Types of amputation and what they could mean for your case
Catastrophic Injury - July 15, 2022
Some industries are more at risk of experiencing injuries, such as power press operators, who account for around 10% of all amputation injuries each year, with some 49% of injuries to power press operators resulting in amputations. Motor vehicle collisions are also a leading cause of amputations.
Whatever the cause of your amputation, the costs associated with it related to surgeries, ongoing treatment, medications, and rehabilitation can be huge. If someone or something else caused the accident that led to your amputation injury, you could be entitled to compensation to cover these substantial costs.
The best way to determine if you have a viable claim for your amputation injury and the related costs is by speaking with an attorney who has experience representing clients with amputation injuries.
A Chicago catastrophic injury lawyer from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is available for a free assessment of your case to learn how we can help. Read on to learn how different types of amputations might impact your case, then call (800) 985-1819 to speak with an attorney.
A surgical amputation is one that occurs by a licensed medical professional. A surgical amputation may be necessary due to disease, traumatic injury to a limb or body part, or an infection, especially an infection caused by an injury or improper medical care or treatment of a prior injury.
A surgical amputation might occur without your prior knowledge or consent if it’s performed during a different surgical procedure when greater issues (or medical errors) are encountered and the amputation becomes necessary. A mistreated injury or infection that results in a necessary surgical amputation might be medical malpractice because healthcare professionals are obligated to provide treatments that meet the general standard of care for that procedure within the healthcare industry. When that standard of care is not met, then the victim is entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice claim.
A traumatic amputation occurs when a body part or limb is severed in an accident. Traumatic amputations are severe and life-threatening because they’re not in a controlled environment filled with doctors to stop or control the bleeding.
At the accident, a traumatic amputation might be a full amputation where the body part or limb becomes completely separated from the body, or it could be a partial amputation where the damaged or severed limb or body part remains partly attached to the body, though some or most of it isn’t. A full traumatic amputation may require the limb or body part to be surgically amputated at a higher point. A partial amputation may or may not require a full surgical amputation, it depends on the severity of the injury.
Some common causes of traumatic amputations are:
- Car accidents
- Equipment malfunction
- Machinery injuries
- Fall onto something that may cause a limb or body part to be fully or partially severed
- An animal bite
Areas of amputation
Upper limb amputation
An upper limb amputation is one which involves the removal of upper limbs–fingers, wrists, elbows, or at the shoulder.
Lower limb amputation
A lower limb amputation is one which involves the removal of any part of the leg, which may include removal of the knee, ankle, foot, or toes.
Causes of amputation
As mentioned above, research gathered by the CDC, citing OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, noted that power press operators make up about 1 in 10 amputation injuries in the U.S. each year, and about 1 in 2 power press operator injuries leads to an amputation. Power press and other machine operators are at greater risk of injury than other construction workers due to the nature of their job requirements.
Whether the machines are operated by foot or dual palm-button controls, the risk of injury leading to amputation is present. To reduce the risk of amputation injuries for machine operators, OSHA has published a variety of safety recommendations for companies to follow to protect their employees from injury.
Being bitten by an animal can lead to serious injuries, including amputation. Research conducted by Dogsbite.org found that each year more than 12,000 Americans are hospitalized as a result of dog bite injuries, and between 2005 and 2017, some 433 Americans were killed by dogs. Animal bites can lead to extensive damage and infection, which can result in the necessity for amputation.
What different types of amputations mean for your specific case
The type of amputation injury that you have experienced could impact the possible options for compensation in your case. Different types of amputation will also lead to varying degrees of disability, which will markedly influence medical bills, disability, and the impact on your ability to work. The damages that you are entitled to are linked to your medical costs and level of disability after the amputation; more complex operations lead to greater costs and more impactful disabilities.
Certain amputations are more costly than others
The most common amputation is termed “BKA”, or below-the-knee amputation. This type of amputation allows for walking with a prosthesis, and while it is a substantial change, much of life can be resumed. Alternatively, if an amputation is “AKA”, or above the knee, the ability to use a prosthesis is more difficult to achieve. Without the assistance of a prosthesis, an individual with an AKA amputation would be confined to a wheelchair for mobility.
Certain amputations have a higher risk of complications than others
The location of the amputation will determine the complexity of the operation, and the potential for complications. While issues can occur in even the simplest of medical procedures, the risks associated with toe or finger amputations are markedly lower and less impactful than an above-the-knee amputation.
Different types of amputation require different types of treatment
The costs associated with amputations amount to billions of dollars in healthcare treatments annually. The amount that your injury will cost will depend upon the unique facts and circumstances of your injury, and the future medical costs that your symptoms will require.
You may have to file for workers’ compensation
If your amputation was due to an injury on the job, and was not caused by a third-party in any way, you may have to file workers’ compensation to recover your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. Workers’ compensation does not always cover the extensive medical bills, lost wages, and earnings potential associated with your injury. When a third-party contributed to the accident or incident that led to your amputation injury, you could bring a third-party claim to collect the complete amount in costs and damages linked to the accident.
Discuss your workplace injury with a Chicago catastrophic injury lawyer to see if this might apply to the unique facts and circumstances of your case.
Did you have to undergo amputation for an injury? We can help.
For a free assessment of your options concerning your amputation, reach out to Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates. Call (800) 985-1819 or visit our site and schedule a consultation to explore how we can help you every step of the way with your amputation injury claim.