An amputation or the loss of the use of a limb is a life-long disabling injury. Though the technology behind artificial limbs continues to advance and increase the prospects for life as an amputee, the injured individual still faces a lengthy recovery and a disruption of their lifestyle.
You could lose a limb in a workplace accident or a personal injury accident. Under Kentucky workers’ compensation, the loss of a limb automatically qualifies the worker for lost-income benefits in addition to payment of all medical expenses. In a personal injury case, the accident victim would file a lawsuit seeking compensation for medical expenses, including therapy and purchase of a prosthesis, as well as for lost income and pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, many Kentuckians who suffer catastrophic injuries like the loss of a limb go without just compensation because they try to deal with the insurer on their own and the insurer refuses to make proper payments. Most people simply don’t understand their rights under Kentucky law when they have been injured by someone else’s negligence.
At Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer, PLLC, our experienced Lexington personal injury lawyers are ready to guide you through the workers’ compensation system or the personal injury claim process to help you pursue full compensation for the loss of a limb. Contact us today for a free consultation. Find out how we can put our Kentucky Courage to work for you.
When Do You Need A Lawyer For an Amputation / Limb Loss Injury?
If you have had to undergo limb amputation surgery after a car accident, a workplace accident, or any traumatic accident, you should speak to an amputation injury attorney about your legal rights and seeking financial compensation for your loss. In Kentucky, a Lexington amputation injury lawyer at Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer can be the strong advocate you need to deal with uncooperative insurance companies and demand full compensation.
It is essential to have a personal injury lawyer on your side in situations such as:
- You lost an arm or leg on the job and need assistance appealing a disputed workers’ compensation claim.
- You plan to file an insurance claim after an amputation caused by a car crash or another accident caused by someone else’s negligence and need help filing a claim.
- Your insurance claim has been denied or short-changed, and you need help recovering an appropriate payout.
- You were not able to obtain compensation through an insurance claim and need to begin the process of filing an amputation injury lawsuit against the party responsible for your losses.
At every stage of seeking financial compensation for an amputation injury, having experienced Lexington personal injury attorneys on your side will ensure that the settlement process is less of a burden on you as you deal with a catastrophic injury. From filing an insurance claim to negotiating with the insurance company for a proper settlement or taking your case to a jury, our team will advocate tirelessly for your rights.
What is an Amputation Injury?
The loss of a body part, particularly the loss of an arm or leg, is a major, life-changing injury. Sometimes a severed body part can be reattached after an accident or an amputee can regain mobility through the use of a prosthetic. In most cases, a severed limb is forever gone.
When a limb is severed from the body in an accident, it is called a “traumatic amputation.” When a limb is irreparably damaged in an accident, such as by being crushed in a car crash or severely burned in an electrocution, a surgical amputation may be required.
The Amputee Coalition says more than 500 people in the U.S. suffer the loss of a limb every day, and 185,000 undergo amputation every year. There are about 2.1 million people living with limb loss in the United States.
Causes of Amputation
Nearly half of amputations are caused by accidents, the Amputee Coalition says. Most amputations are due to medical problems, such as vascular disease brought on by diabetes or cancer.
Motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, and accidents caused by defective products or misuse of potentially dangerous tools and machinery can lead to the loss of limbs and other body parts. These may include:
- Car, truck and motorcycle accidents, such as a limb being crushed in a rollover accident or being hit by a car while on a motorcycle, on foot (pedestrian accidents) or on a bicycle
- Accidents involving power tools, machinery and other equipment, including workplace “caught by” or “caught in” accidents, such as an arm becoming stuck in machinery
- “Struck by” accidents, which include heavy objects falling onto and crushing an arm or leg
- Explosions, including in demolition or mining work or from commercial or consumer fireworks
- Electrocution causing fourth-degree burns that require surgical amputation of a limb
- Dog bite/mauling in which the powerful jaws of a large dog damage a person’s limb so badly it must be partially or completely amputated surgically.
