Some of the most difficult injuries to recover from are those that involve literally losing a piece of yourself. Your body is such a constant, reliable presence, and such an indispensable tool in everything that you do, that it’s hard to imagine being without even a small part of it. At the same time, many people don’t consciously realize how much they depend on less obvious body parts, like their toes or non-dominant hands, until they face getting by without them.
No one expects it to happen to them, but these catastrophic accidents are more common than you might think, with approximately The Amputee Coalition reports that about 45% of these amputations are the result of traumatic injuries, while vascular and cancerous illnesses account for the rest.
Frequent Causes of Traumatic Amputation
According to a survey performed at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, some of the top causes of accidental amputation in the U.S include:
- Traffic accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Becoming caught in doors and similar mechanisms
- Household machines
- Firearm accidents
This survey also found that the causes of traumatic amputation vary significantly by age group. Young and middle aged adults are overwhelmingly more likely to lose limbs at work or on the road. Retirement age adults are more likely to suffer amputations from hobby and household devices, such as table saws and food processors. Children are more likely to get caught in doors and machinery.
Lawnmowers in particular, pose a serious risk of amputation injuries for seniors. They are especially dangerous for children, causing 600 childhood amputations per year in the U.S.
Amputations at Work
When it comes to occupational accidents, manufacturing workers are at the greatest risk, by far. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recorded 5,060 occupational amputations in 2016, 44% of them in the manufacturing industry alone. Construction, transportation, mining, and agricultural work also carried high amputation risks.
Even some of the seemingly safest professions showed surprisingly high accidental amputation rates, including 280 amputations in the leisure and hospitality sector, 110 in health and education, 80 each in real estate and finance, and 20 in business management.
After Effects of Amputation
Losing an appendage can have farther-reaching effects on a survivor’s life than many people realize. After the obvious physical trauma and medical expense of the injury, an amputation patient faces a long, difficult process of re-learning how to live.
Depending on what body part was lost, survivors might also lose the ability to perform their old jobs or participate in their old favorite hobbies. Others may be able to return to normal activities, but will have to figure out new ways of performing tasks that were once second nature, often with the use of expensive prosthetics.
This process of adaptation can be particularly difficult for older adults. The families of child survivors, on the other hand, face the added expense of replacing prosthetics frequently as the child outgrows them.
Close to 80% of amputations even remain physically painful long after the surgical scars have closed, as the nervous system becomes confused by the lack of input from the missing body part. Often, the nerves will send a persistent message that something is wrong, resulting in “phantom” pain in limb that no longer exists.
The Effects of Amputation Can Be Difficult for Others to Understand
It’s hard enough for most people to imagine the pain and practical challenges that come with losing a body part. Even harder to comprehend are the psychological after-effects.
A study published in the Encyclopedia of Body Image and Human Appearance found that amputation survivors have a dramatically heightened risk of depression, anxiety, and social discomfort. This is due in part to worries about their appearance, but also about their physical capabilities, employment, and the self-worth and identity attached to them.
Many amputation survivors also suffer from PTSD, stages of grief, sexual side effects, and even misplaced feelings of guilt.
Compared with other injury survivors, the complexity of an amputee’s situation can sometimes make relating and communicating a frustrating challenge. This can be the case even with doctors and loved ones who have the best of intentions, not to mention judges, juries, insurance representatives, and other strangers with whom the survivor will interact in the aftermath of an amputation.
What to Do If You’ve Suffered a Traumatic Amputation
If you or a loved one has survived a traumatic amputation, you’re in for a long, costly, and difficult recovery process. Everyone in the survivor’s family or social circle will be needed for support and be affected by the event.
Most accidents, whether they happen at work, on the road, at home, or in a public place, are avoidable and the result of some form of negligence. There are standards in place for workplace safety, product safety, building safety, and road safety, and when these standards are not observed, people get hurt — sometimes irreparably.
How an Amputation Lawyer at The Stoddard Firm Can Help
When you’ve been the victim of such an accident, you need an expert on your side to make sure you get the support you need to rebuild your life. The Stoddard Firm has professionals who are intimately familiar with the legalities and life-changing realities of traumatic amputation. We have the experience necessary to explain what you’re going through in terms both judges and laypeople can respect and relate to, so that you get the compensation you deserve.
