Losing a limb is one of the most horrific injuries that you can suffer in an accident in the Philadelphia area. Unfortunately, loss of limb injuries are far more common than one would expect, saddling numerous victims with staggering medical costs and lifelong obstacles that can make it difficult to make ends meet.
The personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian in Philadelphia strive to legally represent those who have lost a limb in an accident and get them the full compensation that they deserve.
Loss of Limb Injuries
The medical field recognizes lots of different types of injuries that involve the loss of a limb. Some of these amputation injuries are more serious than others, with the most severe involving the loss of an entire limb while the least severe can only implicate one of your extremities.
For example, there is a wide spectrum of loss of limb injuries for the lower extremities, including the following.
- Digital amputation. A digital amputation is technically still a loss of limb injury even though it only involves one of your toes. Even among digital amputations, there are some that are more severe than others depending on which joint is the site of the amputation.
- Ankle disarticulation. An ankle disarticulation happens when the site of the amputation is at the point where your foot connects to your ankle bones.
- Knee amputations. A more serious loss of limb injury is a knee amputation, which can happen either below the knee or above it.
- Hip disarticulation. Finally, the most severe type of lower extremity loss of limb injury is a hip disarticulation, which involves an amputation where your femur connects to your pelvic bone, implicating your entire leg.
This same spectrum also applies to upper extremities, as well, with less severe loss of limb injuries falling further out on your extremities.
The difficulties and dangers of losing a limb, however, are not always confined to the amputation itself. Some amputations lead to serious infections that can be life-threatening if not treated properly. If left to spread, another amputation – more serious than the last – can be necessary to keep the infection from getting worse. Amputations also carry a mental and emotional toll, too, with many victims struggling to overcome the idea that they have lost a limb.
Losing a Limb is a Common Injury
Unfortunately, losing a limb in an accident is a surprisingly common injury. Every year, an estimated 185,000 amputations happen in the U.S. These injuries amount to approximated eight billion dollars in medical costs, annually. One study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has estimated that there were 1.6 million people in the United States in 2005 that were living with a missing limb or appendage.
Causes of Amputation Injuries
There are a lot of different accidents that can be severe enough to cause a loss of limb injury. Some of the most common include the following.
- Car accidents. Motor vehicle accidents can range from minor fender benders all the way to high speed and fatal crashes. Some of the worst accidents can cause an amputation on the scene of the crash, while others can cause such severe injuries to your extremities that an amputation is the only medical response. This is particularly prevalent in crashes involving motorcycles or heavy trucks.
- Burn injuries. A surprising cause of an amputation is a burn injury, which can happen in a variety of different types of accidents. Severe burns can compromise muscles and other internal tissues to the point where they will never heal properly and cannot flex well enough to use on a daily basis.
- Workplace accidents. Workplace accidents that involve heavy machinery, like those that are relatively common in construction accidents in the Philadelphia area, can cause a loss of limb injury. These injuries can be quick, devastating, and traumatic. They are also rarely the fault of the person who loses a limb in the accident.
- Medical malpractice. Finally, medical malpractice practice can cause a loss of limb injury, as well. These instances are especially frustrating if you are involved in a different type of accident – like a car crash – and suffer injuries that are severe but do not require amputation. Nevertheless, doctors and surgeons decide to amputate, anyway.
Accidents like these cause nearly half of all of the loss of limb injuries suffered every year in the United States – the other 54% are the result of cardiovascular diseases like diabetes or peripheral arterial disease. Even amputations that happen because of a medical or heart condition, though, can still be the result of negligence: if a doctor or surgeon commits medical malpractice while treating your medical condition and that leads to a loss of limb injury, they can be held liable for their actions.
Legal Damages for Victims of an Amputation
If you or someone you love has suffered the loss of a limb in an accident that was caused by someone else's negligence, you have suffered legal damages that can be recovered in a successful personal injury lawsuit. These damages are not just meant to reimburse you for your medical bills. They also aim to compensate you for the following.
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of life's enjoyments
- Wages missed while you were recovering
- Inability to earn a living because of the loss of a limb
- Diminished earning capacity from your injury
- Mental and emotional anguish
In some of the most extreme cases, punitive damages can also be recoverable if the person who caused your injuries was especially negligent or reckless.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian
The personal injury lawyers at the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian strive to represent victims who have had their lives turned upside down by the loss of one of their limbs. When this terrible injury was the result of someone else's poor conduct, you deserve to be compensated for your losses because having to pay for your own recovery would be unfair. Contact us online to get the legal help you need.