An amputation is traumatic—especially if it results from the negligence of another party. Therefore, lawsuits and insurance claims involving amputation require knowledge not only of personal injury law but also of the challenges that amputees face in recovery–the unique pain and suffering they have endured, and the compensation required to rebuild their lives.
If this has happened to you, please contact the Boca Raton amputation lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo. Our catastrophic injury lawyers are well-versed in Florida’s negligence laws and have a proven track record of outstanding settlements and verdicts. It is our goal to help clients get their lives back on track with minimal disruption or inconvenience.
Common Causes of Amputation Events
There are several causes of amputations, such as diseases requiring a limb to be removed (i.e., gangrene) or serious accidents, and can include:
- Auto accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Fireworks, firearms, and explosives
- Electrocution accidents
- Medical malpractice.
Living with an amputation
Amputations require long-term adjustments—including managing the risks of complications, follow-up surgeries, and physical therapy. Many of these adjustments are expensive and can take years. Other adjustments may include using prosthetics or making in-home modifications, e.g., installing rails because an amputated leg makes walking more difficult. Amputees will also need to psychologically adjust to their inability to engage in the activities they once enjoyed, as well as their altered appearance.
Many amputees also suffer from emotional trauma from the accident and adjusting to their dramatically different body image. As a result, they may have to seek mental health services to help them through their initial trauma, as well as the long-term, life-altering effects of their injuries.
Furthermore, the nerves at the amputation site may be damaged. This can cause severe pain and require medical assistance in managing it. Most amputees will experience some degree of phantom limb symptoms.
Treatments for this syndrome and other pain can include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Prescription pain relievers
- Antiseizure medications
- Muscle relaxants
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
Treatment, medical devices, and services are available for many issues stemming from an amputation but are expensive. This is why it is vital to speak with experts to help you understand the total cost of your recovery, long-term care, and necessary adjustments.
Potential Compensation For an Accident Resulting in Amputation
The compensation for an amputation injury will depend on several factors. One of the most important is the degree of injury–is the amputation complete or partial? In addition, workers’ compensation discharges an employers’ liability for work-related injuries, but there may also be a third-party liability. This would allow a worker to file a claim against a party other than the employer if their negligence contributed to the injury.
Damages in a negligence lawsuit can be economic, non-economic, and punitive, and may include:
- Pain and suffering; waking up in pain every day takes its toll on the psyche
- Loss of enjoyment of life, i.e. not being able to engage in hobbies and activities once enjoyed
- Medical bills including hospitalization and additional medical treatment
- Rehabilitation, such as physical therapy
- Cost of prosthetics, which can run as high as 10K
- Mental health services to treat depression and PTSD
- Lost wages from time out of work
- Vocational training for a new job if the individual cannot return to their work
- Property damaged in the accident.
Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, are awarded to punish and make an example of particularly malicious or grossly negligent behavior.
Modified Comparative Negligence and Amputation Injuries
Modified comparative negligence jurisdictions like Florida proportionately reduce the amount of compensation for plaintiffs who are partially at fault for causing the accident, up to 50%. If the plaintiff is found to be 51% or more at fault they are barred from recovery entirely. For example, an injured party can recover 90% of damages even if they were found to be 10% at fault, but nothing if they were found to be 90% at fault.
How an Amputation Injury Might Affect the Ensuing Personal Injury Lawsuit
An amputation is a catastrophic injury and requires considerable medical treatment. Therefore, it has a significantly higher rate of compensation considering the amount of trauma and life-altering consequences. If a hand, foot, or limb is amputated, then these injuries are automatically regarded as catastrophic under Florida’s workers’ compensation law–if work-related.
However, as the losses increase, insurance companies will invest more to fight a large payout. Many of the losses claimed for these lifelong injuries will be more speculative as compensation will be sought to cover issues that may not arise for years. This can include future rehabilitation, medical treatment, and prosthetic replacement that an insurance company or negligent party may argue are unnecessary. Arguments for compensation of speculative losses typically require more nuance and information and are best made by an attorney.
Insurance companies will often be eager to offer a settlement that may look good at the moment but does not account for long-term repercussions. For amputees in South Florida, speaking with a Boca Raton catastrophic injury lawyer can help to fully account for the challenges and expenses they will likely face before signing a settlement agreement is essential.
How Kogan & DiSalvo can help
Few injuries are as life-altering as an amputation; however, with the proper medical care, rehabilitation, and resources, individuals can rebuild their lives and possibly engage in many activities they loved before the accident—but this takes considerable financial resources. Compensation from the at-fault party can hold not only hold them responsible but also make those resources available.
The injury lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo offer knowledgeable and skilled representation. We know these injuries are life-changing in ways that many do not understand and can require years of rehabilitation and a lifetime of painful and challenging adjustments.
If you have suffered an amputation in Boca Raton or Palm Beach County, contact us for a free consultation with our attorneys.