We typically hire a “life care planner” expert witness who helps calculate the financial impact of the amputation, and then explains that financial impact to the jury. We also often hire video production firms to record “day in the life videos” to be played at trial. These videos help show – instead of just tell – the jury about the added difficulty of performing some of the daily tasks of life. And of course, our amputation injury lawyer will work hard to find and prepare numerous “before and after witnesses” who provide additional perspectives on how the amputation has impacted the injured victims’ life.
When you have The Stoddard Firm’s help, you can put your focus where it should be: on recovering. We have the knowledge and experience to make sure you and your loved ones are properly looked after. Give us a call at 678-RESULT for a free consultation about your unique situation, or reach out to us online.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I have a case?
If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you could have a personal injury case. Every situation is different, so there’s no way to know if you have a case without consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney. If you are badly injured or a loved one has died, we are happy to speak with you and investigate the matter at no charge.
How do I pick the right attorney?
You’ll want to look for several qualities when choosing who will represent you. Your attorney should meet with you instead of sending an investigator, and he/she should be available throughout the process instead of having you consistently talk to a legal assistant. Your attorney should have a low number of cases so he/she can devote significant time to you and your case. Your attorney should have experience handling cases with facts similar to yours, and your attorney should have a proven track record with similar claims. Your attorney should also be able to devote significant money to your case so that he/she can hire experts, travel the country finding witnesses, and depose whomever is necessary to achieve justice. It’s also important to make sure your attorney is the right fit on a personal level, which is why you should take advantage of a free consultation.
What do I need to bring with me to the consultation?
For your free consultation, bring all relevant documents that you’ve collected regarding your case. If there are police reports, bills or correspondence from insurance companies, you’ll want to bring those items to the consultation so an attorney can learn as much about your case as possible.
How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?
There is a time limit on how long a person has after an injury to begin a lawsuit. This window is called a statute of limitations. For most personal injury cases in Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years from the time the injury was suffered. However, there are exceptions and subtleties that might change the amount of time you are afforded. Sometimes the period can be as short as 6 months, and other times it can be much longer than two years. Determining the statute of limitations requires a detailed analysis of the facts of your case.
What do your services cost?
A consultation with the Stoddard Law Firm is free. In most circumstances, we earn no fee unless we win your case. If your claim is successful, we take a percentage of the recovered amount.
What has to be proven in a premises liability case?
A successful premises liability claim must show that a hazardous condition exposed you to an unreasonable risk of harm and that the property owner failed to exercise reasonable care to maintain a safe premises. Common examples include slippery floors, unstable structures, broken handrails, stairs not built to code, scalding apartment shower water, natural gas explosions, electrical shocks, and improperly fenced swimming pools. There are several factors that can make or break a case, which is why it’s important to work with an experienced lawyer who can thoroughly investigate the situation.
How is negligent security different from premises liability?
Negligent security is a type of premises liability. These claims arise when a person is assaulted on someone else’s property by a third-party. Owners of apartment complexes, hotels, gas stations, and other retail establishments can sometimes be held liable if their inadequate security practices contributed to the attack. Such practices include failure to warn of prior crimes, inadequate lighting, broken access gates, broken locks, and failure to provide security guards.
How can an attorney help me?
Whether your injury was mild or severe, proving fault for premises liability can be a complex process. The standard of care owed by the property owner is made up of many factors and, in some cases, the hazardous conditions may no longer exist. A skilled premises liability attorney knows how to gather and preserve the necessary evidence – and how to defend you against accusations that you should have known about the dangerous condition.
How do I choose an attorney?
There are a lot of lawyers out there, so it’s important to select one that you feel comfortable with and who inspires confidence. Choose one who has experience with the type of claim you have, is qualified, has a good reputation in the legal community, and seems dedicated to helping you win your case.
How do I pay an attorney?
The Stoddard Firm handles litigation on a contingency basis. This means we accept a percentage of the amount we recover for you. If your claim does not have a successful resolution, we do not collect any fee. We are also pleased to offer free consultations.