibilities. Demonstrating financial losses as a direct consequence of the injury can ensure a claim for fair compensation.

It is important to make note of any days off work, any care that was paid for or provided by family or friends, purchase of any equipment, and any travel expenses. This is sometimes referred to as ‘special damages’ and it is important to try to keep any receipts of these transactions to help your solicitor build your case.

Discussing a claim – other parties and social media: A client should be extremely careful about who they speak to about their claim and what they post about on their social media. Anything posted online may be seen by the defendant and used against the client in court. A client should try to avoid posting details about the case and investigations, as it could be used by the defendant. For example, if a client posts about feeling better on their social media, with the intent to update and not worry their family, then this could be used as evidence to minimise their injuries.

However, it is important to note that no important information should be hidden, which could become harmful to your claim further down the line.

Process of making a claim

Our expert team of solicitors will support you throughout the process of making an amputation compensation claim, providing guidance and empathy throughout this challenging time. At Fletchers, we have a simple 6 step process to making a claim; however, depending on the type of claim you are making, the process may be slightly different.

For a personal injury claim, the process is as follows:

  • Your Initial Enquiry. At this stage, our legal experts can answer any questions you may have, and all calls are dealt with in the strictest of confidence.
  • Case Review. Here, one of our personal injury specialists will assess the details of your case and will provide you with an honest assessment of your prospects of making a successful claim.
  • Claim Investigation. If your case is accepted, our team will start to gather evidence which will support your claim. This may include contacting witnesses, police officers and obtaining any CCTV footage. We will also obtain evidence of your losses, such as loss of earnings, damaged items, and any out-of-pocket expenses you may have incurred. At this point, interim payments and rehabilitation support may be secured.
  • Medical and expert Evidence.  Our team will then access your medical records and other non-medical evidence to get a good understanding of your injuries. We will also discuss how the accident has affected your work and your lifestyle.
  • Negotiation. We negotiate with the other party for an appropriate compensation package for your injuries and losses. There are times where negotiations stall, meaning a court would determine an appropriate compensation package. During this process, we will keep you updated at all times.
  • Compensation. At this stage, the negotiation process is complete, and your compensation has been secured. This means you can now move on from the process and put your life back on track.

For a medical negligence claim the process is as follows:

  • Your Initial Enquiry. Once you have submitted your enquiry, our experts will ask about your experience and how this has affected you, this is so we fully understand what happened to you.
  • Case Review. Our medical negligence specialists will then assess your case and let you know if you have a claim. We know exactly what to look for, so we can offer advice right away.
  • Medical Records. If your case is accepted, our team will request your records from your GP. We will also start to gather evidence to support your case.
  • Medical and Expert Evidence. An independent report will then be carried out, to help us understand if there was a breach of duty that caused your injuries. Our experts will then assess how your injuries have impacted your life.
  • Negotiation. Here we begin to negotiate with the negligent party, with the aim of recovering any out-of-pocket losses and rehabilitation costs you may have incurred and future special damages.  Sometimes negotiations are unsuccessful, and a court would determine an appropriate compensation package
  • Compensation. The negotiations have been completed and your compensation is secured, enabling you to move forward from your injuries.

The process of claiming for loss of limb compensation begins with speaking to an experienced specialist about your situation. Our team of expert solicitors can assess your case over the phone for free to determine whether you have a claim for medical malpractice or personal injury. First, we will collect details about what has happened to you. This will ensure the best possible understanding of your circumstances and how the incident has impacted your life, so that we can ensure that you receive the right amount of compensation to cover your current and future needs.

Common reasons for amputation compensation claims

Loss of limb claims arise from various unfortunate circumstances. These are some of the situations from which people pursue a claim:

Medical negligence is a significant factor, where errors in diagnosis, surgical procedures, inadequate treatment for diabetes or postoperative care can lead to irreversible consequences, such as an amputation.

Accidents at work are another prevalent cause of amputation, situations our experts have seen in the past have involved machinery malfunctions, unsafe working conditions, or inadequate training.

Accidents in public places, such as slip and falls or other mishaps, can lead to traumatic injuries necessitating amputation.

Road traffic accidents contribute to many losses of limb claims, and our expert personal injury team has vast experience in handling these complex cases. The physical and emotional trauma of experiencing a limb amputation due to a road traffic accident can be significant.

In each of these scenarios, there is a profound impact on an individual’s life, leading to the need for compensation to address a range of losses, rehabilitation, and the overall challenges associated with limb loss. Whether it is a case of medical negligence, an accident at work, a road traffic accident, or an incident in a public place; pursuing an amputation claim is crucial to securing the financial support needed for recovery and rehabilitation.

If you or a loved one has experienced a loss of limb due to any of these circumstances, our experienced team is ready to provide the legal guidance and support necessary to navigate the complexities of your claim. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case and take the first step towards obtaining the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Amputation through medical negligence

Healthcare professionals have a duty of care for their patients. If that duty of care is breached, and an amputation occurred because of that breach, this would equate to medical negligence. Under these circumstances, you may be able to make an amputation compensation claim on the grounds of medical negligence; which means a solicitor would argue the case that if the appropriate treatment had been provided, the amputation would not have occurred.

Every amputation compensation claim relating to medical negligence will be different. Typically, the severity of amputation cases are divided into upper and lower limb amputation types.

