What Is An Amputation?
An amputation is defined as a traumatic or surgical separation of a limb from the body. A person may develop a condition in a limb that requires amputation, or a traumatic event, such as a car crash, could cause an amputation at the scene of the accident. Sometimes, amputations are caused by a doctor’s or surgeon’s negligence. This most often occurs when a surgeon removes the wrong limb from a patient. When this is the case, it can be considered medical malpractice. Any victim of traumatic amputation should speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer for help in claiming compensation for resulting losses.
What Is The Cost Of Amputation?
Amputations are different than other injuries that can arise from an accident. They are catastrophic and life-changing for medical malpractice victims. Following the amputation, a victim will need to spend a great deal of time in the hospital, undergoing extensive therapy and rehabilitation. All of this is extremely costly.
Amputations are one of the most expensive injuries a person can suffer. According to a recent study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, the average cost of an amputation is $509,272. This price tag includes initial and future hospitalizations, rehabilitative services, other medical costs and the cost of prosthetics.
Many times, a person’s home must be renovated to accommodate the injury. Added to these costs is the fact that the home of victims must sometimes be renovated and modified to accommodate their injury. Sometimes victims are in wheelchairs, so ramps must be added or shelves and counters must be lowered.
Amputation victims also often cannot return to work, and sometimes, expensive vocational training is necessary to help the injured individual return to some form of work again. These costs are in addition to the cost of the amputation given by the John Hopkins Center.
Many people choose to wear a prosthetic that can help them with everyday living after losing a limb. These prosthetics can add tens of thousands of dollars to a person’s medical expenses. These are also ongoing expenses, as prosthetics generally need to be replaced every two to six years.
What Damages Are Available In Amputation Claims?
When an amputation is a result of medical negligence, patients can hold the surgeon, doctor or medical facility liable for damages. Medical expenses typically make up the bulk of these damages. However, there are other damages to which patients may be entitled, such as:
- Lost wages: These damages include the initial lost wages, future wages the victim can no longer earn, and a loss of earning capacity if the victim can no longer perform the same type of work.
- Pain and suffering: These are considered noneconomic damages, and so they are difficult to quantify. Recovering from an amputation can be extremely painful, and an experienced amputation attorney in Los Angeles can help calculate these damages.
- Emotional distress: Sustaining an amputation as a result of medical malpractice is extremely upsetting. This distress is a loss, and victims can claim compensation for it.
- Loss of consortium: Amputations often prevent people from doing things they once did. When this affects their intimate or familial relationships, they can claim a loss of consortium.
These are just a few of the most common types of damages available. At Willoughby Law Firm, Inc., we can help determine the total damages that apply to a specific case.
What Are ‘Economic’ And ‘Noneconomic’ Damages For Amputation Injuries?
After an amputation, victims can claim any of their losses, including medical costs, lost wages, prosthetics, pain and suffering, and any other damages they incur. Damages that have an actual dollar value, such as lost wages and medical expenses are known as economic damages. There is no cap on these damages, but other losses such as pain and suffering are noneconomic damages that do not have an actual dollar value. In California, these damages are capped at $250,000 for accident victims.
What Is ‘Comparative Negligence’ And How Does It Affect My Claim?
The compensation amputation victims receive is affected by the legal concept of comparative negligence. Other states prohibit plaintiffs from recovering their damages if they are 49% or 50% at fault for their accident. A handful of states bar plaintiffs from receiving anything if they were even 1% at fault for the accident. In California, if you were even 99% at fault for the amputation, you can still recover the 1% of damages that were not your fault. In most cases, patients do not share any fault for an amputation, but it can occur when victims forget to tell their doctor of a medication they are taking, or do not seek health care for an infection as soon as possible.
Can You Help Me Maximize The Compensation For My Claim?
If you have suffered an amputation due to a health care professional’s negligence, call Willoughby Law Firm, Inc. We have helped many clients through their medical malpractice cases, maximizing the amount of compensation they received. You can rest assured that with our attorneys on your side, your rights will be protected.
At Willoughby Law Firm, Markus Willoughby has successfully argued cases that are now considered landmark cases and his approach continues to be taught to attorneys around the country. If you or your loved one has suffered a wrongful amputation, attorney Willoughby will answer your questions. He will help make it right and secure the compensation you need. Call us today at 415-870-2778 to schedule your free consultation so he can review your case.