Occasionally, we hear of stories where an individual has lost a limb due to a motorcycle crash or some other type of accident. Those who watch ABC-TV’s Dancing With the Stars may recall a prior contestant, Heather Mills, who was involved in such an accident. Prior to appearing on the show, Mills was probably more known for being the ex-wife of former Beatle singer, Paul McCartney. However, her time on the show drew a great deal of attention, as she was the first amputee to participate. Mills’ catastrophic injury happened in 1993 when she was hit by a motorcycle, which ultimately led to the amputation of her left leg below the knee.
Many people have gone through similar experiences where accidental limb loss and amputations have been incurred due to accidents. Such medical issues arise not only from accidents with motorcycles, trucks or other types of motor vehicles, but also from construction site incidents and cruise ship accidents. No matter where the accident occurred, an attorney at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. has years of experience handling limb loss and amputation cases.
What Is an Amputation?
When a person has an extremity removed from his or her body, that process is known as an amputation. Some amputations occur at the time of a serious accident or trauma, while others are done surgically. Additionally, some amputations are required due to an individual suffering from a long-lasting constriction of the limb.
Complete or partial limb loss can occur due to various types of events, including some of the less common events of exploding grenades during military conflicts, product defects, serious industrial accidents and catastrophes on planes, trains and ferry boats. Ensuring that the appropriate person or entity is held accountable for such accidents is of utmost importance to a catastrophic injury case. Attorneys at Lipcon’s maritime or personal injury attorneys are skilled at developing extremely effective methods for representing limb loss victims.
What Types of Damages Can Be Sought in an Amputation Case?
If it is determined that an individual’s amputation was caused by an accident due to someone else’s negligence, the injured party may be entitled to certain compensation in connection with those injuries. Most people are aware they can seek compensation for their past medical bills and pain and suffering as a result of the injury and amputation; however, there are many kinds of damages that will need to be considered.
For instance, an individual may be entitled to lost earnings as a result of the amputation. Some limb loss victims may be required to take a considerable amount of time off work to recuperate from their injuries. Depending on the type of work an amputee does, there may be cases where he or she will never be able to return to work. With that being a possibility, an injured party should seek to recover for both past and future earnings.
Something else to consider is an amputee’s need to adapt to a different lifestyle. Catastrophic injuries, such as amputations, are life-altering events and adapting one’s surroundings and residence in a way that would allow for somewhat normal functioning could prove to be extremely expensive. Accordingly, such victims need to ensure the costs associated with such adaptions are included when seeking compensation.
Types of Limb Loss & Amputations
Loss of limbs and amputations occur from both natural and man-made events:
Natural causes for limb loss extend from diseases (like diabetes or cancer) to natural disasters (such as earthquakes). According to the NIDDK division of the National Institutes of Health, more than half of all lower-limb amputations in the United States occur in people with diabetes, accounting for 86,000 amputations per year. Other natural causes include frostbite and gangrene.
Catastrophic personal injury results from an accident where another party is responsible. Sometimes the accident causes damage so severe that one or more extremities cannot be saved. Traumatic amputations, on the other hand, happen immediately, with a limb or extremity being partially or completely severed when the incident occurs. One of the most notable in recent history happened in 2003 when a Staten Island Ferry carrying 1500 New York commuters slammed full-speed into a concrete maintenance pier. One of the passengers, Paul Esposito, had both legs severed below the knee in the incident.
Legal complaints and lawsuits can be filed for the accidental loss of any limb or extremity, including severed or amputated fingers, toes, hands, feet, arms, legs, ears or noses.
Resources & Information for Amputees
A comprehensive list of “Tips for the New Amputee” is provided by the National Amputation Foundation.
YouTube features interesting videos about recent developments in prosthetics for amputees. This video is one of several announcing the availability of a new bionic hand.
Information & Support from Other Amputation Victims:
The Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) provides a variety of resources to support people with limb loss or limb differences. They conduct advocacy efforts and host a blog on parity coverage of prosthetics by major medical insurers, sponsor national conferences, have links to peer support, and offer a summer camp for youth amputees.
Social media groups like Less Than Four offer communities where people with limb loss can share experiences and connect via blogs, videos, photos, Facebook and Twitter. Another online community, “Amputees Rock”, is a Facebook group with over 600 members.
If you have lost a limb due to a maritime incident or any other type of accident, let a maritime attorney at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. help you get the justice you deserve. Call us at 877-233-1238 for a free consultation.