  • Upper limb amputation: this is related to any limb or area on the upper part of your body, such as your arms, hands, or fingers. There are several types of upper limb amputation, and all can impact your life differently. An example of this is a shoulder disarticulation, which is where the arm is removed from above the shoulder. A partial hand amputation, however, means the majority of your arm would remain. The degree of amputation may be considered when calculating your compensation claim.
  • Lower limb amputation: this refers to the amputation of legs, feet, or toes and, again, includes different types of amputation depending on where limbs are amputated. This means an amputation could take place as far up as the hip or could be a digit amputation, which is where toes have been removed. The severity of the injury is relevant in determining the impact on your life and that of your loved ones.

Any amputation can be catastrophic and devastating. Which is why we assess every detail and pursue the maximum amount for your injury.

Throughout our extensive experience in handling loss of limb claims, the most common cases we see include:

  • Surgical errors – this could include damage to a major artery where blood flow was unable to be restored
  • Misdiagnosis or mismanagement of conditions such as diabetes, Charcot foot and untreated pressure sores, leading to a loss of circulation and, consequently, the loss of a limb
  • Misdiagnosis of cancer where the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, which then require amputation to remove the cancer. In these cases, the amputation may have been avoided had the cancer been diagnosed sooner
  • Delayed diagnosis of conditions and illnesses, such as vascular disease and meningitis
  • Untreated or mistreated infections; for example, sepsis or meningitis
  • Inadequate aftercare after a surgical procedure

This is a list of the most common cases our experienced team have come across, and it is sadly not exhaustive. Amputation can happen for many reasons, so if you have any uncertainty on the circumstances, please feel free to contact us for advice.

As mentioned in the list above, vascular conditions and injuries to the lower limbs not accurately or promptly treated can cause amputation. According to Diabetes.co.uk, diabetes accounts for more lower limb amputations in the UK than any other cause. This can be attributed to diabetic foot ulcers and foot infections. Foot ulcers are a common side effect of diabetes and patients should be well-informed about foot care and undergo examinations where necessary. A failure to examine the feet correctly, leading to amputation could be considered medical negligence and you may be able to make a diabetes claim.

Amputation from a road traffic accident

Amputation claims resulting from road traffic accidents are unfortunately common and can have profound effects on an individual’s life. Such accidents can lead to severe injuries, with amputation being one of the most devastating outcomes. The causes of amputation in road traffic accidents vary but often involve motorcyclists or cyclists who have been in high-impact collisions, rollovers, or incidents where a limb is trapped or crushed in the wreckage.

The most common types of amputations we see, that result from road traffic accidents, include traumatic amputations – where the limb is severed during the impact; and surgical amputations – which may be necessary if the limb sustains severe damage and cannot be saved through medical intervention.

The impact of an amputation following a road traffic accident is multifaceted. Beyond the immediate physical trauma, the emotional and psychological toll can be substantial. Loss of mobility and independence, challenges in performing daily tasks, and adapting to a new way of life can be overwhelming. In addition to this, many of our clients are passionate motorcyclists or cyclists, and their injuries sometimes mean they are unable to get back to what they love. The need for specialised medical care, rehabilitation, and prosthetic devices may further compound the financial and emotional burdens.

Amputation from work

Amputation claims stemming from workplace accidents represent a portion of the personal injury claims our expert’s handle. In our experience, a loss of limb because of an accident at work often result from hazardous working conditions, and machinery-related incidents. These accidents can lead to severe injuries, and amputations are among the most devastating consequences.

Workplace amputations can occur due to various factors, including machinery malfunctions, lack of proper safety protocols, inadequate training, or a failure to comply with occupational safety standards. Common causes include entanglement in machinery, crushing injuries, and accidents involving heavy equipment or industrial tools.

The most common types of amputations in workplace accidents we have seen involve the fingers, hands, and arms. These injuries often occur in industries such as manufacturing, construction, and agriculture, where employees work with machinery and equipment that pose inherent risks. However, it is important to note that amputations because of workplace injuries are not limited to these industries.

Amputation injury from a public place

Amputation claims arising from accidents in public places can and do happen and can result from a variety of circumstances. These accidents often occur due to hazardous conditions, lack of maintenance, or negligence on the part of property owners or managers. Causes may include slips and falls on uneven surfaces, poorly maintained walkways, or accidents involving faulty infrastructure.

When an accident occurs in a public place, lower limb amputations are more commonly observed. These may result from fractures, severe injuries, or complications arising from incidents; such as falls or collisions. In some cases, crush injuries from collapsing structures or falling objects can also lead to upper limb amputations.

Public spaces such as pavements, shopping centres, parks, and recreational areas are expected to be safe for visitors. When negligence or inadequate maintenance contributes to accidents resulting in amputations, those affected may be entitled to pursue compensation for their injuries and associated damages.

Do you have an amputation claim?

Pursuing an amputation claim following medical negligence, a road traffic accident, an accident in the workplace or in a public place, can be the first step for addressing the challenges which have arisen following your loss of limb.

If you have experienced an amputation, regardless of the circumstances, our experienced legal team is here to assist you. We understand the unique complexities of these cases and can guide you through the legal process, working to secure the compensation you need, in order to rebuild your life after such a traumatic event. Contact us today to discuss your case and take the first step towards rebuilding your life.

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