No matter how it happens, losing a limb following an accident is one of the most traumatic, life-changing events that anyone can experience. Losing a limb will often have huge ramifications on all areas of life, from work/career and mobility through to hobbies, pastimes and personal care.
Whilst it is impossible to place a ‘real-world’ financial value on the loss of a limb, the law provides clear guidance as to the monetary amounts that may be considered. As well as cover pain and suffering, compensation available for limb loss also includes important elements such as loss of earnings, adaptation costs for a home or vehicle, replacement limbs (prosthetics) and rehabilitation costs.
In medical terms, amputations are categorised as either being traumatic or surgical (non-traumatic):
- Traumatic amputation – when a limb has been lost as a result of a sudden, violent and unexpected incident. Causes of traumatic amputation include accidents at work or accidents as a road user, either as a driver/rider, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist.
- Surgical amputation – when a limb cannot be saved by a surgeon or doctor, often as a result of a significant interruption to blood flow to the limb. This type of amputation is often the result of a severe crush-type injury. Surgeons will always try to save a person’s limb where possible, so surgical amputations may be preceded by a number of other operations and medical procedures.
In comparison to many other Western nations, its an unfortunate fact that compensation levels for amputees is extremely low. Factors that are usually taken into account by a court when assessing a claim include how the injury happened, the type of amputation, your psychological situation and your age and gender. When a claim is being made, a Judge will follow Judicial Guidelines for compensation which are based on similar, previously settled cases. Examples of current guideline compensation levels include:
- Loss of little finger: £6,890 to £9,760
- Loss of leg above the knee: £78,100 to £106,010
- Loss of leg below the knee: £83,550 to £109,570
- Loss of both legs below the knee: £160,600 to £215,310
- Loss of one arm above the elbow: £87,410 to £104,370
- Loss of both arms: £191,950 to £239,140
Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Limbs
If you are unfortunate enough to have a limb amputated, following a period of time recovering in hospital you would usually be discharged to a rehabilitation ward. The level of rehabilitation required will very much depend on the type of amputation and your overall levels of health and physical fitness. For many amputees, rehabilitation is something that may take many months or years, so it is important that your injury solicitor works with the insurers of the person or company responsible for the accident that led to the amputation to put an early and comprehensive rehabilitation package in place. This is vital to get access the best possible artificial limbs together with psychological counselling to deal with the life-changing effects of your loss.
Following an amputation, it is likely that artificial limbs or prosthetics will be required. The types provided by the NHS are usually the most basic, and a big part of your compensation claim may involve the costs involved in ensuring that you receive the best possible prosthetics and that the costs involved in their maintenance or replacement are also covered. Artificial limbs and prostheses are bespoke items that are customised to each individual’s needs, meaning that they take time (and a lot of money) to properly manufacture and fit. There are lots of different products available, and your lifestyle requirements before the accident: for example, were you a runner, swimmer, skier, etc? These factors will impact on the type of prostheses you will need.
Your specialist injury solicitor will also talk to you about any other aspects of your potential claim to help you to maintain your standard of living. They will work on your behalf to ensure that you are compensated fully for loss of earnings plus possible adaptions to your home, car and even a change of accommodation should this be required.
Serious Injury Claims Advice
At Bakers we pride ourselves on our experience and success in representing claimants who have been seriously injured through no fault of their own, helping them to receive the compensation and rehabilitation that they are properly entitled to. Our professional, friendly team will give you an honest, free and ‘plain English’ appraisal of your claim and we love to delight our clients when they receive the injury compensation they deserve.
If you would like us to handle your personal injury compensation claim, you can contact us online or by phone on 01252 744600 Read about some of our compensation claim success stories or key stages to making a claim