Limb Loss – How To Value Amputation Claims?
As a serious injury solicitor I cannot truly put a value on the loss of a limb.
The law has developed to create a way to try and put the injured person in the position they would have been had the limb loss amputation never happened.
In this way the amputee is compensated not only for the loss of limb but also for the losses that arise as a result, such as prosthetics, rehabilitation costs, home and car adaptions, loss of earnings/ pension, the list is a long one.
Here I will consider compensation levels for the loss of the limb.
Loss of a limb as a result of an accident or clinical negligence is in every sense of the word traumatic.
If you have had an accident which has resulted in a traumatic or subsequent surgical amputation then it is very important to speak with your serious injury solicitor to get expert advice from the outset.
Medical professionals will always do what they can to preserve a limb and an amputation is seen as an order of last resort.
The most common cause of amputation is from a crush injury. That crush can be caused by many different circumstances, a serious Road Traffic Collison or an accident at work being two of the most common resulting in life changing injuries.
Types of amputation
Medics distinguish between a traumatic amputation and non-traumatic (or surgical). To the lay person there may not seem to be any difference.
- Traumatic amputation: refers to the way in which the limb has been lost, usually in a sudden, unexpected and violent event. This could be a road traffic collision or a workplace accident.
- Surgical amputation: occurs when someone has suffered a crush and the medical professionals cannot save the limb often due to the blood flow having been interrupted to the limb or ceased. Surgical amputation may not happen immediately and the injured person may undergo numerous operations to try and save the limb.
It is likely that following the amputation there will be time in hospital and then a discharge to a rehabilitation ward.
Once you have gone through a significant period of rehabilitation then you will be offered artificial limbs or prosthesis. Those provided on the NHS are basic.
Artificial limbs/ Prosthetics
Your serious injury solicitor can really help in terms of liaising with the insurers of the person or company responsible for the accident that led to the amputation and putting in place an early and essential rehabilitation package.
This is key to getting the best possible artificial limbs together with psychological counselling to deal with the life changing effects of your loss.
Your serious injury solicitor will also liaise with you with respect to other aspects of your potential claim to maintain your standard of living to compensate you for loss of earnings plus potential adaptions to your home, car and even a change of accommodation.
Level of Compensation
The level of compensation in this country for loss of limb injuries is abysmally low and the way in which a Judge would assess your claim for the actual injury element is to look at the Judicial College Guidelines and previously decided cases of similar fact.
Factors that will be taken into consideration will be the type of amputation so traumatic or surgical. How the injury happened, which led to the amputation, your age and gender. Your psychological reaction and level of ongoing phantom pains ( this is where the amputee still feels pain in the limb that is no longer there)
- A below knee amputation of one leg: £91,950 – £124,800.
- An above knee amputation of one leg: £98,380 – £129,010.
- Loss of both legs below the knee: £189,110 to £253,480.
- Loss of both arms: £205,420 – £255,930.
- Loss of one arm above the elbow: £102,890 – £122, 860.
- Loss of a Index and middle and /or ring fingers: £58,100 – 6890.00 – £85,170
Artificial Limbs/ Prosthetics
Your personal injury solicitor will advise you on the other items that can be claimed some of which have already been mentioned. A major part of the claim for compensation will be for the cost of providing artificial limbs for life and their maintenance and replacement.
Depending upon the lifestyle of the amputee before the accident many different prostheses are likely to be needed, for example one for swimming / running, skiing etc.
There are many different artificial limbs available to suit each individual, the type of amputation and lifestyle.
Each artificial limb is a bespoke product this means that it will take time to construct and fit. The post operation fitting procedure is lengthy but is essential to ensure the correct fit of the artificial limb and to put the injured person in the best position possible to start rebuilding your life.
In my experience it is essential that a prostheses package is presented to the Judge to enable them to assess this part of the claim for compensation properly.
Its essential that this is a thorough analysis of which prosthetics are needed ( some cosmetic and some functional) and tailored to the individual’s needs. Are they a dancer/ skiier/ hill climber?
While compensation can never replace a limb, using the services of an experienced serious injury solicitor will increase your chances of being properly compensated for all you have lost.
April is Limb Loss & Limb Difference Awareness Month
Suffering an amputation requires a high level of support from those around you – there are many charities who can assist and provide support and guidance. http://www.limbless-association.org/
If you have suffered a life changing injury such as a limb amputation and you are pursuing a personal injury claim speak to our Personal Injury Solicitors, you can call me on 0808 291 1437 or request a call back.