What can I claim for limb loss?

Posted on 11th November 2020

The loss of a body part is undoubtedly life changing, devastating and challenging for the injured person and their family. If the amputation is as a result of a serious accident or caused through the fault or negligence of another, then you may be entitled to make a personal injury claim for compensation.

I understand that for many people, no amount of money will fully compensate for the impact of a loss of a limb or other body part, nor will it restore all the losses suffered. However, a successful compensation claim can enable an injured person to overcome the challenges they would otherwise face and live their lives to the full.

I set out below answers to common questions I have been asked in relation to making an amputation or limb loss claim (please note this is general information and your particular circumstances may differ):

What happens when making a claim for an amputation or loss of limb?

There are two main elements to making a claim:

  1. Establishing liability – I will gather evidence and, if necessary, instruct experts to determine who is at fault for your injury.
  2. Valuing your claim – Within this element, there are a further two parts
    • General Damages – This is to compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you have experienced as a result of the injury, including the amputation or limb loss itself. I will instruct carefully selected medical experts to comment on the following non-exhaustive list:
      • Which limb or body part was amputated? Was it above or below the joint?
      • Impact the loss of limb has on social, domestic and working life;
      • Level of any phantom pain;
      • The level of psychiatric symptoms, if any;
      • The risk of future degenerative changes;
      • The extent to which prosthetics or other interventions can improve quality of life;
      • Overall prognosis.
    • Special Damages – This refers to financial losses both past and future and I discuss these in further detail in “What can I claim for in a limb loss claim” question below.

What can I claim for in a limb loss claim?

I have discussed above a claim for general damages. A claim can also be made for “special damages”. In an amputation or limb loss claim, this can include (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Rehabilitation – It is well known that the earlier rehabilitation begins, the better the outcome for the injured person. Immediately upon being consulted by you, I will work with the defendant’s representatives utilising the Rehabilitation Code 2015 and/or seek interim payments to ensure you are given the right and best possible interventions, both physical and psychological, to assist you in living your life to the fullest extent possible;
  • Prosthetics – After a period of rehabilitation, and if appropriate to your circumstances, you may be offered a prosthetic. Often, the ones provided by the NHS are limited in their function. I can instruct specialist prosthetic companies who are at the forefront of prosthetic development. There are now many different types of state of the art prosthetics available depending on your needs and requirements, for example comfort, appearance and hobbies such as swimming or sports. Consideration will also be given to whether osseointergration is suitable. This is a pioneering surgical procedure which involves fitting a titanium implant directly to the bone allowing a prosthesis to be attached to it;
  • Care – I will instruct a care expert to consider what care needs you are likely to require in the short, medium and long term;
  • Accommodation – I will consider, with expert advice from an accommodation expert or architect, whether your home will require alterations to make living in your home as easy as possible. If appropriate, I will investigate suitable alternative accommodation;
  • Aids and Equipment – You may require specific aids or equipment to assist you both in the home and whilst out and about. Examples include crutches, wheelchairs, stair lifts and specially adapted cars;
  • Employment – An employment consultant will be able to consider your ability to return to work, which will depend on the nature of your pre-injury employment. I will be able to advise you on making a claim for loss of earnings and the costs of retraining.

How long do I have to make a claim?

A person usually has three years from the date of an accident to submit a claim to court. There are, however, some limited exceptions to this such as:

  • If the injured person is a child, they have until their 21st birthday to submit a claim to court;
  • If the injured person does not have capacity, there is no time–limit. If they regain capacity, the three year time-limit begins from the date that capacity is regained.
  • If the date of knowledge of the cause of the amputation or limb loss is later than the date injury was sustained;
  • If the accident happened abroad, the time-limits may differ.

I have previously written a blog about why it is important to instruct a solicitor sooner rather than later which can be accessed here.

We all need to live our life to the full but sometimes it can take a turn we weren’t expecting and over a number of years now, I have represented many who have lost limbs as a result of catastrophic injury. Questions from my clients can be similar but, individual circumstances will differ greatly. Having those first conversations with my clients is so important to assess all the facts surrounding the accident and the injuries sustained so we can set a path for care, recovery and compensation.

If you have suffered an injury resulting in amputation due to somebody’s else negligence, you may be entitled to compensation to help get your life back on track. For a free consultation with our specialist Personal Injury solicitors please call us today 0808 231 6369 or request a call back online.

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