Treating an Amputation and Recovery
Surgical amputation or repair of a traumatic amputation is a major operation requiring removal of all damaged tissue while leaving as much healthy tissue as possible. An amputation usually requires a hospital stay of five to 14 days or more, depending on the surgery. Physical therapy often begins slowly with gentle exercises soon after surgery. A patient may be introduced to an artificial limb as soon as 10 to 14 days after surgery.
Potential complications from the amputation of a limb include bleeding, shock, and infection. After a successful operation, some amputees have phantom pain, which is the feeling of pain in the missing limb.
It is not uncommon to suffer sadness, anger, and frustration over the loss of a limb, and amputees may develop depression or other psychological issues due to their loss of mobility, reduced ability to earn a living, or other changes in daily life.
Today, there is a range of prostheses available for both upper- and lower-limb amputees. The type of prosthesis worn depends on the level of limb loss. Neuroprosthetics is the field of research into controlling artificial limbs and other devices using the human brain.
The Amputee Coalition says this field is “expanding rapidly, with many successful trials pointing to a future where artificial limbs are nearly indistinguishable from biological ones.”
The Cost of Limb Loss / Amputation
Obviously, the medical costs of an amputation are significant. The daily fee for a hospital stay in Kentucky is more than $1,800 on average. The operation itself, including the surgeon’s fee, facility fee, anesthesia, and medical supplies, could be $20,000 to $60,000.
A unique and widely quoted study by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine projected the lifetime health-care cost for patients who had undergone amputation at about $510,000. The estimate included costs related to:
- Initial hospitalization
- All rehospitalizations for acute care related to the limb injury
- Inpatient rehabilitation
- Outpatient doctor visits
- Outpatient physical and occupational therapy
- Purchase and maintenance of prosthetic devices.
However, that study was published in 2007. Since then, medical costs have increased by an average of 7.7% per year – more than doubling in the 14 years since the Johns Hopkins analysis, according to the Statista market and consumer data website.
The costs of a limb amputation may also include a loss of income and will certainly include the injured individual’s pain and suffering, both physical and psychological. You will need an experienced amputation injury lawyer to maximize your financial recovery.
Compensation for Amputation or Loss of Limb in an Accident
If you have lost a limb in an accident, you may be eligible for compensation for your loss. Under Kentucky workers’ compensation law, most people employed in Kentucky have employer-paid workers’ compensation insurance that pays for medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, and permanent disability for the loss of limbs in workplace accidents. If your injury happened at work and you are a part-time or full-time employee, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This includes payments for all medical expenses, including psychological counseling if needed, plus compensation for lost income.
Under KY workers’ comp rules, the loss of a limb is considered automatic eligibility for Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits, which is 66.66% of the employee’s average weekly wage and may be paid until the employee reaches age 65.
In an accident unrelated to your occupation, a personal injury claim for compensation would have to show that someone else’s negligence caused the accident that led to the loss of your limb. Compensation may be sought for:
- Medical expenses, both current bills, and future medical costs. Our attorneys may work with financial planners to estimate what your lifetime medical costs could be.
- Lost income, including losses due to reduced earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of consortium, such as the loss of companionship or the loss of an intimate relationship with a spouse.
After a workplace accident, you may be entitled to file a third-party personal injury claim against a person or organization responsible for your accident other than your employer. You cannot sue your employer. In addition to workers’ compensation, you might be eligible for compensation from a negligent contractor, vendor, property owner, or someone else whose negligence caused your injury.
A Kentucky employee who becomes disabled and unable to return to work may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
Contact a Lexington, Kentucky, Personal Injury Attorney
If you have suffered the loss of a limb in an accident, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim or receive workers’ compensation benefits or other compensation. For a prompt and knowledgeable response to your injury and future monetary needs, contact Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer, PLLC in Lexington, KY, for a free initial consultation today. Our experienced Lexington personal injury lawyers are ready to evaluate your case and help you fight for the compensation available by law. Call us today.