Santa Barbara Amputation Attorneys
Serious accidents can absolutely devastate a victim, leading to lifelong injuries and costly medical treatments. In some cases, the accident itself is so traumatic for a victim, medical professionals are forced to amputate limbs that have been severely damaged. Losing a limb or digit can completely change your life, leaving you with a constant reminder of your accident, alongside a mountain of medical bills, lost wages due to a disability, and years of mental treatment. However, if your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation in a personal injury claim.
Pursuing a personal injury claim is no easy task when you are dealing with a disability. But you do not have to deal with it on your own. Instead, let NordstrandBlack PC handle the legal burdens of filing a claim while you focus on recovering and getting back to your life. Our Santa Barbara amputation attorneys have a wealth of experience representing victims of devastating injuries and can vigorously pursue compensation on your behalf. To learn how, contact our office at (805) 962-2022 and schedule a no-cost consultation.
Amputations are often the result of severe trauma to the body. While there certainly are instances where a dog could bite off a finger or toe, many amputations are actually medical procedures performed in hospitals. Oftentimes, victims of high-speed car accidents have intense crush injuries where the bones and muscles of a limb are completely ruined. Doctors may be forced to make the hard decision to remove the damaged limb to avoid further trauma, such as compartment syndrome or internal bleeding.
However, even medical amputations can be the result of negligence. If a reckless driver struck you while you were walking across the street or your child’s limb was caught in a defective piece of playground equipment, then any of your injuries could be attributed to someone else’s negligence, including an amputation.
You can pursue compensation for an amputation in several types of accidents, including:
- Catastrophic car accidents that severely damage a victim’s limb
- Dog attacks that lead to a severed or mangled limb, foot, hand, or digit
- Dangerous amusement park rides that use unsafe equipment or safety procedures
- Boating accidents such as collisions between boats or fixed objects
- Bike accidents, often involving larger vehicles like trucks
- Collisions with trains at unsafe crossings or derailments
- Defective playground equipment that crush or catch a child’s limbs or digits
- Defective products
- Severe third- or fourth-degree burns
While any amputation is catastrophic, the type of trauma you have suffered can impact your claim. Medical professionals often describe amputations as partial or complete. The difference between these categories is often related to the type of treatment you receive.
- Partial Amputation: In a partial amputation, a limb is still partially connected to the body, often through soft tissue like muscle, tendons, or ligaments, or via skin. Depending on the amount of internal damage, doctors may be able to reattach the limb, but it is not guaranteed. In severe cases, they may have to fully amputate the limb to prevent further damage.
- Complete Amputation: Unlike a partial amputation, a complete amputation occurs when a limb or digit is completely severed from the rest of the body. There may be fine edges around the area of separation, meaning doctors can potentially reattach the limb and restore blood flow, nerves, and bones. In the long run, you may only have partial side-effects in the reattached limb, such as limited motor control.
In addition to these two categories, an amputation can be classified based on the type of damage you have suffered. The types include:
- Crush Injuries: With crushed limbs, the damage is largely internal, meaning your bones, muscles, and nerves have suffered catastrophic trauma. This may prove difficult to repair and the loss of blood flow can force doctors to fully severe the limb.
- Guillotine Amputations: This frightening term refers to when a limb is severed from the body, often due to sharp objects or acute breaks. In these instances, the internal damage can be minimal, meaning reattachment is possible.
- Avulsion Amputations: Unlike the other two types, avulsion amputations involve the pulling or tearing of the limb. This can occur if a digit or limb is caught in an object, causing it to be pulled away from the rest of the body. This can lead to a partial amputation where the internal structures of the limb are still relatively intact, meaning doctors may be able to repair the damage.
While a lost finger may limit your ability to work with small objects, you may still be able to perform most tasks and seek employment. However, if you suffered the complete loss of a leg or arm, then you may need a prosthetic to work, and even then, you will have to contend with the consequences of a disability for years to come. At the end of the day, the amount of compensation you may seek can be directly related to the long-term effects of your amputation.
The physical trauma of an amputation is life changing. Many victims are left disabled due to their injuries and are left unable to work or pursue certain careers. You may have to attend therapy to adapt to a new lifestyle and even renovate your home to avoid struggling in your day-to-day life.
But amputations often go far beyond the physical trauma a victim has suffered. Phantom limb syndrome, or the ability to feel a limb after it is severed, is extremely common, and painful, for amputees and can take years of therapy and pain management to deal with. While medication may help, many victims are left suffering from this syndrome for years to come. You may also suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental illness as a result of your injury – or your conditions could worsen due to the trauma.
A personal injury claim is designed to recover two types of damages, both of which are the result of the trauma you have suffered: economic and non-economic damages.
With economic damages, the focus is on recovering compensation for any financial costs caused by an injury, which can be significant in the case of an amputation. The accident you were involved in could have led to a costly emergency room visit in the short-term and time off of work due to hospitalization. However, your claim can include more than the immediate costs. Rather, you can pursue compensation for past and future hospital visits, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, prosthetics, assisted living devices, and assistance you need after an accident. You can also seek lost wages and lost career opportunities if you were unable to continue with your current career, had to change jobs, or were left disabled and unable to work due to your accident.
In addition to these financial costs, you can recover non-economic damages, or personal costs. These damages account for any non-financial costs of your injury, such as:
- Pain and Suffering: This refers to the actual physical pain you have suffered due to your injury.
- Mental Trauma: If you suffered emotional damage due to your injuries, such as “phantom limb syndrome,” Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or other emotional trauma, then this can be included in your claim.
- Loss of Enjoyment: If you could not enjoy certain activities, hobbies, or sports because of your injury, those damages can be included in your claim.
- Disfigurement: Amputees often suffer from a reduced self-esteem due to their injuries.
Each type of damage can be included in a personal injury claim, but receiving compensation is not as simple as filing a stack of papers. Accidents caused by negligent individuals are often covered under a liability policy, meaning you will have to contend with an insurance company. Insurance companies are anything but charitable and will likely undervalue your claim or deny you coverage if you do not have legal representation.
Whether you are looking at the short-term or long-term effects of an amputation, victims often have to contend with extremely devastating situations. These injuries come with sizable medical bills, months to years of lost wages, and a great deal of mental trauma. Amputees deserve fair treatment from insurance companies, but they are often given low-ball offers when they file a claim on their own. However, if you contact one of our Santa Barbara personal injury attorneys, we will work to be sure you get full compensation for your injuries and damages.
With over 30 years of experience, our lawyers can provide thorough and compassionate legal advice about your case during insurance negotiations or a jury trial. We are also committed to avoiding adding to your financial worries, which is why we offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we handle all the upfront costs of your claim. To learn if we are the right firm for you, contact NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022.