The thought of having a limb amputated is devastating. What’s even worse is that an amputation almost always follows an already devastating road accident or a crush injury or a workplace accident. In very rare cases, an amputation may be necessary because of serious medical negligence. Other reasons for carrying out an amputation could be due to diabetes related complications and peripheral arterial disease that reduces or cuts off circulation to the legs or feet.
Whatever the reason, getting a limb amputated can be life changing. It can affect your mobility and independence, hinder your ability to earn a living and make it difficult or even impossible to pursue your hobbies.
If you had to undergo a surgical amputation because of a road accident, workplace accident or medical negligence, you should consider filing a claim against the person or organisation responsible. It may not help you regain your former life but it will help you get compensation for your physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses and any actual and projected loss of income.
Injuries That Are Likely To Make Amputation Necessary
Doctors would only consider carrying out an amputation as the last recourse and only if there is no other option for saving the injured limb or body part. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, they may also consider amputation if it will help the patient recover quicker or if it promises a better outcome for the patient in the long term.
Individuals involved in major road accidents or workplace accidents are at highest risk of being so severely injured that there is often no option but to get their limb amputated.
- Road accidents – Meeting with an accident while driving or if a large, heavy vehicle crashes into you while you are driving a smaller vehicle, the crush injuries are likely to be very severe. A surgical amputation may be necessary if your limbs are severely fractured in a road accident.
- Workplace accidents – Workers working in workplaces that involve heavy machinery such as construction sites, quarries, mines and factories are at higher risk of amputation injuries. This could be because of a limb getting trapped in machinery, a limb getting severed by some kind of cutting machinery or a heavy object falling from great height and crushing a limb. Miners are at high risk of getting severely injured from explosions that happen within a confined space at great depth.
- Laboratory accidents – Chemical spills are the most common type of laboratory accident that may lead to an amputation if the body part is so severely injured that there is no other option.
According to the terms of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty of care towards their workers and are responsible for putting proper precautions in place to ensure that the workplace is safe for all workers in their employ. This includes making sure that all equipment is properly maintained, all employees receive extensive training and supervision on proper and safe use of machinery and that protective guards are installed where necessary to prevent workers from any kind of work-related injury.
If your employer failed to meet any of the safety requirements as mandated by the Act and if you were injured and had to undergo a surgical amputation you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation. More on work accident claims can be read here.
You may also be entitled to compensation if your amputation was the result of a road accident or laboratory accident that was due to no fault of yours.
Medical Negligence As A Cause For Amputation
Surgical amputation is sometimes the only option, for example when there is extensive nerve damage in a person suffering from diabetes or when the bone of a limb is affected by cancer cells. In both of the above cases, an amputation is considered as a life-saving option.
If you had to have a limb amputated for medical reasons, that by itself is not a cause to claim compensation. However, there are certain circumstances under which you may be entitled to claim.
In most cases, when diseases such as diabetes or cancer are diagnosed and treated during the early stages, further complications related to these conditions may be prevented. Failure to diagnose these conditions early on can result in the disease becoming more advanced, necessitating amputation of a body part.
If you did not receive the appropriate treatment because of a wrongful diagnosis or a missed diagnosis and you had to have a surgical amputation as a result, the medical professional may be found to be negligent. In this case, you may be legally entitled to file a compensation claim for the damage that the delay caused.
How Amputation Claims Are Calculated
In calculating the total compensation due to you, the court will take into consideration your pain and anguish, actual medical expenses, projected expenses for long-term medical treatment including physiotherapy, cost of a prosthetic limb if recommended, cost of structural modifications in the home, cost of vehicular modifications and loss of income from not being able to go back to work. Inability to participate in leisure activities may also be factored into the compensation.
The table below displays the amounts of compensation that should be awarded for various amputations. It should be noted that the level of compensation for an amputation that you might receive may vary from the amounts shown below as your individual circumstances will need to be factored in as well.
Amputation Compensation Amounts
|Type Of Amputation||Compensation Amount||Comments|
|Amputation of both arms||£183,000 - £228,000||Being fully aware of the injury and reduced to a state of helplessness.|
|Amputation of one arm at the shoulder||Not less than £104,250|
|Amputation of one arm above the elbow||£83,325 - £99,500||The shorter the stump of the arm is will tend to produce an amount towards the higher end of this range.|
|Amputation of one arm below the elbow||£73,100 - £83,325||Amputation leaving severe pain and phantom pains tend to be awarded the higher end of this range.|
|Index, middle, and ring finger amputation||£47,050 - £69,000||The hand has been left almost useless with very little grip capability.|
|Amputation severely affecting the hand||£22,050 - £47,050||Where the hand has been left with around 50% capacity.|
|Little finger amputation||£6,575 - £9,300||Being fully aware of the injury and reduced to a state of helplessness.|
|Amputation of little and ring fingers||Around £16,600|
|Removal of the terminal phalanges from the middle and index fingers||Around £19,000||Leaving impaired grip, restricted movement, scarring.|
|Thumb amputation||£27,000 - £41,675|
|Severe thumb injury||£9,575 - £12,750||Amputation of the tip of the thumb that may cause loss of grip and dexterity.|
|Both legs amputated||£183,000 - £214,350||Amputation of both legs above the knee. This range of compensation is also appropriate where one leg is high above the knee and the other is below the knee.|
|Amputation of both legs below the knee||£153,200 - £205,300||Will be dependent on the level of amputation. Also taken into account are the severity of issues such as pain, prosthetic use and other potential side effects.|
|Amputation of one leg above the knee||£79,700 - £104,500||Factors taken into account are the level of amputation, how severe any pain is, side effects such as backache, associated psychological issues.|
|Amputation of one leg below the knee||£74,475 - £101,075||A straightforward amputation would be at the lower end of this range. A traumatic amputation would receive higher. Factors as mentioned previously are also factored in.|
|Both feet amputated||£128,750 - £153,200||The severity of any associated issues such as pain, phantom pains, side effects, prosthetic use etc can effect the level of compensation in this range.|
|One foot amputated||£63,825 - £83,325||The level of compensation you receive in this range will also be determined by taking into account factors like how severe any pain/ phantom pain is, prosthetics usability, associated side effects.|
|Amputation of all the toes||£27,750 - £42,600||The level of compensation you receive can depend on whether the amputation was traumatic, how much forefoot was lost, mobility issues.|
|Amputation of the big toe||Around £23,800|
|Other toe amputations||£10,450 - £16,000||Amputation of a toe (not including the big toe) or two toes would expect to receive compensation in this range.|
Claiming Compensation For Amputation Injury
Proving that the amputation was required due to an accident caused by somebody else’s mistake or negligence is a key requirement to win an amputation compensation claim.
This is not as simple as it sounds as your fight is likely to be against established insurance companies and not directly against your employer or an individual medical professional. Insurance companies have legal departments that specialise in defending their clients against such claims. Your best chance of winning a claim against any insurance company is by hiring a personal injury solicitor to represent you.
The good news about hiring one of our in-house personal injury solicitors is that you do not have to pay any fees upfront or at any time while the case is in progress. Most personal injury solicitors (ours included) will require you to sign a No Win No Fee agreement that details the terms under which the solicitor will take up your case.
The highlight of such an agreement is that you are not required to make any out-of-pocket payments to cover any expenses. All expenses will be borne by the solicitor. You will only have to pay a certain fee if your claim is won. Both parties, you and our solicitors, will agree on this fee before signing the agreement. If you’d like to know anything about how No Win No Fee works, what fee we charge, or anything else including starting an amputation claim we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.